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Jacob Tunis Hoogstra (1900-1979) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Jacob Tunis Hoogstra (1900-1979)

Historical Note:

Jacob Tunis Hoogstra was born in Prospect Park (Paterson), New Jersey on April 19, 1900. After graduating from Calvin Seminary in 1928 and from Princeton in 1929 with a master’s degree, Hoogstra studied Systematic Theology at Tubingen, Germany, and in 1930 accepted a call to the Christian Reformed Church of Englewood, New Jersey.  While serving the Englewood Christian Reformed Church he continued his studies at the New York Theological Seminary and received a ThD degree in 1934.  His dissertation, “The Epistle to the Romans: The Conflict between Christianity and Humanism,” is included with the papers.

In 1940, Dr. Hoogstra accepted the call from the Prospect Park Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.  He served the church for twenty-five years and remained a member until his death.

Hoogstra’s commitment to the Reformed faith and Calvinism involved him with the Calvinistic Action Committee, founded in 1945, and later known as the American Calvinistic Fellowship Committee.  This committee in turn participated in the activities of the International Association for Reformed Faith and Action, of which organization the American Calvinistic Fellowship is a regional chapter.  This work brought him in contact with prominent leaders from many denominations and many countries.  Much correspondence is found in the files of these organizations due to Hoogstra’s committee work and his involvement in the planning and attendance of the Conferences of the Calvinistic Action Committee and the International Conferences on Reformed Faith and Action.  In connection with these tasks, Hoogstra edited several books.  Correspondence concerning this work covers several files.

His dedication to the efforts to establish a Christian University resulted in his membership in the American Christian University Association, 1943-1946, and the Association for Reformed Scientific Studies, 1962-1970.

Along the same period Hoogstra’s papers, contain much information and correspondence in the files of the Calvinistic Ecumenicity Committee, the International Council of Christian Churches, and the Christian Reformed Church Synodical Committee on Ecumenicity and Inter-Church correspondence, 1942-1966.

The post-World War II papers give evidence of his compassion to provide relief to Christians in Hungary and the Netherlands.  Correspondence is found in these files, as well as in the files of the Christian Reformed Church Synod Committee for Korean Spiritual Relief.  Hoogstra served on several other Christian Reformed Synodical committees, such as the Committee on Mixed Marriage, 1944, World Council, 1967, and the Committee on Ecumenicity and Inter-Church.

Hoogstra served on the Board of Trustees of Calvin College and Seminary for sixteen years and was a member of the Executive Committee, serving as secretary for many years.

Hoogstra was married to Anne Smith in 1928. Together they had two sons: John and Calvin. Hoogstra passed away on June 14, 1994 in Holland, Michigan.

Several manuscripts are in the files, also bulletins and other institutional publications, which form a partial background to his many endeavors, of which the files give ample evidence.

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