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Iowa Letters Iowa Letters

Dutch Immigrants on the American Frontier

by Stellingwerff, Johan

This captivating and very unique collection of 215 immigrant letters represents three distinct series, and has been gathered from sources on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. All are published for the first time in English and previously were wholly inaccessible to the descendents of the immigrants. The letters by religious dissenters from the Netherlands Reformed Church (NHK) in the years from the 1840s to the 1870s, are between family members who remained in the homeland and those who colonized Iowa. The missives, written in shaky hands and often stained, report family and church news, economic and political conditions, and the joys and sorrows of everyday life. At a deeper level, they portray the innermost feelings and faith struggles of the devout Netherlanders as they sought to understand the will of God in the face of their hardships, at ’home’ or in America. The book has its unexpected twists and turns. There are the typical “bacon letters” written to persuade family and friends to come over. But there is also the remarkably blunt criticism of Pella’s founding father, the Reverend Henry P. Scholte; the lure of land speculation by a novice land surveyor; and the bitter disappointment of a fresh immigrant who warned compatriots in pointed letters not to repeat his mistakes and to stay at home. On balance however, most newcomers thrived in the new land and their letters reflect a positive, and even glowing account of the opportunities on the Iowa frontier to provide a better life for themselves and their children. A $64.95 value. NOW on sale!

Hardcover, 701 pages, Hardcover with jacket, illustrated, bibilography, notes and an index

USD 29.95 / CAD 39.95

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