Loading Events

CBH Talk | Voices from New Netherlands: Unsealing the Vrooman Letters

The Dutch scholar Frans R.E. Blom had an experience that every historian dreams of. He was the first to open and read sealed documents of historic significance that were centuries old – in his case letters written by Dutch migrants newly settled in the colony of New Netherlands. The letters, written by members of the Vrooman family, are part of a vast collection known as The Prize Papers.

Penned in the mid-1600 in what was then New Netherlands, the Vroomans wrote home to share the struggles, concerns, and minutiae of their daily lives. The letters were intercepted at sea by the British and sat unopened for centuries in the Tower of London and then the British National Archives. They hold a wealth of information about the personal experiences and emotional reality of ordinary Dutch migrants, and include the rare voice of a woman, Geetruijt, or Gertrude, Weckmans-Vrooman.

As New York City acknowledges the 400 years since the Dutch first set foot on this land, join Blom for an illustrated exploration of letters that are as ordinary as they are remarkable. He brings to light the experiences of one family caught within the global entanglements of the early modern world.


Wed 6/12

Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street

Subcribe to our newsletters.