Dutch Resources at the Albany Institute of History & Art Library

Hannah D. Cox, Archivist/Librarian

The Library of the Albany Institute of History & Art has numerous resources related to Dutch history in the area. A quick search of our catalog for “Dutch” yields nearly 400 results, the majority of which are books. While we do have many books related to the Dutch, we have much more beyond those! We have manuscript collections of varying sizes from Dutch families and organizations, bibles both in Dutch and from Dutch families, deeds and indentures showing the transfer of property from area Native American tribes and local landholders, maps of the original settlements, ephemera, vertical files, and photographs of local Dutch architecture and events. While we have more than we are able to highlight in this post, we are working on a bibliography of the Library's Dutch resources and offer a few examples from our collections below.

Workmen Installing Tulip Festival Advertisement in front of the State Capital, 1959
Workmen Installing Tulip Festival Advertisement in front of the State Capital, 1959

Manuscript Collections

As discussed in a previous Library blog post, the Library has many manuscript collections ranging in size from a single sheet of paper to collections over 100 linear feet. Some of those relating to the Dutch include early Dutch records from a variety of sources, individuals and families of Dutch heritage, and organizations formed to assist the Dutch. 
The Early Dutch Records include deeds, bills, accounts, and other records, many of which are written in Dutch and date from 1651-1815. The Dr. Albert Vander Veer Papers, 1538-1953, include the personal papers of this Albany physician, who had a great interest in his family's Dutch ancestryThe Albany Helps Nijmegan Committee Collection is an example of one of our organization-based archival collections. This committee was formed in order to provide aid to the citizens of Nijmegan, which had been devastated by fighting during World War II. 
Help Nijmegen! April 13-30th, Why Nijmegen?, April 21, 1947
Help Nijmegen! April 13-30th, Why Nijmegen?, April 21, 1947


Last week’s Library blog post highlighted some of the Dutch Bibles in our collection. Many of the family Bibles in our collection come from familiar names such as the GansevoortPruyn, Schuyler, Ten Eyck, and Van Rensselaer families. Some of the Bibles were written in Dutch and have handwritten genealogical and local interest material inside them as well.  

Deeds and Indentures

Quite a few of our single manuscript collections, such as the Indian Deeds and Indentures, MS 002369, also include information related to the Dutch. This single folder collection holds deeds in Dutch, with English translations, for islands in the Hudson and land in Albany and Rensselaer Counties purchased from the Native Americans, 1637-1708. It also includes a plea signed by chiefs of the Oneidas, Tuscaroras, and Stockbridge Indians that whites stop selling them liquor; copies of letters to Queen Anne from Sachem [sic], 1711; and copies of the speech of the Four Indian Kings to Queen Anne, 1710. 


We have a number of early maps relating to the Dutch, including a Survey for Dutch Church Wardens, 1767, family parcel (lot) maps, Fort Albany maps, and other early maps of this area. Please see here for a list of the maps in our collection. 
On right: Mohawk River Lots, North Side, 1765. On left: John Miller Plan of Albany in 1695.

Ephemera and Vertical Files

While these are two very different kinds of collections, both deal with fairly small amounts of material on specific topics. Some Ephemera files contain such Dutch-related brochures from anniversary celebrations, guidebooks, and short histories, while some of the Vertical Files contain newspaper articles on Dutch Colonial architecture, history, and paintings.  


Rounding out our highlights of the Library’s Dutch Resources are some of the Library’s photographs of the Albany Tulip Festival and Tulip Queens in the Library’s collections. While we are not able to celebrate the festival in person this year, here are some photos of past events! 
On left: Tulip Festival Street Scrubbers, 1954. On right: Albany's 1957 Tulip Queen, Carol Thorsen
4 May 2020