The Ails of the Smiths: The Plight of an Early Pioneer Family

Black Lake Region, 1840s (Map Courtesy of Mark Cook)

Before Dutch settlers immigrated to West Michigan and established the town of Holland, MI, Ottawa Native Americans and American missionaries called the area their home. In 1839, Chief Wakazoo, Reverend George Smith, and the Black Lake Band of Odawa founded a village near Lake Macatawa and named it Old Wing Mission. Smith and his wife, Arvilla, documented their experiences as settlers in the 1830s and 1840s- including the difficulties of disease and loss. Read about the Smiths and their experiences in the Spring 2023 issue of The Joint Archives Quarterly.


Mary Geegh: A Missionary of Love and Faith in India

Mary Geegh teaching a class of students, n.d.

As a repository for the records of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, as well as the papers of many Holland organizations and individuals, the Joint Archives of Holland’s collections hold many interesting local history stories. Often, these stories showcase connections across the local community and with the wider world.

The Mary E. Geegh Papers, newly available for research, are one example of global story with local roots. Read Carolyn Thornbury’s article about Geegh’s missionary work in India in the Winter 2023 issue of The Joint Archives Quarterly.


Hope College and the Great Depression

“IOU” money received by Ethel Leetsma Swets, 1930

The Great Depression impacted everyone, including students at Hope College. Though the effects of this era may not have been immediately apparent on campus, alumni archives and Hope’s newsletter reveal some perspectives on the student experience at Hope during the 1930s.

Read about this story in our Fall 2022 newsletter‘s featured article, “Hope College and the Great Depression,” by Grace Baty.

The STEM-Missionary Connection for Hope Women

Since its founding, Hope College has emphasized both classical and biblical training and studies in science and math. It is relatively well-known that many graduates have gone on to work and serve as missionaries or medical professionals around the world. But did you know that a significant minority of those science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates have been women?

This discovery is the subject of Maria Seidl’s recent article “The STEM-Missionary Connection for Hope Women.” Read about this story and other archives news the Summer 2022 issue of The Joint Archives Quarterly newsletter.

The Campus Experience of Hope College Women During World War II


This issue includes a World War II era article penned by summer 2021 research student Brooke Carbaugh while studying our collections for a much larger project. That project is now a website called Women at Hope College During the 1930s and 1940s and is a true joy to read.

Honoring Burr Tillstrom: Television Pioneer and Friend of Hope College

Few people know that Burr Tillstrom, creator of the famous puppets Kukla and Ollie, and later a television colleague of Fran Allison, spent lots of time at Hope College. During the 1960s and 1970s Tillstrom worked with students and collaborating with communication department professor Ted Nielsen on a biography about Tillstrom captured on videotape and not seen since his death in 1985. Read more about this special connection to Hope College in the latest Joint Archives Quarterly newsletter.

Tales from the Archives

The Holland Museum is hosting a new program series that explores local history topics supported by the Holland Museum’s collection and archives. The first two presentations will happen on Thursday, September 23 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. as a virtual program via Zoom.

Local historians Geoffrey Reynolds, from the Joint Archives of Holland, and Dave Brooks will discuss their research from the Museum archives. Enjoy a lively evening of history and conversation. During World War II Holland, boat building companies built large and small military vessels that would help win the war. Geoffrey Reynolds will present an illustrated history of Holland’s important part in this key war industry and its lasting effect on the community after hostilities ended. To close our evening, Dave Brooks will discuss the genealogy and family history of Sarah Tolk, the only person to lose her life in the 1871 Holland Fire.

Registration is required on Eventbrite through the Holland Museum website.

This is a free adult program. Donations appreciated.

The Women’s Athletic Association: The Foundation of Women’s Sports at Hope College

Read about about the evolution of women’s sports at Hope College and the development of the Women’s Athletic Association in the latest issue of the Joint Archives Quarterly.

Knickerbocker Theatre Marks 110 Years in Holland

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Read about the history of the Knickerbocker Theatre, during the good times and the bad, by former student research assistant and Hope College alumna Aine O’Conner, in the latest Joint Archives Quarterly newsletter.