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Joint Archives to open Congressman's collection next fall

Vander Jagt Papers at Hope College

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

HOLLAND, Michigan - Researchers at The Joint Archives of Holland continue to process and catalogue the Guy A. Vander Jagt Congressional Papers, which recently were described as ‘a wonderful source for Michigan history’. The collection of Holland's former, longtime Republican Representative is scheduled to open to the public in the fall of 2000.

Vander Jagt earned a lasting vote of thanks from the Dutch-American community when he channeled an initiative through Congress which declared November 16 as the Dutch American Heritage day. President Ronald Reagan later signed the declaration into law. The date recalls the first foreign salute of the American flag during the American Revolution, an act which author Barbara Tuchman explores in her book, The First Salute.

In his 26 years as Congressman, Vander Jagt was involved in many issues that affected his native state and the U.A. as a whole, a fact cataloguers of the papers readily acknowledge. The memos, internal notes, maps, newspaper clippings and press releases, correspondence, congressional bill files and constituent correspondence cover the full width of recent U.S. history.

In 1992, furniture maker executive Pete Hoekstra, then a political newcomer, beat Vander Jagt in the primary election, forcing Vander Jagt's retirement. The Joint Archives which came into being through the merger of the Holland's Netherlands Museum, Holland City Archives and the RCA's Hope College Archives is one of two major Michigan depositories on the Dutch community. The other is Heritage Hall at CRC's Calvin College in nearby Grand Rapids.