PRC Archives: Seminary Graduates 1947

For our PRC archives feature today we post a picture of the 1947 PRC Seminary graduates.

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The picture was recently donated by one of the graduates – the only one, in fact, still living.

Can you identify the three men in this picture? It may be a bit of a challenge, but I am confident that, through your collective minds, you will be able to name them all.

Published in: on May 11, 2018 at 8:50 AM  Comments (5)  

Covenant Christian High Turns 50

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This year Covenant Christian High School in Grand Rapids, MI turns 50 (1968-2018) and this weekend the covenant community behind the school (mainly Protestant Reformed parents and grandparents) will celebrate. Being a graduate of this blessed institution (Class of 1976!), I am personally grateful for the Christian secondary education I received from our godly teachers.

A special program is planned for this evening (Friday, April 27) at Fair Haven Church in Hudsonville, MI, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tomorrow (Saturday, April 28) there will be an open house at the school from 1:00-5:00 p.m. We hope you are planning to attend these significant events!

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A special edition of the “Covenant Courier” has been published, which highlights the history and the development of the school during these 50 years of existence. On Covenant CHS’s website you will find a link to this entire issue (also provided above).

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And on Covenant’s website you will also find a link to an online album of pictures of life and labor at CHHS by the decades. That makes for great memories, besides being quite entertaining! Did we really look that bad in the ’70s?!

The above photos are taken from the Fifteenth anniversary booklet of CCHS (1968-1983), a copy of which is found in the PRC archives and in our seminary library’s vertical files. The first photo marks the laying of the “date stone” on April 20, 1968, which includes “a small copper box containing many items of historical interest on how the society and building originated” (p.6). The second photo shows Rev. John Heys giving a speech on Psalm 103:17,18 at this ceremony.

We join with Covenant’s community in thanking our faithful God for providing and preserving this important Christian school for 50 years. May He continue to bless it and use it in the formation of covenant young people.

Two centuries of treasures in the Harvard Law School Library

Harvard Law School in Cambridge.

Compliments of “I Love Libraries” (part of the ALA), we have this recent focus on the amazing library collection of the Harvard Law School. So, for our Thursday history/archives feature, let’s take a look at this library and its collections.

“I Love Libraries” gave this summary of the library and its holdings:

Over the past 200 years, Harvard Law School (MA) has built a collection of primary and secondary law unsurpassed by any other academic law library in the world. In 1868, the library, then on the first floor of Dane Hall, was managed by a single librarian and contained 15,000 volumes. Today, the library, a centerpiece of the law school campus, houses more than 2 million items.For much of its history, the library’s mission has included actively collecting, preserving and making freely available materials that are in danger of being lost to time or cultural conflict. The library has served as a repository for the papers, photographs and community ephemera that document the school’s history and traditions.

Part of the special collections includes rare books and early manuscripts according to this part of the website: “The Rare Books & Early Manuscripts collection contains over 100,000 printed books, pamphlets, broadsides and other material, with imprints between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries.” One of those works is pictured below – a rare illuminated law book.

For more on this unique and beautiful library and its wonderful law collections, visit the link below or the Harvard Law Library one above.

Source: Two centuries of treasures in the Harvard Law School Library | I Love Libraries

Curating Rare Books for a 200-Year-Old Library – The Boston Athenaeum


The Boston Athenaeum in 1908 (Library of Congress)

In one of Atlas Obscura’s recent email listings, this hidden gem of a rare-book library right here in the U.S. was featured. Specifically, the curator of the Boston Athenaeum, (whose motto is literarum fructus dulces – “sweet are the fruit of letters”) Stanley E. Cushing, was featured, having spent 47 years in the library.

Below are the opening paragraphs of the story of his work in this special library. Find the rest at the link at the end.

When I visit Boston, this wonderful place will be on my itinerary. 🙂

The Boston Athenaeum—a 211-year-old independent library in the center of Beacon Hill—is home to about 150,000 rare books. Some are old, and some are brand new. Some are huge, and some are tiny. Some are made of lead, some are made of shredded army uniforms, and one is, famously, made of human skin. Until recently, Stanley Ellis Cushing was in charge of all of them.

Cushing began his career at the Athenaeum in 1970, right after he graduated from college. He ended up staying for 47 years—“longer than anybody else in the last hundred years or so,” he says—working as a bookbinder and conservator, then as the Chief of the Conservation Department, and finally as the first-ever Curator of Rare Books. While in this last position, he began the library’s artists’ books collection, and took the opportunity to scoop up everything from bark cloth catalogs to anti-war tracts.

Cushing retired in late 2017 (he is now the Rare Books Curator Emeritus) but his legacy remains on the Athenaeum’s shelves, in the form of the many additions he has made to them. He spoke with Atlas Obscura about his favorite books, his chain of accidentally strategic resignation attempts, and the various priceless treasures he has rescued from the open stacks.

Source: Exit Interview: I Curated Rare Books for a 200-Year-Old Library – Atlas Obscura

Published in: on February 22, 2018 at 10:56 PM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Archives: 1943-2018 – Randolph PRC Turns 75 Years old

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This year – August 17, 2018 to be exact – Randolph Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin will celebrate her 75th anniversary.

Organized on August 17, 1943 with 8 families and 30 members, she now numbers 56 and 226 members according to the 2017 PRC Yearbook. Over the years she has had 12 pastors minister the Bread of life to her, beginning with Rev. George Lubbers and leading up to Rev. Erik Guichelaar at present.

Below are a few pages from Randolph PRC’s 50th anniversary booklet describing the final events leading up to her organization.

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That picture on the above page reflects the first Consistory of this congregation after Rev. G. Lubbers became her pastor in January of 1944. A couple of years ago we received into the PRC archives an original of this photo, which we post here

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The congregation is planning a special celebration this summer to mark her special anniversary. We rejoice with her in God’s preserving and prospering grace over these 75 years. And we pray that God may continue to bless and keep her in her Head, Jesus Christ, and in the truth of the gospel concerning Him.

We are assisting Randolph PRC in gathering historical items for this event and for the 75th anniversary booklet she will be putting together. Perhaps you too may be of help to her and us. If you have any items – documents, programs, pictures, etc., feel free to share those with them and us. We will both appreciate the promotion and preservation of her history!

Published in: on January 25, 2018 at 9:42 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Day in a Michigan Lumber Camp – B. Catton

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The big day was the day Father took us out to a lumber camp.

We rode out in the caboose of a freight train, which by itself was enough  to make this a great occasion; past Boyne Falls, and off on some temporary branch line that led to the lumber camp, where our engine was to drop its empty flatcars and collect loaded cars for the return trip. While the train crew did this, Father took us up to the cook shack for a midday meal. …I got my first look at an old-time Michigan lumber camp. I did not actually see a great deal, and anyway a scene remembered from early childhood is glimpsed as through a glass darkly, with the real and unreal looking much alike. Looking back now I can recall little more than a set of log-and-tarpaper buildings in a clearing on rising ground, a wilderness of stumps and unwanted saplings all around, and somewhere in the distance a swampy plain where spiky trees without leaves or needles stood bleak and lonely against the snow – tamaracks, undoubtedly, although I could not have identified them at the time.

The camp was singularly quiet, and hardly any men were in sight. The men, of course, were off in the woods, hard at work; from first to last, the lumberjack never saw his camp in daylight except on Sundays – he went off into the forest before sunrise and he came back after dusk, and he knew his home place only as a warm spot in the cold darkness, where he ate and slept and on Sunday boiled his socks and long johns and waged ineffective war on the bedbugs that infested the bunkhouse.

Taken from chapter 5, “The Ax, the Log and the River,” in Bruce Catton’s Waiting for the Morning Train (Wayne State University Press, 1987). Though I can only quote a small portion of Catton’s history of the logging industry in Michigan, it is fascinating and sad. Next time I will give you some statistics he provides on how quickly the beautiful northern forests were stripped and how the promise of an inexhaustible supply of lumber was quickly shown to be utterly foolish.

If you want to read a little more about the logging industry, visit this Michigan history page. And if you want to see some more pictures of the logging camps, check out this Detroit News gallery.

Published in: on January 18, 2018 at 10:51 PM  Leave a Comment  

Rev. G. Vos 25th Anniversary Ministry Album: the Edgerton PRC Years, 1943-48

GVosOver the last several months we have made various posts concerning the recent treasure-gift for the PRC archives – a beautiful leather volume commemorating the 25-year ministry anniversary of Rev. Gerrit Vos (1894-1968).

The album (which must date from 1952 and probably at least a year before that) is filled with pictures and congratulatory notes from the four PRC congregations Rev. Vos had served up to that point – Sioux Center, IA, 1927-29; Hudsonville, 1929-1932; Hope, Redlands CA, 1932-1943; Edgerton, MN, 1943-1948; and then Hudsonville again, 1948-1966, which is where he was when his 25th anniversary in the ministry was celebrated.

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In our previous post we featured those years of Vos’ third charge, when he was in Hope PRC of Redlands, CA, from 1932 to 1943. Today (our final PRC archives post for 2017) let’s look at the time of his fourth charge, which was Edgerton (MN) PRC from 1943 to 1948.

We can easily post these pages from the album since there are but six (6) of them. But these too are packed with information – enjoy – especially those of you with Edgerton roots!

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Published in: on December 28, 2017 at 8:46 AM  Leave a Comment  

Rev. G. Vos 25th Anniversary Ministry Album: The Redlands PRC Years, 1932-43

In the last few months we have made several posts concerning the recent treasure-gift for the PRC archives – a beautiful leather volume commemorating the 25-year ministry anniversary of Rev. G. Vos (1894-1968).

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The book (which must date from 1952 and probably at least a year before that) is filled with pictures and congratulatory notes from the four PRC congregations Rev. Vos had served up to that point – Sioux Center, IA, 1927-29; Hudsonville, 1929-1932; Hope, Redlands CA, 1932-1943; Edgerton, MN, 1943-1948; and then Hudsonville again, 1948-1966, which is where he was when his 25th anniversary in the ministry was celebrated.

In our previous post we featured those years of Vos’ second charge, when he was in Hudsonville PRC for the first time, from 1929 to 1932. Today let’s look at the time of his third charge, which was Hope, Redlands CA, from 1932 to 1943.

We are able to post all nine (9) of the scanned pages from the album. Those of you with Redlands’ roots will recognize these people and places – enjoy!

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Published in: on November 30, 2017 at 2:22 PM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Seminary – New Building! 1973-74

Besides assisting me in the PRC Seminary library, Kevin Rau also helps with some archival projects, which, being a lover of history – especially church history! – he always enjoys.

The last few weeks he has been taking some time to sort through some old issues (donated loose ones) of the Standard Bearer, with his eyes alert especially to items related to PRC history – seminary news, church organizations/anniversaries, minister ordinations, mission news, memoriams, etc.

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Yesterday, while going through some early 1970s issues, he found some news reports on and pictures of the construction of the new seminary building at it current location (4949 Ivanrest Ave., Wyoming, MI) when our theological school moved from the basement of First PRC in Grand Rapids, where it had been stationed for nearly 50 years.

Sem-new-building-1973-74_0002Since we did a feature on the 1993-94 addition to that building yesterday, today we will go back another 20 years to the construction of the original structure. And yes, you will note how free and clear the property was at that time of its current surroundings – not only tall trees, but also malls, stores, houses, and churches.

Sem-new-building-1973-74_0003In fact, I heard a cute story from our secretary yesterday (when I showed her the SB pics) that when they first moved into the area, she and her husband (the former registrar, whose name will go unmentioned to protect the guilty!) used to go on the roof of seminary on 4th of July evening – from which perch they could view fireworks in all directions! Can you see it? What a hoot, as a friend of mine would say. 🙂

Sem-new-building-1973-74_0004Happy Friday to you all! Have a safe and blessed weekend.

Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 3:49 PM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Seminary Expansion! 1994-95

Recently, while looking for some paperwork in my office file cabinet, I discovered some old pictures of my predecessor (Mr. Don Doezema) on the major expansion project at the PRC Seminary in 1994-95. This was the addition that housed the new professor offices, the new library, the PRC archives, and the RFPA (the latter two in the lower level). Today we make these our PRC archives feature for this week.

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Removing trees and breaking ground on the new seminary addition

Plans and preparations for this addition originated with the PRC Synods in 1991 and 1992, when these broader assemblies instructed the Theological School Committee (TSC) to hire an architect to draw up plans for expansion, approved those plans, and “authorized the TSC to proceed with producing construction drawings when 50% of the estimated cost of the addition has been collected in gifts, and to award a construction contract when 75% of the estimated cost is collected” (from a special brochure published by the TSC in August of 1993).

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Footings set and walls poured

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In that August 1993 brochure a final appeal was made to the churches to contribute to this project, with hopes of breaking ground in 1994. That appeal was effective and in the Fall of 1994 the project commenced, with completion coming in 1995.

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Wood and steel framing goes up

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Progress on the exterior during the winter months

Next time we will include some interior pictures and then the open house that was held when the addition was done.

Published in: on November 9, 2017 at 8:57 AM  Leave a Comment