A.J.F. (Arnold Johan Ferdinand) Van Laer
Papers, 1908-1952

SC15317

Quantity: 17 boxes (5.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research with the exception of boxes 14-17, which are restricted due to fire damage.
Acquisition: Gift of A. J. F. van Laer, November 1939; later collated with other collections that were accessioned separately.
Processed By: Processed by Peter Christoph, Librarian, October 1978; revised by Fred Bassett, Librarian, July 2007

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Biographical Note:

Arnold Johan Ferdinand (A.J.F.) van Laer was a librarian and archivist with the New York State Library (1899-1915) and the Division of History and Archives (1915-1939), best known for his translations of New York’s colonial Dutch records. Published works include four volumes of New Netherland records, two of Beverwyck, six of Albany County, four relating to Rensselaerswyck, and one of Lutheran records in Holland relative to the Colony of New York. He also wrote numerous articles for journals, principally the New York State Historical Association Quarterly, the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Record. His translations are considered superior to those of any of his predecessors or contemporaries, a result of his fluency in both Dutch and English, his research into colonial history and language, his understanding of Dutch customs and traditions, and his particular interest in the individual settlers. Frequently overlooked are his contribution to the developing professions of manuscript curator and archivist and his efforts to encourage the preservation of historical records.

A.J.F. van Laer was born in Utrecht and settled in the United States in 1897, living in Albany from 1897 until his death in 1955. He received the degrees of mechanical engineer at the University of Delft and bachelor of library science at the New York State Library School. He and his wife had three sons. Biographical information can be found in a memorial address by Charles K. Winne, Jr., published in the Yearbook of the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany for 1954-1956, and reprinted in volume one of New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch (Baltimore, 1974).

Scope and Content Note:

These papers contain correspondence, research notes, and other administrative materials relating to Van Laer's duties as librarian and archivist with the New York State Library (1899-1915) and the Division of History and Archives (1915-1939). The correspondence concerns his published translations of documents related to the Dutch colonial period in New York State. For example, his correspondence with Howard Townsend concerns translation of Dutch documents in the Van Rensselaer Manor Papers. In addition, his correspondence also relates to the history and genealogy of families of Dutch origin and New York Colonial history in general.  Some of his principal correspondents include Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, William Gorham Rice and Kathlyne K. Vielie.

These papers also contain correspondence, memorandum and notes related to the salvage and restoration of manuscripts and records of the New York State Library that were damaged by the fire in 1911; research notes and translations of numerous Dutch language documents; typescripts and research notes for articles Van Laer contributed to the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook and other journals. Lastly, these papers include transcriptions in the original Dutch language of many of the documents translated and published in Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts (Albany, N.Y.:  University of the State of New York, 1908).

Box and Folder List


Box Folder(s) Description
  Correspondence: Chronological files, 1912-1939
1 1-10 Correspondence, 1912-1919
2 1-11 Correspondence, 1920-1925
3 1-11 Correspondence, 1926-1930
4 1-9 Correspondence, 1931-1934
5 1-11 Correspondence, 1935-1939
    Correspondence: Alphabetical files, 1911-1939
6 1 Becker, Alfred L, 1924-1925, re: portraits of Adriaen van der Donck. With photostats of portraits of Van der Donck, Jacobus Gerritsz and Frederick Philipse.
6 2 Benson, Arthur D. and Hevlyn Dirck, 1936-1939, re: origin and coat of arms of the Benson family
6 3 Finley, John Huston, (State Education Commissioner), 1914-1915, re: revision of the index to Ecclesiastical Records of the State of New York
6 4 Hemstreet, Ralph E., 1925, 1937, re: descendents of Takel Dircksz Heemstraet (1670-1722)
6 5 Hoes, Roswell Randall, 1916, re: Kingston records in Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. XIII.
6 6 Hunt, Carleton and Thomas, 1913-1918, re: land records of Ulster and Delaware counties in the Livingston family papers and Henry Laussat papers.
6 7 Kuykendall, George Benson, 1912-1924, re: origins of the Kuykendall family.
6 8 Nijhoff, Wouter, 1911-1916, re: news reports in Holland about the New York State Library fire and inquires about the salvage of papers and records relative to New Netherland (in Dutch; transferred from manuscript accessions  8810-8812)
6 9 Nissenson, Samuel George, 1932-37, re: research for The Patroon’s Domain
-- -- Oppenheim, Samuel, 1908, re: colonial history. FIRE DAMAGED (files in Box 14, Folder 20)
6 10 Overvoorde, J. C, 1929, re: salvage of records in the aftermath of the fire at city hall in Leyden, Netherlands
6 11 Pearson, John, 1914-15,  re: translation of Dutch records by Rev. Jonathan Pearson (his father) that were published in Early Records of Albany
6 12-15 Reynolds, Helen Wilkinson, 1921-1926, re: research and publication of her books (primarily Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley before 1776)
6 16-17 Rice, William Gorham, 1914-30, re: research on carillons and his book The Albany Singing Tower: The Book of the Carillon (copy annotated by Van Laer in Box 12, Folder 1)
7 1-3 Richardson, William H., 1930-1936, re: History of Pavonia, Staten Island, and Paulus Hook.
7 4-5 Sill, Dunkin H. , 1923-1927, research relative to Jeremias van Rensselaer and his brothers
7 6-7 Smock, John W., 1923-1925, re: origins of the Smack/Smock family.
7 8-10 Townsend, Howard, 1922-1935, re: translation and publication of Van Renssealaer Manor Papers; includes a copy of memorandum of November 10, 1931, detailing Van Laer’s efforts (transfer from manuscript accession 12767)
  11 Van Norden, Theodore Langdon, 1924,re: research relative to publication The Van Norden Family (annotated copy of book in Box 12, Folder 2)
7 12 Van Royen, J.H., 1932, re: portrait of G.J. van Berckel, first minister of state of the U.S. from the Netherlands, 1783
7 13 Van Winkle, Edward, 1912-1916, re: “Manhattan, 1624-1639” and other articles in the Year Book of the Holland Society of New-York.
7 14-15 Viele, Kathlyne K., 1913-22, re: origins of the Viele family
7 16 Wyer, James I. (State Librarian) 1926, re: opposing transfer of certain New York colonial documents to New Jersey.
7 17 Accretions (Transferred from single accessions)
  1. William S. Hackett, Albany, to A. J. F. van Laer, Albany, January 12, 1924, re: appointment of van Laer by the Mayor of Albany to special committee relative to the New Netherland Tercentenary (14867)
  2. A.J.F. van Laer, to Charlotte Luckhurst, March 1935, re: error in Pearson’s First Settlers of Albany relating to Jocham Wesselse (17229)
    Documents Related to New York State Library Fire, 1911
8 1 Correspondence, 1911, re: the salvage of documents after the fire  (Transferred from manuscript single accession 8776-8809)
8 2 Papers relative to document salvage and restoration
  1. Diagram of shelving against the south wall of the manuscript room showing destruction of manuscripts near hot air register, 1911 (Transferred from single accession 8786)
  2. Memorandum contesting charges made by the State Historian that historical papers were being thrown away with debris (Transferred from single accession 4306)
  3. Photograph of State Library staff working on document restoration in the aftermath of the Capitol fire, 1911; “Some of the burnt out clerks helping in the restoration” (Transferred from single accession 8775)
8 3 Correspondence between John F Tyrrell and Alexander C. Flick, 1933, with photographs regarding the restoration of documents damaged by fire
  Research notes, transcriptions, translations, and assorted topical files
8 4 Translation with notes and correspondence related to the letter of John Browne to the directors of the West India Company, June 9, 1663, refusing to deny his Quaker beliefs; also includes correspondence with John Cox of  the Joint Committee on Records of the Religious Society of Friends, 1918-1921
8 5 Research notes and transcriptions of two letters of Nicasius DeSille, 1654 (Translations appear in the Quarterly Journal of the New York State Historical Association, April 1920 (see also Box 11, Folder 7)
8 6 Historical notes and abstracts of documents related to Andries Hudde;  includes correspondence with P.J. Kapyeyn, 1913-1914, and William J. Hoffman, 1937 (Transferred from manuscript accession 12115)
8 7 Transcript of an affidavit, of Evert Willemsz Munnick and Harmen Martensz van der Bosch, March 4, 1667, re: surrender of New Netherland by two West India Company soldiers (Translation in I.N.P. Stokes’s Iconography of Manhattan Island, 4: 243-44).
8 8 Translation of Teunis Cornelisz Slingerland, Deed of land at Onisquethau to his sons Arent and Albart, August 29, 1687; with photostat of English deed to his son Cornelis for land in the same patent, August 10, 1701.
8 9 Translation of Rev. Peter Nicholas Sommer, Memoranda at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Schoharie, 1742-1767
8 10 Research notes on the property of Jean Cottin at New Paltz
8 11 Research notes relative to Dover and Staten Island land grants.
8 12 Memorandum to James Sullivan with related news clipping on the replica of the ship Half Moon used at the Hudson-Fulton Celebration (1909), 1917-1932
8 13 Correspondence and notes regarding education and Adam Roelantsen,  the first schoolmaster of New Netherland, 1916-1937
8 14 Papers regarding the portrait of Peter Stuyvesant by Hendrick Couturier, 1919-1925
8 15 Papers regarding the correct form of the name of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Von Steuben, 1930
8 16 Correspondence, notes, and annotated pamphlet (in Dutch) related to Van Vleck family history and genealogy, 1936
8 17 Correspondence and notes on manuscripts in Holland related to the Pilgrims (Plymouth Plantation), 1920; includes annotated copies of the publication Three Unknown Documents Concerning the Pilgrim Fathers in Holland by A. Eekhof  (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1920)
8 18 Memorandum to Dr. James Sullivan, March 7, 1922, re: article on “Surrogates Courts and Records in the Colony and State of New York. 1664-1847” by Royden W. Vosburgh
8 19 Lists of documents in Dutch archives relating to the United States.
8 20 Pocket notebook contains transcriptions( in Dutch) of minutes of the Amsterdam Chamber of the West India Company, 1635-1666
8 21 Transcriptions in Dutch of Rensselaerswyck Court Minutes, 1648-1652 (Transferred from manuscript accession 7272)
8 22 Notes and transcriptions (in Dutch) of letters of Nicholas Van Rensselaer (Transferred from accession 13073)
8 23 Photostat copy of letter from Director Wouter van Twiller and Council of Rensselaerswijck to the directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the West India Company (WIC), August 14, 1636, concerning request by Dominie Bogardus for a schoolmaster (original in the WIC archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
8 24 Photostat copy of letter from Jean Pierron to the magistrates of Albany, July 10, 1671, in regards to rumors of attack on Albany by French troops (original in the Livingston Papers that were in the possession of the family of Johnston L. Redmond)
8 25 Photostat copy of the Westchester Town Court. Minutes, 1657-1676
8 26 Correspondence, memorandum, etc., relative to the history and restoration of Fort Crailo, 1916-1938 (Transferred from manuscript accession 11408)
8 27 Research notes on the history of Fort Crailo and translation of related manuscripts found in the Van Rensselaer Manor Papers (Transferred from manuscript accession 11408)
8 28 Printed material related to Fort Crailo, 1923-1938; includes copies of the program of the official presentation to the State of New York, June 3, 1924 (Transferred from manuscript accession 11408)
9 1 Correspondence, 1922-1935, re: events and programs commemorating the New Netherland Tercentenary, 1924; principal correspondents include Louis  Effingham de Forest, Dr. Albert Vander Veer, and  Royden W. Vosburgh (Transferred from manuscript accession 11284)
9 2 Printed programs and brochures, 1924-1926, re: New Netherland Tercentenary; includes assorted issues of De Halve Maen,  the newsletter of the Holland Society of New York (Transferred from manuscript accession 11284)
9 3 Journal articles and news clippings, regarding the settlement of New Netherland, 1922-1924 (Transferred from manuscript accession 11284)

SEE ALSO “Settlement of New Netherland 1624-1626” Royden Woodward Vosburgh (New York Genealogical and Biographical Record v. 55 no. 1, 1924), pp. 3-15 (Box 11, Folder 5)

9 4 Annotated publications, 1923-1935, re: New Netherland Tercentenary
  1. New Netherland Founding by Dingman Veersteeg (Holland Society of New York, 1933) 13 p.
  2. The Tercentenary of New York City in 1924: A Consideration of Conflicting Claims/ by Louis Effingham De Forest (New York: The National Huguenot-Walloon New Netherland Tercentenary Commission, 1923) 26 p.
  3. Settlement of Manhattan in 1624  by Louis Effingham De Forest (Albany, N.Y.: Argus Press, 1935) 47 p.
9 5 Correspondence with Paul G. Burton, 1914-1937, re: transcribing and translating manuscripts related to Cornelius Melyn (Transferred from manuscript accession 10866)
9 6 Transcripts of documents related to Cornelius Melyn and family collected from various sources by Paul G. Burton, 1919 (Transferred from manuscript accession 10866)
9 7 Photocopies of original documents related to Cornelius Melyn with annotation by Van Laer (Transferred from manuscript accession 10866)
9 8 Correspondence and notes, 1914-1924, concerning the sale and purchase of manuscripts from Chevaliers van Rappard by Henry E Huntington Library, San Marino, California (Transferred from manuscript 11283)

SEE ALSO Catalogue of Manuscripts, Frederik Muller & Company, Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 1910 (Box 11, Folder 11)

9 9 Correspondence 1923-1924 with George Watson Cole, Librarian, Henry E. Huntington Library regarding the translation of van Rappard manuscripts (Transferred from manuscript single accession 11283)
9 10 Correspondence with Henry W. Taylor, 1923-1924, re: editing and publishing of Documents Relating to New Netherland in the Henry E. Huntington Library (Transferred from manuscript accession 11283)
9 11 Correspondence, 1922-1927, re: Documents Relating to New Netherland in the Henry E. Huntington Library (Transferred from manuscript accession 11283)
9 12 Translations and research notes on documents related to New Netherland in the Huntington Library (Transferred from manuscript accession 11283)
9 13 Correspondence and research notes  Cornelis van Vorst (Transferred from manuscript accession 11283)
9 14 Translation of the contract between Kiliaen van Rensselaer and Gerard de Forest, 1636 (Transferred from manuscript accession 11283)
9 15 Abstracts of selected documents found in The Iconography of Manhattan Island (v. 6) related to van Rappard manuscripts (Transferred from manuscript accession 11283)
9 16 Notes relative to article  “Jan Lampo, the first treasurer of New Netherland” by L/ P/ de Baer New York Genealogical and Biographical Record  v. 61, no. 2, 1930 pp. 174-178 (Transferred from manuscript accession 11283)
10 Research papers and notes related to articles published in The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook (Transferred from manuscript accession 11779)
10 1 “Dutch Grants" along the south side of State Street, Albany, N.Y. (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v.2, 1926-1927)
10 2 “Arent van Curler and his historic letter to the Patroon” (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v. 3, 1927-1928) Includes a manuscript translation of original letter found in Van Rensselaer Manor Papers (SC7079 Box 17, Folder 7)
10 3 “Seal of New Netherland” (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v. 3, 1927-1928)
10 4 “Hannachrois Kill” (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v. 4, 1928-1929)
10 5 Letters to Evert Jansen Wendel (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v. 4, 1928-1929)
10 6 “Letters of Hendrick Gerritsenvan Wie, Colonist of Renselaerswyck, 1664-1690” (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v. 4, 1928-1929)
10 7 “Settlers of Rensselaerswyck” (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v. 5, 1929-1930)
10 8 “Date of Settlement of the Lansing Family at Beverwyck” (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v.6, 1930-1931)
10 9 “Evert Nolden, the First Schoolmaster of Rensselaerswyck” (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v. 7, 1931-1932)
10 10 Orphan Masters Court Records (The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v. 11, 1935-1936)
10 (11-15) Albany “Notarial Papers” 1665-1697
Translations of Dutch documents found in 1927 among Livingston family papers in the possession of the family of the late Johnston L. Redmond, of Callendar House, Tivoli, Dutchess County, New York. Most documents were published in The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook (DSSY). Photostatic copies of many of these documents are found in SC10031 (Transferred from manuscript accession 10807)
10 11 Translations of documents published in DSSY, v. 6, 1930-1931
10 12 Translations of documents published in DSSY, v. 10, 1934-1935
10 13 Translations of documents published in DSSY, v. 13, 1937-1938
10 14 Translations of documents published in DSSY, v. 14. 1938-1939
10 15 List of documents; translation of documents not published
  Annotated books and periodicals
11 1 The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, v. 8 and 9, 1932-1934; “Ancestors and Descendents from Organization of Society,” p. 157-169
11 2 The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook,  v. 14, 1938-1939; “Albany Notarial Papers, 1667-1687, p. 1-18
11 3 The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, v. 48 no. 3, July 1917: “List of Guests Invited to Funeral of Jeremias van Rensselaer, 1674”
11 4 The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, v. 49, no. 4, October 1918: “Settlers of Rensselaerswyck,” p. 365-367
11 5 New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, v.55 no. 1, 1924: “Settlement of New Netherland 1624-1626” by Royden Woodward Vosburgh,  p. 3-15
11 6 New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, v. 57, no. 1, January 1926: “Anneke Jans Bogardus”
11 7 New York State Historical Association. Quarterly Journal, v. 2, no. 4, April 1920: Letters of Nicasius de Sille, 1654 (see also box 8 folder 5)
11 8 New York State Historical Association. Quarterly Journal, v. 1, no. 3, October 1922: Letters of Adriaen Gerritsen Papendorp; Deposition of Cornelia Marson van Buren.
11 9 Clarke, Noah T. “The Wampum Belt Collection of the New York State Museum”.
11 10 Flagg, Charles A., and Judson T. Jennings. Bibliography of New York Colonial History.
11 11 Catalogue of Manuscripts, Frederik Muller & Company, Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 1910 (in French); includes a list of the Chevaliers Van Rappard manuscripts that were acquired by Henry E. Huntington. See letter from Emily de Forest, April 2, 1914, accompanying the catalogue
12 1 The Albany Singing Tower: The Book of the Carillon by William Gorham Rice (Albany, N.Y.: Printed by the Argus Press, 1927)
12 2 The Van Norden Family by Theodore Langdon Van Norden (South Salem, N.Y.: The Horse and Hound, 1923)
12 3 New York Tercentenary: An Exhibition of the History of New Netherland, 1624-1924 by Victor Hugo Paltsits (New York: New York Public Library, 1924)
12 4 Photostats of newspaper articles: “Episodes in Albany’s Tercentenary Existence,” by Peter Nelson (Albany, N.Y.: Times-Union) May 24, 27 and 28, June 4 and 5, 1924
12 5 Van Epps, Percy M. Wolf Hollow: Glenville’s Notable Scenic Feature. (Glenville, N.Y.: The Town Board, 1939) Pamphlet (autographed presentation copy).
    Miscellaneous
12 6 “Books by Frances Jenkins Olcott.” Publisher’s brochure (with autograph note of Olcott).
12 7 Correspondence, clippings, photographs, etc. concerning Dutch efforts to sell five 16th century Sanskrit copper plates, 1934-1935
12 8 Newspaper clippings concerning records preservation and various historical topics.
12 9 Extract from Court of Appeals decision concerning exempt Civil Service titles.
12 10 Papers related to articles on colonial history of Mew York published in University of the State of New York Bulletin to the Schools, 1924
12 11 Photocopies of correspondence between A.J.F. van Laer and Mrs. Abbett Pulliam [Charlotte Wilcoxen], 1944-1952, re: research on Dutch language, history, and language (SC16962)
    Extra-Large Manuscripts
EL 1 Photostat copies of document published in Minutes of the Court of Renselaerswyck, 1648-1652 and Minutes of  the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwyck
EL 2 Photostat copy of the Dutch translation of the charter granted in the name of King George III, by Governor Thomas Boone, for the creation of an academy  at New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1761
EL 3 Photostat copy of the journal of Robert Livingston, 1794-1795
EL 4 Certificates of appointment to New York (State) Board of  Geographic Names, June 20, 1913 and July 28, 1915; signed by Governors William Sulzer and Charles Whitman, respectively (Transferred from manuscript single accession 10834)
13 -- Card Files
13 -- Albany residents. Annotated index to the 1697 census and 1699 oath of allegiance.
13 -- New Netherland, Dutch language and customs. Subject file of information on the colonial Dutch.
14 (1-19) Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts Series 1 (VRBM) Transcripts and related research notes on documents that were published: Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts, Being the Letters of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, 1630-1643, and Other Documents Relating to the Colony of Rensselaerswijck. Translated and Edited by A.J.F. van Laer, Archivist. (Albany, N.Y.: University of the State of New York, 1908) (transferred from SC7079, Van Rensselaer Manor Papers) Burnt/Fragile(Restricted access: special permission is required for use of these materials)
14 1 List of documents that have been translated and printed
14 2 Kert Verhaek; oc’s copy” [sic – probably a reference to work done by E.B. O’Callaghan]
14 3 Story of Van Schaick Island, Cohoes Republican, July 16, 1906
14 4-8 VRBM Loose Papers - Transcripts in Dutch of various documents
14 9 VRBM Loose Papers - Abstracts of farm leases of colonists (in Dutch)
14 10 VRBM Loose Papers - Log of ship Rensselaerswijck, September 25, 1636-November 7, 1637 (in Dutch)
14 11-15 VRBM Loose Papers; transcripts in Dutch of various documents
14 16 VRBM Loose Papers - Journal of Anthony de Hooges on his voyage to New Netherland in den Coninck David,  July 30-November 29, 1641
14 17 VRBM Loose Papers - Abstracts of various documents.(in Dutch)
14 18-19 VRBM Loose Papers - Transcripts in Dutch of various documents
14 20 Correspondence with Samuel Oppenheim, 1908-1909
15 1-4 Typewritten copies of Dutch text of the Van Rensselaer Bowier Letterbook, p. 106 to end (p.1687) Burnt/Fragile
16 1-4 Handwritten text of Van Rensselaer Bowier Letterbook, [307 p.]  Burnt/Fragile
17 (2-9) Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts Series 2: Papers Relating to various members of the Van Wely, Van Rensselaer, and Van Bylaer families; Typewritten transcripts in Dutch of selected documents that were not published; Burnt/Fragile (Transferred from manuscript collection SC16675)
17 1 List of the documents photocopied from the Annual Report of the New York State Library 1909; see also Guide to Dutch Manuscripts relating to New Netherland in United States Repositories / Charles Gehring, ed. (Albany: New York State Library, 1978)
17 2 Correspondence between Van Laer and Howard Townsend, 1909
17 3 Documents 3, 5, 9, 10, 16. 17, and 19
17 4 Documents 21, 25, 26, 27,28, 29, and 33
17 5 Documents 39-49
17 6 Documents 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 58, 60, and 62
17 7 Documents 63, 64, 65, and 66
17 8 Documents 67, 68, 69, 71, 72, and 73
17 9 Documents 75, 76, 77, 80, 81, 83, and 83
Last Updated: October 26, 2012