Remembrance of Patria

Dutch Arts and Culture in Colonial America, 1609-1776

By Roderic H. Blackburn & Ruth Piwonka

Subjects: New York/regional, History
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Hardcover : 9780939072064, 318 pages, January 1988

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An essential guide to the history, culture, and social life of New Netherland.


How much of the Dutch world in America survived after the English? One hundred years after the English took control of New Netherland in 1664, New York retained many Dutch characteristics. The cultural milieu shifted abruptly, however, with population growth and increased affluence following the termination of the French and Indian Wars in 1760. British customs and tastes that were stylishly attractive to a new generation of moneyed colonists soon put Dutch culture in retreat in all but the most isolated areas.

Some elements of the past persisted in ways never dreamed of by the Dutch West India Company officials, who oversaw their nation's colonization in America. These include caucus politics, separation of church and state, neighborly evening visits on the stoop, and Santa Claus. Even more striking is the similarity between principles and practices that emerged in the Dutch Republic four centuries ago and some of the precepts on which the American republic was founded.

Much of the Dutch cultural and social history may be interpreted and understood through objects they brought with them and from those objects and structures they created in the New World. This landmark volume, originating in a major exhibit commemorating the tricentennial of the city of Albany, uncovers the range of Dutch colonial experience in America through some 350 objects: paintings, furniture, silver, gold, ceramics, textiles, prints, drawings, and architecture. The result is a rare and remarkable glimpse of New Netherland, a long-ago world that continues to resonate today.

Roderic H. Blackburn is an ethnologist and architectural historian who has held positions as Director of Research at Historic Cherry Hill, Assistant Director of the Albany Institute of History and Art, and Senior Research Fellow at the New York State Museum. He is the author of Dutch Colonial Homes in America and Great Houses of New England. Ruth Piwonka is the author of A Portrait of Livingston Manor, 1686–1850 and the coauthor (with Roderic H. Blackburn) of A Visible Heritage: Columbia County, New York: A History in Art and Architecture.