The Vanderveer House

By: Sharon Kang, Rose Kostak, Cynthia Tsai

The Vanderveer House

The original part of the Vanderveer House shows Dutch and English traditions of vernacular construction. It is a one and a half story clapboard frame dwelling. The original fabric of the house is still intact today, and the original flooring is of wide pine boards. A wall in the west parlor features raised wood paneling above the fireplace with a barrel-back cabinet to the side. The house had a few alterations later in the 19th and 20th century such as imposing “bungaloid” features like exterior stucco. The interior of the house interprets both the west Georgian section when Knox were in residence and also the east Federal addition with its higher ceilings.

Vanderveer House

loading map - please wait...

Vanderveer House 40.666667, -74.645000

The Vanderveer House is located in Bedminster Township in Somerset County, along the North Branch of the Raritan. It served as headquarters for General Henry Knox during the Revolutionary War’s Second Middlebrow Encampment and is the only known building still standing that was associated with the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment. It is also the last surviving building in Bedminster associated with the Vanderveer Family. The Vanderveer family was prominent in Bedminster Township history from its earliest settlement through the mid 19th century. The location has never moved, and the house is now used as a museum and an educational center. It was first built in the early 1770’s by Jacobus Vanderveer, the father of Jacobus Vanderveer Sr., who built it for his son and other Vanderveer families to come. It was then purchased by the Township of Bedminster in 1989 and has experienced many changes in construction since then, although remains of the original framing still exist and endure in sturdy condition. Jacobus Vanderveer was descended from Dutch immigrants who arrived in Long Island, New York in 1659. He was a very active member of the Dutch Reform Church of Bedminster, acting as an elder in the church and playing a major part in the organization of the church. He even donated the land that the church was built on, and eventually married Mariah Hardenbergh, the daughter of Jacob Ruten Hardenbergh, who was the minister of the church. The Dutch Reform Church was a huge part of Dutch life in America, and Jacobus Vanderveer was a big player in the church. 

The Vanderveer House is connected to Rutgers history because Jacobs R. Hardenbergh, Jacobus Vanderveer’s father-in-law, was Queen’s College’s first President. Its first instructor was Frederick Frelinghuysen, and through intermarriages, Frederick Frelinghuysen and Elias Vanderveer were brothers-in-law. The Vanderveer’s strong connections to Frelinghuysen portray that the family was strongly linked with Dutch-American cultural elites. 

We picked the Vanderveer House because it is very close to where one of our partners, Rose, lives in Morris County and it is interesting how such an influential historical monument could be located only a short drive away from home. It is also fascinating how so much information can be gathered about a building that at first glance appears to be like any average one-story house but in reality was reconstructed multiple times so that it now retains most of the original Dutch framework and holds the appearance of the Vanderveer House from when it was first built. This object brings many aspects of Dutch life to light, specifically the connection to the Dutch Reform Church, which played such a large role in the history of the house. The Dutch had such an influence in America, especially in our area and at Rutgers University, and continues to be a legacy to many families here, and this house perfectly exemplifies their life and their culture. It tells a story that parallels many whose ancestors may have come here not only from the Netherlands, but also from other places in Europe and maybe even from elsewhere in the world.

“The Vanderveer families remained in the Pluckemin/Bedminster area for generations and are remembered today as major contributors to the legacy of the area.” (


“Guardians.” The Pluckemin Cantonment and Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster New Jersey. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

“Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum.” Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

“The Vanderveer House.” The Vanderveer House. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

The Bull Stone House


By:Brittany Conlon, Irene Nicholas, Dina Thomas, Preety Saran

Section: 8

stonehouse760 (1)

Located in Orange County, New York, The Bull Stone House is a ten-room stone house that took thirteen years to complete. William Bull and Sarah Wells built the house in 1722; they were among the first settlers in Orange County. The house is extremely durable, and even endured an earthquake in 1728 during its construction. It is one of the oldest intact houses in all of New York, and it has one of only a few hundred surviving Dutch barns of the New World on its property. The house and its accompanying barn are also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hamptonburgh, NY

loading map - please wait...

Hamptonburgh, NY 48.216038, 16.378984

After researching, we found that many buildings in New York as well as New Jersey were built by the Dutch. For example, the Bull Stone House, one of the oldest intact houses in all of New York, was built by Dutch settlers. The house was built by married couple, William Bull and Sarah Wells, in 1722. The Bull Stone House is located in Hamptonburgh, New York and has one of only a few hundred surviving Dutch barns in the New World on its property. The stone house which has ten rooms took thirteen years to complete and endured an earthquake in 1728 during its construction.

The house’s builders, Bull and Wells, had received the land which the Bull Stone House is built on as a wedding gift and worked together to build a home and life with each other. Bull was a stonemason and Wells had prior experience with building as she had previously built her own log cabin at the age of 16.

They both worked towards the construction of the house which reflects the more progressive concepts the Dutch adopted towards gender roles. Both husband and wife had active roles during the Bull Stone House’s construction, rather than the societal norm of having only men do the more physically strenuous work.

The house stands as a symbol of feminism by commemorating then eighteen-year-old Sarah Wells’ trek along the Hudson River, during which she courageously led an entourage of Native American guides and carpenters. She received 100 acres as payment for claiming the land; the Bull Stone House that she built with her husband is a physical manifestation of her achievements.


Works Cited

“Bull Run.” Civil War Trust. Council on Foreign Relations, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

“Bull Stone House.” Bull Stone House. The William Bull and Sarah Wells      Stone House Association, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Sperling, Bert. “Best Places to Live in Hamptonburgh, New York.” Sperling’s Best Places. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Return to home page.

Blue Delft ~ an artistic, classy knockoff.

A brief history by Bailey Lawrence and Tyler Farnsworth.


Imitation Delftware: With a diameter of approximately 1 foot, the above plate is colored in the iconic blue-and-white for which “Blue Delft” pottery received its namesake. A romanticized outdoor scene, presumably of a couple and their newborn baby, plays out within an ornate border. Dressed in traditional early nineteenth-century clothing, the characters engage in everyday domestic activities and affirm well-entrenched gender roles. It is unclear where the scene takes place, although it can be assumed that the plate’s British manufacturers meant to emulate a location in England. The skyline of a rustic town can be faintly made out in the background.

After learning about the Dutch’s profound influence on America’s origins and culture, it is astonishing how conspicuous its evidence remains in everyday life. Since returning from the Netherlands, I was capable of admiring the significance and historical texture of the collection of engraved copper pottery that had sat on display in my kitchen for more than a decade. Our brief stint in Delft inspired us to analyze the legacy of the pottery to which the Dutch town lends its name. The plate is a member of a large collection of ornamental kitchenware gifted to my mother by her sister about 12 years ago. This exchange by two Latinas was made with no addition of cultural significance relating to Delftware’s Dutch origins. This particular example of imitation “Delftware” was made in England, where its manufacturers claimed to be harkening back to a collection crafted in 1816. My mother was delighted upon learning about what she perceived to be the authenticity of the object, excitedly remarking “Oh wow, she got me the real thing!”

Ironically enough for Bailey’s mother, her delftware would not truly be “the real thing” unless it was about 200 years older, and from the Netherlands, not England. Oxidized tin ceramics, like that of Delftware, had been used in the middle east as early as the 8th century, and found its way to the Spaniards, English, Dutch, Germans, North Africans and Egyptians over the next 900 years. What is unique about Delftware among other oxidized tin ceramics is its white and blue coloring, and its use of a portrait or landscape, rather than a typical geometric pattern.

What’s even funnier yet is that the original Delftware itself is said to have been created as a knockoff porcelain product from China. Porcelain products from China were sought after, but very fragile and costly to ship. Thus came about the trade of delftware, just as pretty but made domestically. So maybe Bailey’s mother’s delftware dish is an imitation piece twice over. All jokes aside, the delftware is a manifestation of the Golden age Dutch practicality and capitalist ways, while also showcasing their refinement and appreciation for beauty and art.


Oxidized tin ceramics came from 8th century Mesopotamians, which was used by 18th century Dutch to imitate Chinese porcelain. This Chinese imitation that took a style of its own was then imitated by the 19th century English, and now one of the English imitation pieces can be found in Bailey’s home, and likely many other American homes as well. The above map shows the route of the history of Bailey’s mother’s piece.


For Further Reading:


  • Avery, C. L. (1930, September). English Delftware. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 25(9), 190-192.
  • Hildyard, R. (1990, May). A Group of Southwark Delftwares. The Burlington Magazine, 132(1046), 354-355.
  • Paul Clemens (2016, May) Video Recording of Lecture on Dutch Golden Age Rutgers University Archives
  • Wuestman, G. (2009). Wouwerman on Delftware. The Rijksmuseum Bulletin,57(3), 236-243.

Below link had no author, or publication date, but contains thorough bibliography of resources to examine 

Return to home page.

America’s First Rope-Skippers

From The Girls Own Book by Lydia Marie Child
From The Girls Own Book by Lydia Marie Child. Print

As Follows:

Two ropes are to be used, a child should hold either end in each hand, while turning them alternatively; the skipper must jump over each in every turn.

You fill find that children often compete to show superiority of skill. Whoever skips the most rope without interruption, is crowned victor.

Many, upon reading and imagining the movements of the steps in their head, will recognize this activity more commonly as “Double-Dutch”.

Its late 16th century, America receives its first organized wave of European immigrants, and the children are homesick. Longing for their country and the friends that the have left behind, the little Dutch children, in an effort to make the best of a foreign and somewhat empty neighborhood, did what they knew best during moments of boredom. Skip Rope. Centuries later, the stomping and the clapping of those children can still be heard in New Netherlands today. In the streets of what is now known as Manhattan, those young children sowed the beginnings of what will eventually become a staple in every playground in America; regardless of background, age, or income identities, children all across America will have participated in what will eventually be adopted as the game, “Double Dutch”.

But why exactly is it called, “Double Dutch”?

Surely the phrase must be the brainchild of a few middle school children wanting to ascribe rhyme and alliteration to a whimsical activity they’ve learned to enjoy very much during a typical day. But No,

A better approach to its origins would be to focus on the pieces and its parts-and acknowledge the potential of cultural undertones that may in fact be subtle reference to those immigrant children of long ago.

The modern use of the phrase “Double Dutch” in meaning to describe an odd and strange demonstration of athleticism and skill happens to fall on a connection to a very early and derogatory use of the term. ‘Double-Dutch’ was a commonly known phrase used by native Englanders as early as the 17 century. Double Dutch translates into “gibberish” or “strange talking”1. Commonly used to reference English Superiority. It found its way into common speech because of its xenophobic and prejudice overtones.

A popular understanding behind the christening of the sport comes from an exchange between and English officer and his subordinate in the early days of new Netherlands. On the streets of New Netherlands, near the Hudson to be exact, the children of Dutch immigrant would chant and rhyme in sequence while rhythmically jumping inside two ropes. Settlers could not understand neither the songs (which were in Dutch) nor the purpose of using two ropes instead of the conceivable one. It was pure lunacy2.

Snapshot of Wikipedia Webpage of Touwtjespringen
Snapshot of Wikipedia Webpage of Touwtjespringen

Under Met Meerdere personen, You’ll find lyrics to a popular children’s rhyme

In spin–/ De Bocht Gaat in,–/ Ult sput–/ De boct gaat uit

In, spider, in goes the turn/curve–/; out,–/ Out goes the turn/curve

Finding no way to explain the curious behavior, the English described the act as being “Double Dutch.” Thereby cementing the phrase in unfavorable origins and bringing the sports origins into an unspoken corner in history. As a result, Double-Dutch got its named out of unflattering definitions, but has since lost that connection to the past.

As for the children of the Netherlands, the rhymes and the rope-skipping served to reinforce their Dutch identity in a new and unfamiliar world. In this classic immigrant story, Double-Dutch grew against enmity and prejudice and into the embrace and activity of every American son and Daughter of the 20th Century.

[Edin, Janin, Jim] Via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.00
[Edin, Janin, Jim] Via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.00

Both physically engaging and easy to learn, Double-Dutch has implemented itself into American history as a staple of urban culture. Athletes and middle-schoolers alike can thank the Dutch for bringing the act of rope-skipping to the states. The sport sure has grown out of its “gibberish” label and has become more of a metaphor for unity and acceptance.

Take a moment to visit any middle or elementary school, any park or YMCA, and any clubhouse or front yard, and you will find children rhyming and skipping all across the United States. In every Neighborhood and on every summer day children of all ages would have at some point in life met with a faithful encounter with Double-Dutch.

With over hundreds of competitive and recreational Double-Dutch clubs and teams clubs and teams, it’s safe to say that We’ve openly adopted this strange and foreign activity.

So much so that grew alongside some prohibitive undertones. Openly accepted to all, but somewhat limited by a standard/conventional image of it being a child’s sport or plaything. Is there nothing to learn about the collaborative nature of the game?

Consider this scene from a popular children’s film

For one thing, this is but a taste of the energy and vibrancy one will find in many east coast double-dutch competitions. But what of the movie itself?

Many of you may remember this well-known Disney channel movie starring the then immensely popular Corbin Bleu. Our protagonist is caught in an internal struggle between feeling of duty towards his family and legacy against the thrill and allure of skipping rope. It’s a story about tolerance, love, and transforming your horizons.

Finding no way to tell both his father or his neighborhood, he practices and plays Double-Dutch in secrecy, until he finds himself in the finals of a well-advertised and competitive Double Dutch Tournament. Coincidently, his team faces none other than

The Dutch Dragons~

This is a story of someone finding their place in a society so well pronounced by its norms and prescriptions. A story many of us are likely to relate to. But this is also a story so much more than that.

It’s a film that asks us to find the value in willingly accepting another person’s culture. The reward and growth one achieves through a commitment to participating and engagement. In a community full of diversity and multiculturalism, is it ever a good idea to avert and push away. What about our community. Our Rutgers Community? Aren’t we pretty much a Double Dutch Community ourselves. One does not simply skip over two ropes alone. In order to move and push yourselves to the point of growth and milestones, we need our team players.

What Double Dutch promotes is Tolerance and Acceptance.

And is this not the cornerstone of our Rutgers Community !

Truly, this is greatest lesson we must have learned through our “low-land” counterparts.

Double Dutch

From the mockery of the game, to its overwhelming acceptance, Double Dutch is but one example of a history of shared and interwoven American and Netherlandian companionship.

And that is the heart of it.

So next time you see someone playing double-dutch- Jump In

That is the true purpose of the game!


Alexander Lopez-Perez is a Sophomore at Rutgers University. Inspired by reading stories to children and their pets, he is currently studying English and Education in the School of Arts and Sciences . A fan of Frozen Bananas.

Works Cited Continue reading “America’s First Rope-Skippers”

Dutch Influence in Girl in White with Cherries by Micah William

DcoetzeeBot via Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0
DcoetzeeBot via Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Post by: Megan Johnston, Amy Barenboim, and Sabrina Piraneque Section 4

Physical Description: The painting Girl in White with Cherries by Micah Williams is a still-life portrait of a young girl. The girl is dressed in white, white many frills, has rosy cheeks and is carrying a basket of cherries. She is placing some cherries on plate, which is laid on the surface of a wooden chair. The girl appears to have a small smile, and is staring directly at the viewer of the painting.


The Zimmerli Arts Museum

loading map - please wait...

The Zimmerli Arts Museum 40.499916, -74.445943

           Girl in White with Cherries, an oil on canvas painting, is currently located in the Zimmerli Arts Museum on the Rutgers University New Brunswick campus. The painting can be found in the American Art Wing gallery of the museum. Furthermore, it is located in the Zimmerli due to the fact it was a gift by Anna I. Morgan. The painting was done by Micah Williams, an American artist who worked in the Raritan Valley region, in 1831, a few years before his death in 1837. Williams spent most of his life in New Brunswick traveling from house to house drawing portraits of the middle-class and elite. His latter years, 1829 to 1833, he spent in New York City continuing his passion for painting.

         Lots of Dutch influence can be found when examining Girl in White with Cherries. Dutch portraiture is characterized by a showcase of wealth, while the subject is performing an act usually in a domestic situation. For example, a self-portrait of Rembrandt depicts him reading. The Rembrandt print of Cornelis Anslo that we viewed in the Zimmerli depicted him in the midst of speaking, surrounded by books in his home to signify erudition, and in opulent dress with a gold chain. The performance of a task in conjunction with wealth works to emphasize that despite their wealth, inherently the Dutch were humble. Girl in White with Cherries contains all the attributes of Dutch portraiture. The subject’s clothes are obviously of wealth, with beautiful and intricate lace, and she is holding cherries by what looks to be a chair in her home. The white of her dress also portrays her innocence and youth, something the parents of the subject would most likely want to be acknowledged having her portrait made at a young age. The rosy cheeks of the girl can also signify this youth. Rembrandt and other Dutch artists also focused on portraying personality through facial expressions. The girl has a small smile, almost mischievous, which highlights her youth as well. Dutch portraiture revolved around highlighting the positive and desirable aspects of the subject, something Micah Williams surely did in this portrait.

Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. “Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century.”National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2016

Gorce, Tammy La. “Mysteries of an Unusual Traveling Salesman.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 July 2013. Web. 09 Apr. 2016.

“Dutch Realist Genre Painting.” Dutch Realist School of Genre Painting. Encyclopedia of Art, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2016.

Return to home page.