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

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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.

Old and Contemporary Dutch Legal Codes and Their Effects on US Law

By Saba Yasmin, Bassam Aly, Jordan Plaut – Section 4


This post will lay out the history of Dutch law, look at legal traditions in the United States that have descended from the Dutch tradition of civil codes, and, finally, take a look at similarities between contemporary Dutch and American law.

Old Dutch Law

Roman-Dutch Law is broken up into four subcategories, Germanic, the Frankish, Feudal, and the Republican.  Germanic spans from the beginning of German history to the ascension of the Clovis. The Frankish era came to an end in 1581 with the establishment of the Declaration of Dutch Independence. The third period continues throughout 1806 in which Louis Bonaparte became the King of the Dutch lands. Lastly, the fourth period is recognized simply because of the influences that precede it.  The Declaration of Dutch Independence, brought forward prominently the great idea that rulers are responsible to the people and can be deposed by them. The growth of this idea is center of the development of constitutional and republican government.

Old Law derives from several sources. They are privileges granted by Counts of Holland and other feudal superiors, judicial decisions, legal treatises, court ordinances, and provisional laws. An important similarity between Old Dutch law and Modern Western law is the carried significance of Judicial Decisions. For example, many privacy laws are not explicitly granted within the US constitution but, have nevertheless, been integrated into modern law; Similarly, there were judicial decisions within Old Dutch Law that were implicitly adopted.

The History of the Roman-Dutch Law Author(s): R. W. Lee Source: Journal of the Society of Comparative Legislation, Vol. 10, No. 2 (1910), pp. 261- 268 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law Stable URL:

Legal Traditions in United States Adopted from Our Dutch Ancestry

The Dutch had, and still have, a civil law system. A civil law system is one in which statutes and codes are designed to cover all eventualities and judges have a more limited role and are only supposed to apply the law to the case at hand (what we hear in the United States refer to as mechanical jurisprudence).

A school of thought that follows this tradition is Textualism. Textualism is a school of thought in which the interpretation of the Constitution should not squarely belong to the courts but that politics, especially legislative bodies, are far more appropriate sources of Constitutional authority. Textualism refers to the documents that are regarded as essential to the country and its founding, such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Those who adhere to this school of thought, including the late Justice Antonin Scalia, believe these texts should be regarded as the final word on the law and they should be followed to the letter. It does not allow for the interpretation of the law by the courts. Adherents to textualism believe that the law can only be interpreted one way and mechanically applied to each situation. Whether or not this is true is another matter but the school of thought derives its ideology from civil law tradition.

A Matter of Interpretation by Antonin Scalia

Similarities between contemporary Dutch and American Law

Both went through a process of going from common law to civil law

Idea of Stare Decisis– The idea that precedent in the court (i.e documented court decision) is referred to and/or upheld in similar cases. This is a transition to a civil law system.

The U.S. has the Uniform Commercial Code- a written set of laws that provide legal rules and regulations governing commercial or business dealings and transactions. It has been accepted by all 50 states with slight variations among the states.

The Jans Martense Schenck House

James Williams, Jonathan DiPippa, Anika Kumar (Section 04)

“The Schenck House, Avenue U between East Sixty-third and sixty-fourth Streets, is considered one of the oldest houses in New York City, the original section having been built in 1656. A white house with green shutters and red brick chimneys, it stands in a little hollow back of Public School 236, surrounded by old pine trees. Its Dutch origins are evident in the small twelve-paned windows and early round-end shingles. The slender-pillared front porch formed by an overhanging roof is an eighteenth-century addition.”

From the (1939) WPA Guide to New York City

The original house as it stood in the 17th century.
Re-creation of the house in the Brooklyn Museum.

       This landmark provides a real-life recreation of traditional Dutch architecture of the Colonial period. Those interested in Dutch history can see a rebuilt version of the house inside the Brooklyn Museum.

        Schenck House does not have an specific connection to Rutgers history. However, some of the architecture of the house resembles the Kirkpatrick Church located on College Avenue. The high, rounded ceilings found in the are similar to the high roof of the house, which give both a unique, Dutch aspect. The window panes are also common of Dutch architecture, and was also found as a part of the church.

        We picked this object because it is one of the oldest Dutch landmarks in the United States. We found it to be interesting due to its portrayal of rural Dutch life (they lived in small farmhouses on large tracts of land). The house is also representative of the Brooklyn area of Flatlands, which is still heavily populated with people of Dutch descent. The family living in the house was one of the first of Dutch descent to settle there.

        The history associated with the house is interesting as well. Jan Martense Schenck arrived in New Netherlands in 1650 and bought the tract of land that the house stands on today from another man of Dutch descent, which simply shows how long the Dutch has had a presence in North America. The house was in place around 1676. The house was a part of the Schenck family for three generations. For the 275 years where it was originally located, it underwent many changes as tastes changed. When it was moved to the Brooklyn Museum in 1929, it was recreated to the Dutch colonial style it was originally. None of the original Dutch colonial furniture is known to have survived. The land in which the house once sat is now the site of elementary school P.S. 236.

Address of original location: 6302 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11234

Modern site of the Schenck House

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Modern site of the Schenck House 40.615851, -73.912663


Description of Artifact:

The house as it was originally built in 1676 was simple yet complex for its time. It was a two-room structure, and in the middle featured a chimney. The interior was composed of H-bents, which are simply cross-sectional templates that were the strongest of its time. But this also made it stand out from nearby English architecture, which were more box-like than bent. A kitchen was added around the 1790s while the chimney was removed, and in the early 1800s, a porch was also added. The last reconstruction changes before the house was relocated to the Brooklyn Museum took place around 1900.

Interior view of the house.

Works Cited:

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The Blawenburg Dutch Reformed Church

Image Credit:

The Blawenburg Reformed church is located in Montgomery Township, NJ at 452 County Road 518. The church was built in this location to accommodate the growing population of Dutch Reformed Church members in the Blawenburg area in the early nineteenth century. The Church was built in 1830 and the Dutch Reformed Church helped but the building into existence. The Blawenburg Reformed Church tells the story of the strong influence of the Dutch in central New Jersey in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Dutch population in this rural farm town was clearly large, as another Dutch Reformed Church existed in neighboring Harlingen only four miles away. Although this artifact is not related to Rutgers directly, our university did originally function as a seminary for this denomination, making it a possibility that some of the Blawenburg Reformed preachers received their instruction at Rutgers. This church actually has a personal connection to one of our group members, as her parents were married in the building, and this is just another example of the far-stretching influence of the Dutch in everyday American life. This church still has an active congregation currently, and its historical value is appreciated by the congregants. Church member, Grace Terhune, said that the church is, “essential to understanding Blawenburg and its history”, and that it formed “the center of the town” along with the schoolhouse. Indeed, this landmark, still in use, is rich in historical significance and important in revealing the story of the Dutch in America.
The Blawenburg Dutch Reformed Church has the design of a classic American chapel: a large, wooden building with a gabled roof and a gorgeous steeple. The structure that stands today is not quite the one raised in three days back in 1830 – several additions have been added since its original construction. In 1860 the pulpit was moved 20 feet to allow more room for the growing congregation. In the same decade, a bell was donated and a pipe organ was added. In the 1890s the church was electrified and the ceiling was renovated. An education wing was added in the 1950s. Despite all of these renovations, sitting in one of the wooden pews of the church one still gets the sense that they are a part of history: the congregation has done a wonderful job preserving the original architecture, and every square inch of the building has a bit of history behind it.

Blawenburg Reformed Church

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Blawenburg Reformed Church 40.408382, -74.699293

David Kornmehl, Kyle Silver, Erin Kelly -Section 04


“Interview 2.” Interview by James Misek. Blawenburg Reformed Church. N.p., n.d. Web.

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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

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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.

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The Architecture of the Kirkpatrick Chapel

By, John, Sanan, Andrew

The Kirkpatrick Chapel was built in memory of Sophia Astley Kirkpatrick, wife of Littleton Kirkpatrick, trustee of Rutgers College. Henry Hardenburgh was the designer of the chapel, Grandson of the first President of Rutgers Jacob Hardenburgh. He went on to have a successful building career, and this was at the forefront of it. The Chapel was first designed to be used as both a library and for education and for worshipping purposes, until another Dutch building was built, Voorhees Hall, and the Chapel expanded it religious space in full. In 1916 around the 150th anniversary Henry Hardenburgh made expansions and renovations to further accommodate Rutgers student worship. He added a new chancel, two properly designed organ chambers, and a new stained glass window named, “Jesus, the teacher of ages” in memory of the first Rutgers President. The Chapel may be in America, but it is certainly Dutch, not just for the historical reasons but especially for its looks.

When we begin to look specifically at the architecture of the Kirkpatrick Chapel, we see the many similarities it has with Churches in The Netherlands. The Kirkpatrick Chapel features a design of tall and high center with two smaller triangles supporting it. This other Church, Grote of St Laurenskerk Rotterdam, was constructed in the Netherlands hundreds of years before the Kirkpatrick Chapel, but still features the same design. A high and tall center, with smaller triangles on the side supporting it. Both churches also include windows that are  elongated in an ovular fashion. The Grote of St Laurenskerk Rotterdam was the first stone Church constructed in the Netherlands. The Kirkpatrick Chapel was also constructed from the finest brownstone.

grote of st laurenskerk rotterdam
grote of St Laurenskerk Rotterdam,

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grote of St Laurenskerk Rotterdam, 51.921435, 4.484906

As there are Dutch chapels with similar exteriors as that of the Kirkpatrick Chapel in New Jersey, there are also Dutch chapels with almost identical interiors as that of the Kirkpatrick Chapel as well. An example of such a chapel is the Dimnent Chapel located in Holland. Like many Dutch chapels and holy areas, there are large rows of seats for subscribed worshipers, although what significantly links the interiors of the Dimnent Chapel and the Kirkpatrick Chapel, are the large stained glass windows and the tent-like architectural design of both chapels. In terms of the windows, both chapels sport numerous stain glass windows – one large window in the front, and numerous smaller ones on the sides, all with significant religious or important figures designed into them. The general interior shape of both chapels are similar as well, as both chapels are substantially smaller in size than most Dutch chapels, with inclined ceilings and beams. Even the ceiling framing and support are visually linked, as in both chapels, they are wooden, and tread the direction of the ceiling to the side walls. Although there are many similarities between the interior designs of the Dimnent Chapel and the Kirkpatrick Chapel, it is evidently apparent that the Kirkpatrick Chapel contains large white beams used to support the weight of the ceiling and the secondary wall linings while the Dimnent Chapel, does not.

dimnent chapel

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dimnent chapel 48.216038, 16.378984

Works Cited