Carrots: Selectively Bred From the Land of Orange

By William Radin, Rashi Rattan, Ethan Chiang (Section 2)


Jeremy Keith via Flickr CC by 2.0

The carrot is a (usually) orange vegetable that is a staple in many cuisines around the world. They are grown in the ground and cultivated for their taproots, the well known orange vegetable. The leaves on the top of the carrot are not usually eaten, and are discarded when carrots are eaten.

Here is only one example of the many farms that grow carrots here in New Jersey:

Carrot Farm

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Carrot Farm 39.580075, -74.934286

Carrots today are one of the main vegetables eaten in American cuisine. Many salads, soups, as well as healthy snacks include these orange vegetables. The United States is the fourth largest producer of carrots in the world. Many places all over the nation grow carrots, including here in New Jersey. However, a closer look at the history of carrots shows a surprising Dutch influence.

The most surprising fact to many people is that carrots actually come in all different colors, from purple to yellow to red to white! While the carrot most likely originated in Central Asia, it made its way both West and East. While Eastern carrots were purple, slowly the yellow rooted carrot made its way to Europe by the 13th century.

The Dutch were the ones to selectively breed the orange carrot. Modern genetic studies show that they took the yellow rooted carrot and over generations, created an orange carrot that was healthier and less bitter. Despite common folklore, the carrot was not orange to honor the Dutch House of Orange, but rather was made the official Dutch vegetable afterwards.

With the advantages of the orange carrot over the other hues of carrots, the orange carrot the sole type of carrot planted in Europe. As part of the Colombian Exchange, the carrot made its way to the New World aboard Spanish, English, and Dutch ships. Today, the importance of the carrot as a crop is unprecedented, and it continues to be a healthy snack for all.

We chose this topic because very few people think about the history of their food, and we were surprised to see that such a common crop actually had Dutch roots. The domestication of the carrot is only one of the accomplishments of the Dutch that go unnoticed, yet it is a case of agricultural advancement for the time period, once again showing that the Dutch managed to become a world power in such a short time!

Works Cited:

The Journey of a VOC Duit

Amy Ho, Gabriel Duque, Joe Terzian, Meg Tsai, Snigdaa Sethuram

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The above pictured coin was found, buried in the ground, by a Rutgers student near the site of an old paper mill in Millburn, NJ, during one of his metal detecting trips. It is an original 1744 East India Company Duit, a copper coin equivalent to a modern penny. Its front (left) boasts the year and the VOC insignia, and the reverse (right) has the coat of arms of Holland, the coin’s place of mintage. These coins were also produced in Utrecht, Zeeland, and West Friesland; each province imprinted its respective coat of arms on the reverse of the coin, much like the unique insignias on the quarter here in the United States of America. Upon further inspection, this coin leads to a rich history of the family who owned the paper mill: ambitious immigrants with high hopes for their descendants.

Samuel Campbell was a Scottish immigrant who entered America with the intention of establishing a bookstore in New York City. The Campbells soon moved to New Jersey around 1785 to inhabit patch of land chartered by King Charles II, suitable for the construction of a paper mill, as well as a larger home for their growing family. The final location the Campbells chose was an area located in northern Elizabethtown (by the Newark mountains), due to its proximity to the Rahway River as well as its resemblance to Samuel’s native Scotland. Pictured below is a map of its location, as well as a modern-day photo of the plot of land they chose to build their home on, and a photo of the same location in 1899. This site is currently part of the South Mountain Reservation.

Samuel Campbell Home Site

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Samuel Campbell Home Site 40.736600, -74.306030


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Samuel built his paper mill across the road from his home, on the banks of the Rahway River.  One of the most important contracts for Samuel Campbell’s paper mill, also known as Thistle Mill, came from the U.S. Treasury Department, for the purpose of producing paper for banknotes during the Revolutionary War. His mill paved the way for the construction of even more mills in the area, and towns grew profitable around them as well. Much like the industrialization of towns leading to an increase in population and gross income much later in America, the creation of these paper mills set certain towns ahead of others. The township of Millburn itself owes its name to the Campbells—Samuel called his factory the “mill on the burn”, because “burn” means “stream” in Scottish terms, and the township adopted the name in 1857. Amazingly, the history of this coin is much richer than that of Samuel’s.

Samuel married Euphemia Duyckinck, a member of an old, well-established Dutch family. Her great-great-great-grandfather, Evert Duyckinck, emigrated to the now United States from Borkel, North Brabant, The Netherlands, sometime around 1646.  The family tree below traces Euphemia’s genealogy back to her great-great-great-grandfather.

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Immediately, he gained alliance with the Dutch Reformed Church in New York City, the very same church that established Rutgers University.  Evert’s descendants maintained this relation to the church, some even serving as ministers in the mid-1700’s, and may have even influenced the creation of our University. This devotion to the Dutch Church included Euphemia, who married Samuel in a Dutch church.

This information has lead us to believe that the Duit belonged to either Euphemia, or a member of her family, and must have been some sort of keepsake to this individual, as the coin would hold no value during the late 1700s when the Campbells lived in their home.

It is amazing how something as small and seemingly insignificant as a coin can tell a story that spans centuries, and it is truly a testament to the widespread and impactful influence of the Dutch on our lives and our University today.


Works Cited

Bidwell, John. American Paper Mills, 1690–1832. 5th ed. Hanover: Dartmouth College, 2013. Print.

“Evert Duyckinck.” Genealogical Society of Bergen County. Ed. Joseph Boyle. Nov. 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2016. <>.

Lampe, W. Owen. Millburn: Short Hills. Charleston: Arcadia, 1999. Print.

Meisner, Marian K. A History of Millburn Township. Millburn/Short Hills Historical Society, 2002. Millburn Library. Millburn Free Public Library, 3 Sept. 2004. Web. 1 Apr. 2016.<>.

Sym, Jonathan. “Fun Fact: How Did Millburn Get Its Name?” TAPinto. 21 Feb. 2016. Web. 1 Apr. 2016. <>.

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Vol. 23. New York: New York

Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1892. Ancestral Trackers. Web. 1 Apr. 2016.<>.

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On Dutch Literature and its Presence in America

by Marina Shimarova and Soo Jeong Hwang

Section 12

The week we were in the Netherlands was Boekenweek, a week dedicated to Dutch writing. The National Book Week is put together by the Foundation Collective Propaganda for Dutch Book. Each year, CPNB foundation hosts two writers to compose an essay and a gift.

SH: I was interested in this topic because I grew up with a Dutch character named Nijntje, or Miffy. I got interested in how much the Dutch literature was present in my life and wanted to look more into the topic.

MS: Literature is something that can reach across cultures in unexpected ways. As someone who grew up between two different cultures, I didn’t find many ways that the literature of the country where I was born overlapped with the literature of the United States. I was curious to find out if there was more in common between Dutch and American folklore due to their shared history.

Rip van Winkle” was written by American author Washington Irving, Scottish-English by heritage. The tale is set in a Dutch town in Catskills, New York, where the author had not visited before he wrote the story. The story was published in Irving’s The Sketchbook 1819 – 20 and is set in the time period before and after the American Revolution. It concerns the story of a man who goes up the Catskill Mountains and meets with people who are playing ninepins who offer him a drink. van Winkle falls asleep and wakes up twenty years later. He goes back to his town and finds that his wife has passed away, his children have grown up and, that the American Revolution has taken place. The people in the town are amused by the story he tells. The Sketchbook was published in New York by C. S. van Winkle.

Catskill, NY

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Catskill, NY 42.217310, -73.864573


Irving’s tale features a Dutch main character, which shows the influence of the Dutch on American history. Furthermore, the plot of “Rip van Winkle” is similar to that of a classic European fairy tale. Its plot is based off of one of Grimm’s fairy tales. Rip van Winkle resonates with us to this day. The storyline can be found in modern popular media. Examples include “The Rip Van Winkle Caper” in The Twilight Zone and “Rip Van Flintstone” in The Flintstones.

The flying Dutchman is a well known character in American folklore. According to the legend, the Dutchman, supposedly named Vanderdecken, was the captain of a ship trying to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. In the gale of a forceful storm, the captain refused the pleas of his crew and passengers to turn around to safety. Then, a ghostly figure appeared on board the ship, and condemned the captain to forever haunt the seas with a ghostly ship, as a punishment for his reckless behavior. Contrary to the name, the legend of the flying Dutchman originated in England, not the Netherlands. It was based on a 17th century Dutch sailor named Bernard Fokke, who was known for being able to travel from the Netherlands to Java with incredible speed.

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[The Flying Dutchman by Howard Pyle]

The Sandman, named Klaas Vaak in Dutch literature, is the basis for the American comic book series by Neil Gaiman. The character of the Sandman also appears in American films such as Dreamworks’ “Rise of the Guardians” and songs like “Enter Sandman” by the band Metallica.

In the literature of the Netherlands and other Northern and Central European countries, the Sandman is a man who sprinkles dust and sand in the eyes of children to make them go to sleep.

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[Cover of the Sandman comic books series]

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[Klaas Vaak]

Anne Frank’s diary was published as Het Achterhuis (The Secret Annex) in the Netherlands on June 25th, 1947. The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam became a museum in 1960 and Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was involved with the House and campaigned for human rights and respect until he died. It is read across the world today, including the U.S. as we educate people about World War II and the Holocaust. The resounding effects of honesty and human nature found in Anne’s diary is loved and respected by many people over the world.

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[The first edition of Anne’s diary]


Pierre M. Irving, The Life and Letters of Washington Irving, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1883, vol. 2, p. 176

Wright, Charlton, “The Phantom Ship; or, The Flying Dutchman,” Tales of the Horrible; or, The Book of Spirits (London: Charlton Wright, 1837), pp. 49-56.

Minnaard, Liesbeth (2009). New Germans, New Dutch: Literary Interventions. Amsterdam UP. p. 253. ISBN 9789089640284. Retrieved 10 April 2016.

Gaiman, Neil (w). “The Origin of the Comic You Are Now Holding (What It Is and How It Came to Be” Sandman 4 (April 1989)

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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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