Robert Schoone-Jongen

Robert Schoone-Jongen


  • B.A., History, Calvin College
  • M.A., European History, University of Kentucky
  • M.A., U.S. History, University of Delaware
  • Ph.D., major field: 19th century U.S. social history, minor field: 19th century Western European social history, University of Delaware


Bob Schoone-Jongen, who taught high school history for 27 years before coming to Calvin, is the advisor for secondary education in history and social studies. He co-directed the 2012 NEH Summer Institute for Teachers, “American Frontiers in Global Perspective.” 

"My hobbies are stamp collecting (Central Europe and the British Empire), the Minnesota Twins, and railroads. I am designing a new model railroad layout and ride trains as often as possible. I enjoy watching old television shows and attending the performances of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and Grand Rapids Opera Company. I attend Calvin Christian Reformed Church and sing in the choir when I can." 


Academic interests

There are three historical themes that Professor Schoone-Jongen finds fascinating: human migration patterns, the definitions people give themselves and place upon others, and the manner in which events are interpreted both at the moment and after the fact. The specific historical contexts upon which he concentrates are immigration to the United States through 1920, the American presidency, and the impact of religion on everyday lives.

Though retired, Dr. Schoone-Jongen continues to study and teach.  This year he will be teaching a CALL class, “Presidential Character?” at Calvin and another class for the OLLI program at Aquinas College.  He will be a fellow at the Van Raalte Institute at Hope College where he will be working on a history of Dutch immigration to the Paterson, New Jersey area.  And he is slated to be the keynote speaker for the next June’s biennial conference of the Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies.

Bob Schoone-Jongen continues to spend time researching and editing a biography of Theodore F. Koch, a Dutch American real estate promoter who used capital from German and Dutch investors to found farm communities among Dutch Calvinists, Swedish and Danish Lutherans, and German Catholics in Minnesota and Texas between 1885 and 1920. During his sabbatical semester in 2012 he visited archives in the Netherlands, Germany, Texas, Illinois, and Minnesota and traveled to Koch's European homes and the sites of his American colonies. He also continues to research Dutch immigration to New Jersey since 1850 and has given presentations on the topic to the department colloquium, church groups, and an academic conference.

Read Bob Schoone-Jongen's posts on Historical Horizons, the history department blog.



"Religion in Riverside: Two Churches and Two Dutch Identities in One Neighborhood (1880-1920)." The Castle Genie. Newsletter of the Passaic County New Jersey Historical Society Geneology Club (Summer, 2011): 1-6.

“Dateline Orange City, Iowa: De Volksvriend and the Creation of Dutch American Community in the Midwest, 1874-1951.”  The Annals of Iowa 69 (2010): 308-331.

“There Was Work in the Valley: Dutch Immigration to New Jersey, 1850-1920.” Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis 10 (2010): 56-81.

"St. Thomas's Episcopal Church, Newark, Delaware: The Building and the Symbol, 1842-1957." Delaware History 33 (2010): 1-22.

Book Chapters and Essays

"Fighting at the Borders: Dutch Americans and the Patterson Silk Strike of 1913." In Across Borders: Dutch Migration to North America and Australia, edited by Jacob N. Nyenhuis, Suzanne M. Sinke, and Robert P. Swierenga. Holland, MI: VanRaalte Press, 2010: 199-209.

“De Volksvriend and Dutch American Connections.” In Dutch-American Arts and Letters in Historical Perspectives, edited by Robert P. Swierenga, Jacob E. Nyenhuis, Nella Kennedy. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2008: 183-191.

“Churches Bigger Than Windmills: Religion and Dutchness in Minnesota (1885-1928)." In Going Dutch: Holland in America, 1609-2009, edited by Joyce D. Goodfellow. Amsterdam: Brill, 2008: 157-78.

“Classis Minnkota,” written for the Christian Reformed Church’s 150th anniversary celebration held in Edgerton, Minnesota on June 3, 2007.

Book Reviews

Janet Sjaarda Sheeres, Son of Secession: Douwe J. Vander Werp. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2006 for Michigan Historical Review.

George Harinck and Hans Krabbendam, eds., Morsels in the Melting Pot: The Persistence of Dutch Immigrant Communities in North America. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2006 for Fides et Historia (Spring 2007).


“Current Events: The News as Lesson Planner,” “Simulations: Games That Teach,” “Geography.” B. J. Haan Education Conference, Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, March 15-16, 2007.

“So What’s Happening in Platte?: How De Volksvriend Maintained Dutch-American Connections” presented at the meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies at Hope College on June 1-2, 2007.


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