Archivist A.J.F. van Laer

VanLaerNews400.jpgA.J.F. van Laer is best known for his translations of the Colonial Manuscripts, work done before the disastrous State Library fire of 1911. The first four volumes of the New York Historical Manuscript series, now called New Netherland Documents, still stand as a model translation of seventeenth-century Dutch. Van Laer accomplished this work during his tenure as Keeper of Manuscripts at the New York State Library. Following the fire, however, Van Laer suspended his translations of these archival records of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. The trauma of the fire, during which he witnessed the destruction of over two million books and damage to the Colonial manuscripts, seemed to contain his drive to provide historians with reliable translations. It would be almost a decade before he would take up the translator's pen again.

About the New Netherland Institute

For over three decades, NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. More


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By supporting NNI you help increase awareness of the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland and its legacy in America.