This biographical profile features two people, Louis Kregel [ 1888-1939], the father and Robert Kregel [ 1919-2011] the son. The two were jointly involved in the religious book business named after them, Kregel Books, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grand Rapids, Michigan is quite often referred to as the religious book publishing capital of the United States, a designation that is difficult to argue with. Of the four nationally known religious book publishers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kregel Books, was the first book business to begin selling books there in 1909.
Louis Kregel arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan as a Dutch immigrant in the early 1900’s. In 1909, he saw a market for religious books in the western Michigan area for his fellow Dutch Americans. The Dutch had been settling in the western Michigan area since the first group of immigrants, under the leadership of Reverend Albertus Van Raalte, had arrived in Holland, Michigan in 1847. Since then many more Dutch immigrants had arrived, and the western Michigan area between Holland, Michigan and Grand Rapids, Michigan had become heavily populated with Dutch Americans. Since most of the Dutch immigrants were members of the Dutch Reformed Church or of one of its offshoots, and since many still spoke Dutch, there was a need for religious material in the Dutch language.
So, in 1909, Louis Kregel began importing Dutch language religious books from the Netherlands and started selling them to his fellow Dutch Americans. Initially, he sold the books from his home, but soon thereafter had to open a book store. He also quickly realized that the cost of the books was a problem for many people, and he would be able to sell a lot more books if he could lower the price. So he approached owners of religious books such as professors in seminaries and ministers of the various churches in the area and began buying used religious books, both in Dutch and in English, and offered them for sale to his clients for more reasonable prices. Eventually his used book business inventory exceeded his new book inventory.
Louis Kregel passed away at the rather young age of 49 years. Louis’ son, Robert Kregel, who was only 20 years old at the time, took over the business. Shortly after Robert took over the business, in 1949, the business expanded with the publication of classic reprints of older religious classics. The name of Kregel Books was then also changed to Kregel Publications. Following the influx of Latin Americans into the United States, Kregel Publications responded to their needs and opened a Spanish language division for publishing and printing of Spanish language religious books.
The other three religious book publishers in Grand Rapids, Michigan opened for business following the opening of Kregel Books in 1909. The first one was William B. Eerdmans Publishing, founded in 1911 by William B. Eerdmans and B. Sevensma, only two years following the opening of Kregel Books. The second one was Zondervan Publishing founded in 1931, by two nephews of William B. Eerdmans, Peter Zondervan and his brother Bernard Zondervan. And the third religious book publisher was Baker Book House, founded in 1939 by Herman Baker, a nephew of Louis Kregel. So the four religious book houses in Grand Rapids, Michigan were founded and, in their early stages, were controlled by just two Dutch American families.
The House of Zondervan, by James E. Ruark, Zondervan Publishing, 1981, 2006
Robert Kregel Awarded The Honorary Doctorate of Letters, http://www.cornerstone.edu/news/inside_cu/?news_ID=708
"Robert Kregel [1919-2011] Leaves Legacy on Christian Publishing Industry", Michael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service, http://lostbibletruth.blogspot.com/2011/07/
E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON; GOOGLE: Kindle Store Pegels
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS, CURRENT AND HISTORIC
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FIFTEEN PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE VAN BURENS, KOCH BROTHERS, VOORHEES AND OTHERS, 2015
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, 2015
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ALLIED EUROPE CAMPAIGN—1944/1945: TACTICAL MISTAKES, 2017
THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS: MEMOIRS, 2017
FRENCH REVOLUTION, NAPOLEON AND RUSSIAN WAR OF 1812, 2015