Journal Article

“It was very, very churchy”: Recollections of Older Dutch-Americans on Growing up in Holland, Michigan

Peter Ester

in The Oral History Review

Published on behalf of Oral History Association

Volume 35, issue 2, pages 117-138
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 0094-0798
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1533-8592 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ohr/ohn024
“It was very, very churchy”: Recollections of Older Dutch-Americans on Growing up in Holland, Michigan

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This article pictures the youth memories of older Dutch-Americans who grew up in the “Dutch enclave” of Holland, Michigan. This area is heavily populated by Dutch immigrants sharing traditional Calvinist religious values, norms, and beliefs. Findings are based on oral interviews among a sample of older respondents from the area. The study combines a generational approach with an oral history methodology. Results indicate that respondents cherish their formative years, their Dutch-American upbringing, and feel that their socialization in strict values, norms, and beliefs had lasting effects on their personal life course and life style. It is concluded that combining generational theory and the methodology of oral history opens very promising interdisciplinary perspectives.

Keywords: Dutch-Americans; ethnic identity; generation; oral history; religion

Journal Article.  11659 words. 

Subjects: Oral History

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