Albertus van Raalte
Albertus Christiaan van Raalte (October 17, 1811, Wanneperveen, Netherlands – July 27, 1876, Holland, Michigan) was a 19th-century Dutch Reformed clergyman. Van Raalte was first ordained in the Secession Church in 1836, before moving to the United States, and was eventually ordained in the Reformed Church in America. When he visited the lower peninsula of Michigan, he found the area to be what he believed to be ideal for farming, the occupation of many in the Netherlands who were being burdened by high taxes and very little land, so little that farmers could no longer divide their land between their sons as an inheritance. Van Raalte sent home a handbill with such glowing descriptions of the area that many farmers' sons emigrated, cleared the heavily wooded land and found the farming to be fruitful. Van Raalte himself was the spiritual leader for the Protestant, Reformed, Dutch immigrants who founded the city of Holland, Michigan in 1846 and played an important role in establishing the school that would become Hope College.
Dominee (Reverend) van Raalte's personal papers are housed at the Heritage Hall Archives of Calvin College.