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De Jong Family papers

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0906
The De Jong family papers date from 1852-2011 and measure 9 linear feet. They are organized into nine series: Jan (John) and Trentje (Katherine) De Jong; Jeanette De Jong; Henry and Lorraine De Jong; Bernard and Winifred De Jong; Eunice Florence De Jong; Correspondence of Katherine, Eunice, and Jeanette De Jong; Correspondence of Eunice and Jeanette De Jong; Artifacts; and Audiovisual. The Jan (John) and Trentje (Katherine) De Jong series dates from 1915-1996 and includes material on their son Frederick (Fritz) De Jong, including his high school papers and condolence cards sent to the family after his death in 1942. The series also includes condolences sent after John and Katherine's own deaths. Correspondence from John and Katherine's grandchildren (principally Mary and John, as well as Marc, Linda, and Karen) describes the children’s daily school life, sometimes accompanied by a performance program or school document. Letters from son Bernard offer comfort following Frederick's death, and telegrams from son Henry chart his movements as an army private. Photographs and other memorabilia complete the series. The Jeanette De Jong series dates from 1979-2004 and includes cards and correspondence from Jeanette De Jong's family, the program from her funeral (as well as an audiotape of the funeral), and photographs. The Henry and Lorraine De Jong series dates from 1852-2007 and includes correspondence, yearbooks, scrapbooks, diaries, photographs, and newspaper clippings. While Henry De Jong is the focus of a few of the documents, this series primarily consists of material from Lorraine Schol De Jong. Her scrapbooks chronicle her education as a young singer and her eventual work as choir director for Sheldon High School, as well as her later work teaching refugees from Laos. Diaries record her daily life with Henry De Jong, including weather, household chores, her mother’s health, and her reflections on her marriage. Completing the series is an album of Lorraine Schol De Jong’s Dutch ancestors, dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. The Bernard and Winifred De Jong series dates from 1935-2009 and is comprised of correspondence, photographs, and family memorabilia for Bernard and Winifred De Jong as well as their children. The series includes records of Bernard De Jong's enlistment in and honorable discharge from the armed forces, as well as letters he received from fellow servicemen during his trip home to visit his brother, Frederick, as the latter suffered from the illness that eventually killed him. Also included are letters home from Bernard and Winifred's son John, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Memorial documents for Bernard, Winifred, and their son John complete the series. The Eunice Florence De Jong series dates from 1915-2011. Central to this series is collected correspondence between Eunice and her extended family. Especially notable are the faxes exchanged between Eunice and her sister Joanne, as well as Joanne's children, as Joanne struggled with ALS and her family attempted to find appropriate in-home care. The series also includes autograph books from Eunice's youth, collected newspaper articles on topics as varied as health and cats, and materials related to her family's Dutch heritage. The Correspondence of Katherine, Eunice, and Jeanette De Jong series dates from 1965-1979 and contains letters and cards from Katherine’s grandchildren (Eunice and Jeanette’s nieces and nephews), primarily John De Jong and Mary De Jong Gantz. The correspondence discusses weather and health, as well as the school and career progress of the grandchildren as they advanced from the University to the workforce. The Correspondence of Eunice and Jeanette De Jong series dates from 1968-2002 and is comprised of letters and cards from family and friends. Early correspondence in this series is addressed to Katherine as well as Eunice and Jeanette, and correspondence continues beyond Katherine’s death, at which point it is addressed to Eunice and Jeanette alone. Much of the correspondence comes from Eunice and Jeanette’s nieces and nephews, and, eventually, those nieces’ and nephews’ children. The Artifacts series is comprised of the family’s personal items and gifts, including Winifred De Jong’s wallet, a cap made for Eunice De Jong by her sister Jeanette, John De Jong’s baby shoes, and a set of handkerchiefs given as gifts. Also included is a crocheted angel, a maypole, a Christmas ornament, a day book, and a fan used during church services. The Audiovisual series dates from 1972 to 1984, and includes recordings of music, poems, and church services. The languages used on these recordings include both English and Dutch.

Dates

  • 1852-2011

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Extent

9.00 linear feet

Abstract

Dutch immigrants who settled in Iowa in the 1910s, and four generations of their descendants.

Biographical / Historical

Jan (John) De Jong was born 1884 in Oudemirdum, Friesland, Holland. His wife, Trentje (Katherine) Beuckens, was born in 1885 in Wyckel, Friesland, Holland. The two were married in 1912 and relocated to Boyden, Iowa. Their six children were Henry, Jeanette, Bernard, Frederick, Eunice (Eunice's twin died at birth), and Joanne. Their youngest son, Frederick (Fritz) died young of rheumatic heart disease in 1942. John De Jong worked in building and contracting, and died in 1965 at eighty-one. Trentje died in 1978 at ninety-three. The De Jongs' oldest son, Henry (b 1913) attended Boyden Christian School and Boyden Public School, and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in dentistry. He served in the U.S. Cavalry from 1940-1942. Lorraine Schol (b 1914) grew up in Little Rock, Iowa, studied music at Drake University, and continued graduate study at the University of Idaho and the University of Washington. She taught school near Little Rock and in Sheldon, Iowa. De Jong and Schol married in 1952, and the couple lived in George Iowa, where Henry practiced dentistry and Lorraine was a choir director and singer. Henry died in 2002 at eighty-nine. Lorraine died in 2007 at ninety-two. The De Jongs' second child, Jeanette, was born in 1914 in Boyden. She attended Boyden Christian School and Boyden Public School. She worked as a housekeeper, a drug store clerk, a hospital cook, and a bookkeeper. She lived with her parents and her sister Eunice during her adult life. She died in 2004 at ninety. The De Jongs' third child, Bernard, was born in 1918 in Boyden. He graduated from Boyden High School and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942. After being honorably discharged in 1946, he earned a bachelor's degree in accounting at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He married Winifred Vanden Bosch in 1946. Bosch was previously married to Bernard's younger brother, Frederick, who died four years earlier. Bernard (Bernie) and Winifred (Wyn) had three children: Mary, John, and Marc. Mary attended Roosevelt High School and studied nursing as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Iowa, where she continued to work as a nurse and lecturer after completing her degree. Mary De Jong married Bruce Gantz, with whom she had three children (Ellen, Jessica, and Jay) and five grandchildren. John De Jong (b 1952) graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines and served in the Navy from 1969-1973, sending letters home from Vietnam. He met Jean Thomas in 1979, and the two were together for many years before marrying in 2012 in Lubbock, Texas. He died in 2012 at sixty-two. Bernard and Winifred’s third son, Marc, was born in 1952 and later lived with his wife Jan in Urbandale, Iowa. The De Jongs' fifth child, Eunice, was born in 1923. Eunice De Jong attended Boyden Public High School. She worked at Boyden Produce, and later at Boyden Postal Service until her retirement. She lived with her parents and her sister Jeanette during her adult life, and died in 2012 at age eighty-nine. The De Jongs' sixth and youngest child, Joanne, was born in 1927. As an adult, she lived in California with her husband Tenas De Jong (no relation) and their children Linda, Karen, David, and Paul. Joanne and Tenas De Jong also had five grandchildren: Teresa and Austin (born to Linda and Richard Cicconi) and Kate, Jessica, and Matt (born to Karen and Frank Allen). Joanne De Jong was diagnosed with ALS later in life, and died in 2005.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 751) were donated by Mary Gantz in 2013.

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

Contact:
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5068
319-335-5900 (Fax)