The Realm of Ghosts: Sickness to Death in the Early Holland Colony

Jan Peter Verhave


While at the Van Raalte Institute, Dr. Jan Peter Verhave is doing research on the state of health of the early Dutch immigrants and their vulnerability to certain diseases, as derived from reports on their physical well-being in letters to family and friends in the Netherlands. Particularly during the first few years the settlers suffered a lot, and the poor living conditions triggered some fatal diseases. Epidemic dis eases came, as well as the naturalization trial: the Michigan ague. Dr. Verhave is a microbiologist at the Radboud University Medical Centre of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and is an authority on the history of malaria and tropical diseases. In addition, he has an interest in religious and social matters of nineteenth century Netherlands and has dug up a collection of letters to immigrants in Iowa, which recently appeared in Iowa Letters (2004). He has published a book and significant articles on church h istory and on the issue of religion and vaccination.