This is one of the most important collections of immigrant letters relating to the midwestern frontier known to exist.
The letters were penned by religious dissenters from the Netherlands Reformed Church in an exchange from the 1840s to the 1870s that flowed back and forth between family members who remained in the homeland and those who colonized Iowa in the mid-nineteenth century. The missives report family and church news, economic and political conditions, and the joys and sorrows of everyday life. At a deeper level, they portray the innermost feelings and faith struggles of the devout Netherlanders as they sought to understand the will of God in the face of their sufferings and afflictions, whether in the homeland or in distant America. Just as immigration changed the letter writers, so eavesdropping on their conversation will change readers today, helping them step back in time and become Iowa pioneers themselves.