Reopening Update

The Jacob Leisler Institute is carefully adhering to State guidelines regarding reopening for the New York State Capital region. While we remain closed to the public for the immediate future, the staff will conduct research at the office for archival and genealogical queries for its customary fee. 

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Passing of Institute Benefactor R. J. Jippe Hiemstra

A portrait of Jippe Hiemstra.

It is with deep sorrow that we note the passing of Jacob Leisler Institute benefactor R. J. Jippe Hiemstra at his home in Buskirk, New York, on April 12, 2020, of pneumonia and congestive heart failure. Mr. Hiemstra was the husband of Leisler Institute Trustee and Board Secretary Annette van Rooy. He was born on October 3, 1941, in De Bilt, The Netherlands, and moved to New York in 1976 to serve as director and president of Oremco, Inc., a joint venture between Dutch steel producer Hoogovens and British Steel. He became actively interested in New York’s Dutch colonial period and its legacy. He joined the New Netherland Institute’s board of trustees in 2007 and served as its president from 2013 until his death. For his role in helping to promote Dutch culture in the United States and abroad, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands bestowed upon him the honor of Membership of the Order of Oranje Nassau on April 30, 2005. The trustees and staff of the Jacob Leisler Institute extend our sympathies to Mr. Hiemstra’s wife, Annette, and his family and friends.

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COVID-19 Update

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the Jacob Leisler Institute office will continue to operate though in remote mode. We will remain accessible through email ( and phone (518-567-6490). As such pandemics were commonplace in the early modern era, let’s remember that this one too will pass just as they did. In the meantime, remain careful and healthy, and take care of those around you.

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Spring Interns

The Jacob Leisler Institute is delighted to have two interns join the team this semester.

Welcome to Columbia-Greene Community College student Vincent DeMarco and SUNY New-Paltz student Eric Knapp.

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Ruth Piwonka Honored

Front cover of the book A Visible Heritage: A History in Art and Architecture by Ruth Piwonka and Roderic Blackburn.

Municipal historian for the village and town of Kinderhook, and treasurer of the Jacob Leisler Institute, Ruth Piwonka is this year’s recipient of the Martha Washington Woman of History Award. The award, given by the Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, honors a woman who has made significant contributions to the history of the Hudson Valley. The award presentation will be on March 22, at the site in Newburgh.

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Opening Reception

The History of the Census in Hudson
Hudson Area Library
51 N 5th St., Hudson, NY.
Thursday, February 6

Everyone is invited to the opening reception of ‘The History of the Census in Hudson’ exhibition curated by the Hudson Area Library and the Jacob Leisler Institute for the Study of Early New York History, for a shared viewing and conversation with refreshments. 

Since ancient times, societies have kept counts of their populations for various purposes. This exhibit examines the United States federal censuses that have been taken since 1790, the New York State censuses taken since 1825, colonial censuses that precede the American revolution, and the upcoming 2020 federal census. Focusing on Hudson, from its founding and even earlier times, the exhibition includes original 1845 census books for the City, displayed alongside maps, documents and images that illuminate the area’s growth and history. Additional information, regarding the 2020 census and its importance to Hudson and its inhabitants will also be on view.

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2020 Lecture Series

On January 9, Dr. David W. Voorhees delivered the first lecture of the 2020 series in the Hudson Area Library’s History Room. His topic, colonial census enumerations in what is now Columbia County, brought out many interested local residents.

The next lecture, given by New Netherland Institute Director Stephen McErleane, will be on Thursday, April 9.

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Karlijn Waterman Visits

Karlijn Waterman and David Voorhees in the office of the Leisler Institute examining papers from Karlijn's late husband Kees.

The Jacob Leisler Institute was delighted yesterday to host Karlijn Waterman, wife of late trustee Kees-Jan Waterman, who donated to the Institute her husband’s extensive collection of materials relating to colonial European-Algonquian and Iroquoian relations in New York and New Jersey. Ms. Waterman, Coordinator of Dutch as a Foreign Language at Nederlandse Taalunie, brought with her several more of her late husband’s files to be added to the Institute’s collections.

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Collaboration with Basel University

"Sandgrube," house built in Basel, Switzerland, in 1746 as the home of Achilles Leissler.

“Sandgrube,” built in Basel, Switzerland, in 1746 as the home of Achilles Leissler (1723-1784), became this month the new location of the European Global Studies Institute in Basel. Achilles Leisler was a grandson of Jacob Leisler’s brother Franz Leisler. The Jacob Leisler Institute and the Europainstitut of Basel University are now collaborating in recovering the global connections of the Leisler family.

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A standing-room only crowd for the latest in the Lecture Series

A crowded room in close attention as Tim Bowman presents his lecture.
“Slavery and Dutch – Palatine Farmers: How did middle class farmers in Colonial New York interact with slavery?” at the Hudson Area Library, Thursday, September 12, 2019.

Thank You to Travis Bowman for an illuminating lecture, to Tina Lesem for organizing it, to the Hudson Area Library for hosting, and to everyone in the standing-room only crowd for attending.

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