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Robert Schoone-JongenProf. Schoone-Jongen in the Twins dugout

Associate Professor, History

Office: Hiemenga Hall 483

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Educational background

B.A., History, Calvin College
M.A., European History, University of Kentucky
M.A., U.S. History, University of Delaware
Ph.D., major field: 19th century U.S. social history, minor field: 19th century Western European social history, University of Delaware

Research and professional interests

There are three historical themes that Prof. Schoone-Jongen finds fascinating: human migration patterns, the definitions people give themselves and place upon others, and the manner in which events are interpreted both at the moment and after the fact. The specific historical contexts upon which he concentrates are immigration to the United States through 1920, the American presidency, and the impact of religion on everyday lives.

Prof. Schoone-Jongen, who taught high school history for 27 years before coming to Calvin, is the advisor for secondary education in history and social studies.

Recent activities

Prof. Schoone-Jongen recently taught a course entitled "Strangers in the Land: Immigration in the United States, Then and Now," offered by the CALL program at Calvin and by the Oscher Life-Long Learning Institute (OLLI) program at Aquinas College. He is also currently serving as a member of the board of the Association for the Advancement of Dutch-American Studies.

Prof. Schoone-Jongen was on sabbatical in the fall of 2012 and spent the time researching and writing a biography of Theodore F. Koch, a Dutch American real estate promoter who used capital from German and Dutch investors to found farm communities among Dutch Calvinists, Swedish and Danish Lutherans, and German Catholics in Minnesota and Texas between 1885 and 1920. He visited archives in the Netherlands, Germany, Texas, Illinois, and Minnesota and traveled to Koch's European homes and the sites of his American colonies.

Prof. Schoone-Jongen is continuing to research Dutch immigration to New Jersey since 1850 and has given presentations on the topic to the department colloquium, church groups, and an academic conference. (Read one on Passaic County.) He recently recorded a two minute television spot on the legacy of Theodore F. Koch, a Dutch American real estate promoter who developed about 1,000,000 acres of land in Minnesota between 1885 and 1910, which will be aired on public television stations in Minnesota.

In the summer of 2013, Prof. Schoone-Jongen presented papers at two conferences.  At the Paterson Silk Strike Centennial Conference organized by the William Paterson University of New Jersey and held in May his topic was “On Both Sides of the Line: Dutch Americans and the Paterson Silk Strike.”  In June he delivered a paper on the topic “Loyalties in Conflict: Theodore F. Koch Confronts the First World War,” based on materials he gathered during his sabbatical semester travels to Germany and Texas.

Life outside of Calvin College

"My hobbies are stamp collecting (Central Europe and the late British Empire), the Minnesota Twins, and railroads. I am planning a new model railroad layout and ride trains as often as possible. I enjoy watching old television shows and attending the performances of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and Grand Rapids Opera Company. I attend Calvin Christian Reformed Church and sing in the choir."  

Other informationProf. Schoone-Jongen with student teachers

He co-directed the 2012 NEH Summer Institute for Teachers, “American Frontiers in Global Perspective.” Find out more.

See a partial list of Bob Schoone-Jongen's publications.

Read Bob Schoone-Jongen's posts on Historical Horizons, the history department blog.