Henry Hudson

The Bobblehead Collection

Thomas Jefferson January 7 is National Bobblehead Day.

In honor of the occasion, I offer you a look at my historic bobblehead collection.

My collection consists of 14 bobbleheads. It started in the late 2000s with Thomas Jefferson.

The collection started with Jefferson because we share a birthday (April 13).  Jefferson's birth (and mine) are the only interesting historical happenings on that day. (Seriously, April 13 is a historically boring day. April 12, 14, and 15 are action packed.)

After Jefferson, I acquired John Adams, one of my favorite historical figures.

John Stark

For several months, Jefferson and Adams lived on top of my office bookcase. Friends and family always commented on them when they visited and for the next several Christmases and birthdays I received bobbleheads. Bobblehead gift-giving continues today: this past Christmas (2015) my Dad gave me John Stark, Continental Army colonel and New Hampshire general.


The Collection

Most of my bobbleheads come from a company called Royal Bobbles. However, Henry Hudson and John Stark have different manufacturers.

I picked up Henry Hudson at a Tri-City ValleyCats baseball game in Troy, New York in 2009, the quadricentennial of Hudson's voyage up the North or Hudson River.

My Dad found John Stark at the New Hampshire Historical Society.

In display order:

Henry Hudson


The Virginians



The Bostonians 1.43.21 PM


Tom Paine






My Wishlist

You may have noticed from the photos that my collection is largely male. I have written to Royal Bobbles over the years to ask if they would make a Founding Mothers series. They seemed intrigued, but it's 2016 and I am still waiting.

I would love to add Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Dolly Madison, and King George III to my collection.

Yes, King George III. If you have seen Hamilton the Musical, you understand how perfect this would be. Remember Jonathan Groff's shaking head? I watched the show and thought "King George III would make an awesome bobblehead."


Related to the Collection

In addition to my bobbleheads, I also have a bust of John Hancock. A friend gifted him to Tim and I as a wedding present.

In our household, Hancock always roots for the Boston Red Sox.

John Hancock


Why I Love My Collection

I love my bobblehead collections because it starts conversations. Every time someone visits my home they see it and comment. Their comment leads to a conversation about history, the founders, and the American Revolution. Over the years, I have had great conversations with friends, family, plumbers, electricians, and other contractors.

The bobbleheads also elicit conversations on social media. On occasion, Tim likes to move my bobbleheads around. Since we saw Hamilton the Musical, I often find Hamilton and Jefferson facing each other with Washington, Madison, and the Bostonians gathered round to watch Hamilton and Jefferson engage in a "cabinet meeting." Sometimes I post pictures of the bobbles' new position on Twitter and Facebook. Many followers comment on the photos.

I love these conversations and I can't wait to have them with my niece and nephew when they get older. I know it is only a matter of time before they ask questions about my "toys." When they do, we will have some fun with history.


Share Your Collection

I showed you mine, now let's see yours!

What historic or other bobbleheads are in your collection?


Getting Access: Dutch-American History

Dutch AmericanWelcome to Getting Access, a series devoted to helping you obtain the digital records you need. Do you study the history of colonial America or New York State?

Do you have an interest in learning about Dutch contributions to American history?

If so, did you know that you can gain access to back issues of de Halve Maen for $10/year? Or that the New Netherland Institute provides free, online access to numerous research materials?

In this post you will learn about digital options for primary- and secondary-source records that pertain to Dutch-American history.


de Halve Maen

Since 1922, The Holland Society of New York has printed a quarterly journal called de Halve Maen.

The publication draws readers' attentions to new research concerning the Dutch settlement of North America and Dutch contributions to American history.

Essays range in topics from agriculture to material culture. They also include articles about Dutch genealogy.

Cost of Access: $10/year for Individuals/$45/year for Institutions


What’s Included with Access?

Your membership includes access to all issues printed between 1923 and 2002.

You will have the ability to keyword search back issues.

You will also have access to: • The Holland Society’s membership records • Digital copies of Van Laer’s New York Historical Manuscripts (Volumes 1-4) • Stokes Iconography of Manhattan Island (Volumes 2-4) • "Liber A" of the Collegiate Church Archives, a folio-manuscript book written by Domine Henricus Selijns, minister of the Reformed Dutch Church in New York (1682-1701).

The records contained in "Liber A" provide a documentary history of the Dutch Reformed Church of New York City during Selijns’ ministry. The volume offered by the Holland Society offers the text in both Dutch and English.



New Netherland Institute Online Publications

The New Netherland Institute offers digitized translations and transcriptions of primary-source documents that relate to the history of New Netherland.

The records come from the collections of the New York State Library and New York State Archives. The Institute has also posted documents owned by the New York Public Library and the Scheepvaart Museum in Amsterdam.

Cost of Access: Free

New Netherland Institute

Which Records Are Online?
  • Register of the Provincial Secretary, 1638-1660
  • Minutes of the Council of New Netherland, 1652-1654
  • Correspondence of Petrus Stuyvesant, Director-General of New Netherland, 1647-1658
  • Curaçao Papers, 1640-1665
  • Correspondence of Jeremias van Rensselaer
  • Correspondence of Maria van Rensselaer
  • Court Minutes of Rensselaerswijck
  • Memorandum Book of Antony de Hooges
  • New Netherland Papers of Hans Bontemantel
  • Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts
  • Petrus Stuyvesant’s 1665 Certification of Land Grants to Manumitted Slaves
  • Guide to 17th-century Dutch Coins, Weights, and Measures



The de Halve Maen and New Netherland Institute databases stand as invaluable resources for any historian or genealogist who wishes to research Dutch-American history.

You will find that the records of the New Netherland Institute focus on the history of New Netherland while those of the Holland Society cover New Netherland and its legacy.

Finally, you should know that New York History has finally added its back issues to J-Stor.


time-to-shareWhat Do You Think?

What is your favorite web-based archive or database? What information does it contain?


The 3 Companies of New Netherland

Three companies played a role in the establishment of New Netherland. In this post you will find a brief overview of these companies and learn about how they contributed to the establishment of New Netherland.


Dutch East India Company

Official Name: Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (United East India Company)

vocNickname: VOC

Charter Date: 1602

Charter Highlights: The States-General granted the VOC a monopoly on navigation and trade in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The VOC had the authority to enlist and command soldiers and sailors in a company army and navy and to make treaties and form alliances with the peoples living throughout their jurisdiction.

Involvement with New Netherland: The VOC hired Henry Hudson to explore a possible northern route to the Pacific Ocean. They ordered Hudson to sail north from the Netherlands, over Scandinavia, around the northern boundaries of Nova Zembla, and through the Bering Strait into the Pacific Ocean.

Hudson encountered ice, freezing temperatures, extreme winds, and a cold, mutinous crew off the coast of Norway. Rather then return to the Netherlands, he sailed west to North America, where he became the first European to explore the Hudson River.


New Netherland Company

Official Name: Nieuw-Nederlandt Compagnie

Nickname: N/A

Charter Date: 1614

Charter Highlights: Monopoly on navigation and trade to New Netherland for 3 years or 4 voyages.

Involvement with New Netherland: Instituted a regular trade with the Native American peoples of the Hudson River Valley.

Built Fort Nassau on Castle Island across from Albany, New York. The fort served as a trading post and residence for the traders and bosloopers (forest walkers) who opted to live in New Netherland year round. The fort fell into disrepair after 1618.


West India Company

Official Name: West-Indische Compagnie

Dutch-West-India-CompanyNickname: WIC

Charter Date: 1621

Charter Highlights: The States-General granted the WIC a monopoly on navigation and trade in the Atlantic Ocean.

The WIC had the authority to make peace treaties and alliances with the peoples living within their trade jurisdiction and the ability to enlist and command soldiers and sailors in a company army and navy.

The States-General also tasked the WIC with colonizing New Netherland to protect this possession from English encroachment.

Involvement with New Netherland: It took the WIC 2 years to raise the funds it needed to begin its operations; it raised over 7 million florins.

In 1624, the WIC built Fort Orange on the west banks of the Hudson River. The fort served as the center of their fur trade operations.

Also in 1624, the WIC settled 30 Walloon families in New Netherland. The WIC scattered these families along the 3 rivers it claimed as part of New Netherland: the Connecticut, Delaware, and Hudson Rivers. The WIC settled 18 of these families around Fort Orange with the hope that the colonists would be able to establish farms and support the WIC soldiers and traders stationed at Fort Orange.


What IfWhat If?

Would you have settled in New Netherland under the same terms the WIC offered the first Walloon families? Why or why not?

The first Walloon families contracted with the WIC to live in New Netherland for a minimum of 6 years on land that the WIC provided them. The first New Netherlanders also agreed to help the WIC build necessary fortifications and buildings and serve in the militia during times of war.

In exchange, the WIC promised to supply the settlers with land, seeds, and livestock, 2 years of free food and necessities, and allowed them to hunt, fish, find and operate salt pans and pearl beds, and look for precious metals. Additionally, the WIC allowed the Walloons to worship freely in their homes or at public Dutch Reformed services.