the Sluiter Collection

Dr. Engel Sluiter was born of Dutch descent in 1906 near New Holland, South Dakota. He eventually made his way to California, where he completed his undergraduate degree at Stanford University. He earned his Ph.D. in History in 1937 from the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught as Professor of Latin American History from 1940 until mandatory retirement in 1973. While teaching, various fellowships took him to archives in both Europe and Latin America for research and eventual publication in several languages. Long after his official retirement, Dr. Sluiter continued to make contributions to Latin American history with additional archival work in Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He died in Kensington, California, in 2001, at age 95, leaving his large-scale research collection as part of his legacy.

The Engel Sluiter Historical Documents Collection, at the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library, is the research collection of former Professor of Latin American History, Dr. Engel Sluiter (1906-2001). The collection predominantly consists of copies, transcriptions, and some translations of many Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French and English primary source materials from archives throughout Europe, the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. The collection comprises 92 cartons representing some 160,000 pages of documents, organized chronologically by subject. The bulk of this very extensive collection is concerned with the period of European and colonial history between 1575 and 1650, and contains a wealth of information relating to global Atlantic trade and trade rivalries. The collection assembled between 1930 and 2001, and was donated to the Bancroft Library in 1996.

The materials in the collection pertaining directly to the colony of New Netherland make up the content of seven folders entitled, “The Dutch in New Netherland.” Spanning the period 1609-1664, the documents include Resolutions of the States General, West India Company communications, Charters and Grants, petitions, English complaints, testimonies, letters, other contemporary accounts of the colony, as well as some book excerpts. The documents were manly accessed at the Royal Archives in The Hague (now Nationaal Archief), as well as at the Public Record Office in London. Many of the Dutch documents are accompanied by full or partial English translations and/or by Dr. Sluiter’s summary notes. This subset of the collection provides a unique opportunity for researchers to access and search documents on New Netherland that have been drawn from various sources. Please see the full Guide to the Documents for more detailed information on individual documents in the collection.