Kuyper Books: Destination Princeton

More than 32,500 books on Dutch theology, political history, and literature are the newest additions to Princeton Seminary’s library collection, thanks to the generosity of the Henry Luce Foundation and the keen interest that Dr. George Puchinger had in Reformed Protestantism and Christian politics.

The Luce Foundation awarded a $175,000 grant to the Seminary to purchase Puchinger’s library when he died in Amsterdam in September. Puchinger was a well-known historian and publicist and a director of the Historical Documentation Center for Dutch Protestantism and of the Free University of Amsterdam. He was known above all for his publications concerning prominent Reformed politicians Abraham Kuyper and Hendrikus Colijn. For this work, Puchinger received Princeton Seminary’s first Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life in 1997.

According to James Lenox Librarian Steve Crocco, the Puchinger collection contains books, pamphlets, and fifty pieces of ephemera, including many first editions, fine bindings, and antiquarian books. The broad subject is European theology and church history, with special holdings in Dutch theology, political history, and literature. “A surprise in the collection are very strong holdings in the Oxford Movement, one of Puchinger’s passions,” Crocco says. “If there is a core to the collection, it is materials that support the study of the life, thought, and influence of Abraham Kuyper.”

Crocco inspected the collection when he made a trip to the Netherlands to meet Puchinger last March; he went back in June to pack the books for shipment to Princeton. Crocco was pointed to Puchinger’s library by Rimmer de Vries, who encouraged him to pursue acquiring the books for the Seminary. De Vries was instrumental in establishing the Kuyper Prize at the Seminary.

Crocco has also acquired a portion of the library of the Rev. C. H. W. van den Berg, a noted Kuyper scholar. He says that according to Kuyper’s modern-day bibliographer, Tj. Kuipers, Princeton Seminary now has probably the finest collection of Kuyper materials in North America.


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