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The De Mey van Streefkerk papers

Identifier: jfb-02

Scope and Content

This small collection of family papers, a total of slightly more than 2100 handwritten pages, was acquired for the James Ford Bell Library in 1957 by Curator John Parker. The documents pertain almost exclusively to the Surinam possessions of the prominent Dutch De Mey family, and they span the years 1717-1830. They contain information about the extended family and conditions in the plantation colony of Surinam in general, but they are particularly concerned with the family estate, including the plantations of Eghtenveen, Ephrata, Utrecht, Souberg, Klein Marceille, and Groot Marceille. The vast majority of the documents pertain to the core of these holdings, the large plantation of Marceille, which was formerly known as Eghtenveen. The other plantations were generally auxiliaries to Marceille.

The collection came into being as a result of the ambitious activities of the Surinam planter and chief auctioneer, Marcellius Jacobij, after whom the plantation Marceille is named. By the time of his death in 1742, Jacobij had developed a sizable estate. His three children had been sent to Holland for their education, and they never returned to live in Surinam. They and their heirs kept and even expanded the Jacobij inheritance as collective absentee landowners, leaving the plantations under the management of administrators. It was this agreement that essentially gave rise to the correspondence and many of the other documents in the collection.

One of the daughters of Jacobij married into the prominent De Mey van Streefkerk family. And one of the great grandsons of Jacobij, Jean Gijsberto de Mey, became mayor of the city of Leiden during the early part of the nineteenth century. He, and his grandfather during the late eighteenth century, made significant contributions to the correspondence of the family estate, and thus to the resulting collection of documents.


  • 1717-1830


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Collection is open for research with no restrictions.


It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. See curator for questions.

Historical Note

This collection traces the history of seven Dutch sugar plantations in Guiana (the colony of Surinam) through nearly a century of major developments, including the Napoleonic Wars and the transition from a slave to a free labor economy. The plantations came into the family in 1742 from one Marcellius Jacobij of Paramaribo, whose heirs managed the plantations of Eghtenveen, Ephrata, Utrecht, Souberg, Klein Marceille, and Groot Marceille as collective absentee landowners.


.25 Linear Feet (3 cases; approximately 2100 handwritten pages)


The De Mey van Streefkerk papers archive comprises a collection of about 390 items, including letters, books, correspondence, reports, memoranda, etc. relating to the family’s sugar plantations in Surinam (Dutch Guiana).

Organization of the Collection and Inventory

The collection is kept in three cases, in order of the document numbers (B1482 a through B1482 nd) found in the inventory. These alphabetic codes are, for the most part, indicated on the actual documents.

Catalogue Numbers and Pages: The whole collection has been catalogued under the number 1735 fDe. The separate documents are recognized by an alphabetical code, each beginning with the acquisition number B1482. The codes then run from “a” to “nd”, and the last two, “nc” and “nd”, consist of bound volumes of correspondence. For the purpose of computer analysis, these letters have been assigned a hypothetical code running from “oa” through “zd”. Since the letters are handwritten copies of originals, dates and names are not always indicated, and they are not always written on separate sheets, which accounts for the reduction in the number of pages when listed collectively.

Dating: The dates of the documents’ creation are indicated by month/day/year in the inventory. Where dates were entirely missing, an estimated year (after ND) has been inserted in order to make a chronological ordering of the documents possible and meaningful.

Persons and Locality: The creator or object of a document is listed as the last item in the document’s title. In case of correspondence, the sender is listed before the / and the receiver after the /. The place listed refers to the places, plantations, towns, or areas to which the contents of the document pertains. In correspondence, the slash is used to denote from /to. Spelling of persons and localities often vary in the documents; for the sake of consistency, the most commonly used spelling has been employed.

Physical Location

Bell Library call number: 1725 fDe

Other Finding Aids

A paper copy of the inventory created by Johannes Postma in 1985 is kept with the archive in the James Ford Bell Library.

Acquisition Information

Purchased in 1957 by James Ford Bell Library Curator John Parker from Amsterdam bookseller B. M. Israel.

The De Mey van Streefkerk Papers, 1717-1830
Johannes Menne Postma; revised by Barbara Schulman
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The James Ford Bell Library Collecting Area

Elmer L. Andersen Library
Suite 15
Minneapolis MN 55455