Dear Members, Friends and Fellows of the Holland Society,

I am writing to introduce myself to you as the 77th President of the Holland Society of New York.

I am an 11th generation descendant of Pieter Quackenbosch, a brickmaker, and his wife, Maritje, who sailed with their children on the ship Graft from Oestgeest, Holland to Manhattan in 1653, settling in Albany. I was born in Paterson, NJ in 1957 and raised in Wyckoff, NJ by my parents, Virginia Fairhurst Quackenbush (“Muffin”) and James Eby Quackenbush, the 61st President of the Holland Society. In 1975, de Halve Maen published an article I wrote about the history of Wyckoff’s Zabriskie-Quackenbush-Van Voorhees house, helping secure bicentennial funding for this early Dutch home’s launch as a museum in my hometown.

Following in my mother’s footsteps, I attended Mount Holyoke College, then transferred to join one of the first classes of women at Yale College, graduating as an English major in 1979. Living in NYC after college, I worked at Chemical Bank as a management trainee and at Titus Productions as the Assistant to Golden Era TV Producer, Herbert Brodkin. Moving to the Midwest briefly, I graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1987. I worked as a real estate attorney at Thacher, Proffitt & Wood in NYC until 1990, when my first child, James, was born, followed by twins, Daniel and Peter, in 1996.

While raising my three boys in Manhattan, I volunteered at Advocates for Children of NY, combining my legal and parenting experience to advocate on behalf of parents seeking special education services for their children. In 2007, I returned to work full-time as the Parent Coordinator at the Upper East Side public elementary school my children had attended, serving as a liaison between parents of 670 students and the principal and teachers.

Now retired, I enjoy reading, theater, travel, and spending summers at the Jersey Shore. For many years I have been the Treasurer of Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Paterson, NJ, another perpetual organization steeped in ancestral history. I am delighted to join my grandfather, father, uncles, cousins, sisters, Elizabeth Quackenbush and Mary Q. Senn, sons, James and Daniel, and nephew, Dizzy Q. Farbanish, as part of a family of proud and enthusiastic Holland Society members.

I am grateful to have been elected the first female President of the Holland Society in 2024, just as the 400th anniversary of our Dutch ancestors’ original landing on Governor’s Island begins. As the father of three girls, my father always wanted the Holland Society to “go co-ed” and under the leadership of my predecessor, Colonel Adrian Bogart, our membership criteria were amended to include descendants of all “those who were residents of Dutch settlements in North America prior to or during the year 1675,” the last year before the English gained control and New Amsterdam was renamed New York. This includes me and my sisters and our children, and many other descendants of residents of New Netherland who previously couldn’t become Members of the Holland Society. I want to encourage all of our current Members and Friends to actively recruit new people to join the Society from amongst your own family and friends, so that we can continue to grow and become self-sustaining.

The Holland Society’s motto “Eindeltjk wordt een spruit een boom” translates to “In the end, the sprout becomes a tree.” I share this optimistic outlook for the Holland Society’s future, beginning with our recent purchase of a permanent headquarters re-establishing our library at 161 West 86th Street in Manhattan. My goal is to complete renovation of our new office this year so that we can invite our membership to gather in person to enjoy lectures and receptions, as well as peruse our extensive collection of historical volumes, including published translations of the Dutch settlement’s public records, family bibles, a full collection of our De Halve Maen magazine, as well as new scholarly works to be produced as the Society continues its research into the lives of our ancestors in New Netherland. We will also be installing state-of-the-art video equipment and updating our website so that branch members far and wide can attend events virtually and research their family’s history online.

The Holland Society, founded in 1885, has truly sprouted into a strong tree with many branches! Thank you all for your enthusiastic participation and generous support as we work together to nurture our beloved Society toward a future filled with promise.