Geoffrey Reynolds, director of the Joint Archives of Holland at Hope College since 2001, has been appointed to a new endowed directorship developed specifically for the program.
Reynolds is the inaugural recipient of the Mary Riepma Ross Directorship of the Joint Archives of Holland. The endowed position was established by Mary Riepma Ross to maintain and preserve the college’s archival program, including the organization and preservation of the Riepma/Van Zwaluwenburg family archives.
Located in the Theil Research Center, the Joint Archives of Holland contains materials about Hope and Western Theological Seminary, in addition to preserving information concerning other aspects of local history. The archives also assists other area organizations with their materials. In addition to Reynolds, the staff includes a part-time office manager and student assistants as well as several volunteers.
The archives opened in the Van Wylen Library on Oct. 3, 1988. The space on the lower level was designed for the archives, which at the time housed the collections of the college, seminary and Holland Historical Trust. The Holland Historical Trust moved its materials to the Holland Museum in January 2003.
The archives moved to the Theil Research Center, which also houses the college’s A.C. Van Raalte Institute, in the fall of 2004. The Theil Research Center is located at 9 E. 10th St., between Central and College avenues.
Reynolds, who also holds an appointment as an associate professor at Hope, has been with the archives since 1997, when he joined the staff as a collections archivist with the rank of assistant professor.
He is active in professional associations and in historic preservation at the local, state and national levels as well. He is currently chairperson of the Holland Historical Trust Board of Trustees, treasurer of the Dutch-American Historical Commission, web site coordinator for the Dutch Heritage Coordinating Council, executive director of the Holland Area Historical Society, membership chairperson for the Association for the Advancement of Dutch-American Studies and on the Board of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association. His numerous previous activities include having served as president and vice president of the Michigan Archival Association, and as president of the Michigan Oral History Association.
He has received awards including a Broadcasting Excellence award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in March 2011 for featuring programming focused on Holland history on WHTC radio, and an Award of Merit from the Historical Society of Michigan in October 2003 for the film “Tulip Time in Holland.” In April of this year, he received a Mentoring Award from the college’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program for his work with students.
Reynolds is the author of several articles and has made many presentations regarding aspects of area history and topics related to archives. His scholarly interests include Michigan’s boat-building industry in particular. Among other presentations through the years, he delivered the address “Plastic Fantastic: Holland, Michigan’s Boat Building Industry and the Use of Reinforced Fiberglass Plastic” during the statewide June 19-21 symposium “Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America,” held at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. In 2013, he was the guest curator for the exhibition “From Craft to Industry: The Boat Builders of Holland,” featured at the Holland Museum from June 13, 2013, through March 1, 2014.
Prior to coming to Hope, Reynolds was a records and information specialist with Infoflo Consulting Inc. in Southfield. He had also been a grants process leader with the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn; an archivist with Schroeder Information Services in Detroit; and an assistant archivist with Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. in Detroit. He was also executive museum director of the Harsha House Museum in Charlevoix, and was a social studies and English instructor at Boyne Falls High School.
He completed his master’s degree in library and information science at Wayne State University in 1995. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Central Michigan University in 1989.
Mary Riepma Ross, who died in 2013 at age 102, spent her career as an attorney, most of it in New York City, and was also active in philanthropy in the arts and education. A daughter of Sears F. Riepma and Mary Elizabeth (Van Zwaluwenburg) Riepma, she had several years previously contributed the family archival materials to the Joint Archives. Sears F. Riepma, a 1900 Hope graduate, was a minister in the Reformed Church in America, the Presbyterian Church and the Episcopalian Church.