Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Injustice Corrected

Twenty years ago I read the below article by then Editor-in-Chief Father Karel Denys. I was simply a subscriber to the Gazette van Detroit. I remember thinking at the time, "how sad that this great man has no gravestone to mark the place where his body rests." 

Last year during the Annual Dinner, one of his descendants, Ms. Pat Cools Dorset, and I promised each other that we would correct this injustice. Today we have. Camille Cools' grave is now appropriately marked. 

At the same time, in Moorslede, his birthplace, a street has been named in his honor. The foto at the bottom of this post is courtesy of  Belgian Publishing Inc., Board of Directors Member Bruno Scheers. My heartfelt thanks to the Mayor and people of Moorslede!

"80 Years Ago - Camille Cools: printer, publisher, editor"

From the August 4, 1994 (Vol.80 No.16) Gazette, pp.1-2 

[NOTE:  I have corrected some minor grammatical and syntax errors]

"After resigning as agent of the Gazette van Moline in the beginning of 1912, Camille Cools opened a printing business in partnership with Pieter Vinckier, in September of that year. The Cools-Vinckier Printing Co. was later renamed The Belgian Press. At the end of 1913 they printed a Vermakelijken Almanak ("Amusing Almanac") of more than 100 pages for the year 1914. Unfortunately no copy of it can be found.

"The time for publishing the first number of the Gazette van Detroit on August 13 was most auspicious: German troops invaded Belgium on August 4, 1914. The paper provided news from Belgium up to August 12 to the Flemish American communities, where many recent immigrants were greatly concerned about the fate of the relatives and friends they left behind. Unfortunately, except for the first number, no copies of the Gazette van Detroit before March 1916 have been found.

"Camille Cools found an excellent helper for the technical aspect of the Gazette in Staf Vermeulen, a native of Izegem, where he had been the best printer under Alois Strubbe until he emigrated to the U.S. in 1913.

"About the motto of the Gazette – Het Licht voor ‘t Volk – Camille Cools himself, in the August 4, 1916 edition wrote (under the title “The Large Distribution of the Gazette van Detroit”): “Two years ago the terrible war broke out in Europe and the Germans invaded Belgium and made our people suffer so much. Then the idea came up to publish a newspaper that would give people light  about all that concerned the war and mankind. This would be a paper that would inform the people about all the things that our people had to endure and at the same time shed light  on the deceptions that were perpetrated among the Belgians in Detroit, who always and too often had to suffer for them…”


"One of Camille Cools’ good friends and collaborators was Frank Cobbaert, a native of Nederhasselt in East Flanders. They were among the first members of the Belgian-American Century Club – Cools as member No.1 – founded in 1913. Cobbaert wrote that Cools had discussed his plans for a newspaper with him and that he had asked Cools about the direction that the newspaper would take. According to Cobbaert, Cools answered that his only goal was the defense of the people against the interests of capital (!). That is when Cobbaert pledged his support to the project. Cobbaert, a recent immigrant, was well acquainted with the Daenist movement in Flanders [based upon the move for justice to Flemish workers led by the Aalst native Fr. Adolf Daens]; that is, if the eulogy Cobbaerts gave at Camille Cools’ funeral is any indication.

"Cobbaert, who succeeded Cools as Editor in October, 1916, wrote many editorials in defense of Flemish workers. He was especially ardent in his defense of the ‘beetwerkers’ (Flemish migrant workers employed in the sugar beet fields of Ontario) who were being exploited. Staring with the January 5, 1917 edition, the Gazette van Detroit masthead added an additional exhortation: Het Recht voor ‘t Volk (“Justice for the People”).

"There was no Gazette printed on Friday, September 29, 1916. The Belgian Community knew why: Camille Cools had met with a sudden and untimely death at the age of 42. He was survived by his wife, his two daughters, his parents, his five brothers and his three sisters. His funeral was held at Our Lady of Sorrows Church on September 30th, and his body was interred at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit. There is no tombstone on his grave."

Editorial note: today, August 13, 2014, there is indeed a gravestone to mark his rest. 

Copyright 2014 by David Baeckelandt. All rights reserved. No reproduction without my explicit, written permission. Thank you!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gazette van Detroit - 100 Years of Volunteers

 This week the Gazette van Detroit reaches a milestone: 100 years since the first edition was published on August 13, 1914. Below I have included copies of the very first edition - a 'boterbladje' of four pages. This simple paper written in common (and often dialectal) Dutch, it is the chronicle of a people who have immigrated to North America, yet retain an affection for their ancestral homeland.

But it would be a mistake to think that the Gazette van Detroit is only a newspaper or even an archive. Rather, it is an expression of a shared community. This community transcends Detroit: over the 100 years of its existence subscribers came from almost every state and province of the United States and Canada. Moreover, it would never have survived without the support of Flemings in Flanders. The common thread is our DNA and a recognition of the link between Flanders and the Flemish diaspora.   

Below I have attempted to list everyone who has and is involved with the Gazette van Detroit. The sources of this list is primarily from Karel Meuleman's & Ludwig Vandenbussche's "Het Verhaal" which in turn pulls the names from editions of the Gazette as well as from Arthur Verthe ("Vlamingen in de Wereld") and Robert Houthaeve ("Camille Cools en zijn Gazette van Detroit"). Supplementing this I went thru my own collection of Gazettes back to the 1980s and pulled names. I also went thru online files of old newspapers in Dutch and English who listed names of GvD correspondents as well as DBNL files. I have also reorganized these so they are alphabetical.

Camille Cools
Original December 2, 1913 owners were Camille Cools (President), Jules Vandenbussche (Vice President), Camille De Buck (Secretary-Treasurer), George Callewaert (Controller), and Leo Leplae (Editor)
Owner, Printer, Editor-in-Chief
Frank Cobbaert
Peter Corteville
Owner, Printer
Hortense Leplae
Godelieve Van Reybrouck
Richard L. Corteville
Owner, Printer
The Belgian Publishing Inc. whose investors were: Rene De Serrano, Leon Buyse, Robert Devos, Richard Corteville, Maurice Sartrys, George Decraene, Albert Vandenbergh Sr., Morris DeFour, Remi Van Ackere, Joe Van Hoet, Oscar Hazebrouck, Henry Depoorter, Al Geldhof, Godelieve Van Reybrouck 
Owner(s), Printer
Leon Buyse
Editor-in-Chief + Karel Denys & Oscar Hazebrouck
Karel Denys
Editor-in-Chief (1982: + Oscar Haezebrouck)
Gabriëlle Casteleyn
Editor-in-Chief + Martha Vandenbergh + Margaret Roets
Elisabeth Khan-Van den Hove
BPI becomes an official 501c3 non-profit organization
Editor-in-Chief (2012: +Christine Vaughan-Naert)
Wim Vanraes
Editor-in-Chief (to April 18, 2013)
Interim Editors
April 18, 2013 to the end of 2013
Carine Christiaens Acks, Thomas Lambert, Monique Vangrieken, Denice Schomer, Michel van Hee and  Jeroen Van Cauwelaert
Carine Christiaens Acks
Starting 1/1/14
Editor-in-Chief printed version
Karen. A. DeCoster
Starting 1/1/14
Editor-in-Chief digital version

Contributors of Articles From the Detroit Metro Area (alphabetical):
Evarist Baetens (Water Street, Detroit); George Callewaert (Mt Elliot Ave- Detroit); Cy Carels; Charles Cools (Concord Ave- corner of  St.Paul, Detroit); Agnes Czerwonka; Louis Danckaert; John Debaets (Jefferson Avenue, East-Detroit); Angie DeCoster; Victor De Ketelaere (Mt Clemens, MI); Jerry Deneweth; Remi Dewilde (Gratiot Road, Detroit);  Art Eckhout; Etienne Elskens; Pat Fouchey; Ray Govaere; Cheryl Heckla; Norman Kay; Dorothy Lefief; Emma Mahieu ("Cheery Chatter"); Nathalie Padilla; Joseph Renier; Margaret Roets- Pattyn (Roseville); Dennis Pattyn; Henri Sabbe; Constant Sorgeloos; Elizabeth A. Stevens; Al VanDenBergh, Jr.; Patricia VanDenBergh; August Van Heck (Gratiot Road- Detroit); Alica VanLerberg McEndree; Cyril Verla (West Detroit); Elsie Verstraete.

US Contributors (outside of Detroit) alphabetical by state then town:
Carine Christiaens Acks, David Baeckelandt, Marie Bousfield, Robrecht Fossez & Diane Van Hoof (Chicago, IL); Omer Bonduelle & M. DE SMET (East Moline, IL); Louis De Keyser (Kewanee, IL); Richard Smits (Moline, IL);  William Braeckelaere (Mishawaka, IN); Albert Cashier (Shawnee, KS);  Louis Paul Rabaut (Louisville, KY); Patrick Cornelissen (Beverly, MA); Sandy Dhuyvetter (Emerald, MI); Greg Heller-LaBelle (Allentown, PA);  René Vanmulem (Rochester, NY);   Michel Van Hee, Jeroen Van Cauwelaert & Monique Vangrieken (Dallas, TX); Wim Vanraes (NJ); Jacqueline Goossens & Jason-Louise Graham (New York City); Guido DeBoeck & Thomas Lambert (Washington, DC);  Fr. Van Keymolen (Superior, WI); 

Contributors of Unknown Location but in the US:
Camille Alleene ; Marcel Alberic Defever; Cordula De Vlieger; Egbert Hans in ‘Kroniek der Week’: and his brother A.Hans; A. Godderis; Frank Lenssens; Erica Lutes;  Leon Meersseman; Nancy VanOphem; JoAnne Viviano.

Contrbutors in Canada (alphabetically by province then by city):
Karel Geeraert  (Calgary, AB); Emiel Bogaert: (Bruxelles, MB); Camiel De Buck (St. Boniface, MB); Andre Delbaere, Neil Pryce, Koen Reynaert, & Doug Speirs (Winnipeg, MB); Lester Bartson (NS); Judy Mendicino, Frank Van Raemdonck (Chatham, ON);   Constant Verschoore : Tobacco Growers around Delhi, Ontario under the banner ‘Ons Volk in Canada’;   Frank De Kort (Wallaceburg, ON) Paul Vergeylen (Montréal- QC).

Contributors in Belgium (alphabetical by city):
André De Ké (Aalter) under ‘Nieuws uit België’; Anna DeMuylder & Robrecht Sierra and Bruno Scheers (Antwerp); Paula Marckx (Berchem)’ Paula’s Place’; Hans Robberechts (Brasschaat); Rik Coolsaet  & Janine Denis (Brussels);  Annie Van Hee (Deerlijk); ‘Fine Arts’; Geert Deceuninck (Hooglede); Bert Segier (Ieper); Edith Vervliet (Knokke);  Ludwig & Doreen Vandenbussche (Leke) ‘In Flanders Fields’; Kim Torfs (Lier); Kaitlin N. Loomis (Meerbeek); Harold De Bruyn & Maria Keymolen (Ninove); André Bollaert (Nevele); Paul Callens (Pittem); Karel Meuleman (Rijmenam) ‘Sprokkels uit de lage landen’; ‘Sports’;  Marcel Supene ‘ Sport in ’t kort’; René De Langhe ‘In en om Tielt’ en ‘Onder de halletoren’ (Tielt); Guy and Leen (+) Cleymans- De Doncker (Zemst);  Pieter De Backer (Zwijnaarde- Stuttgart). Unknown Location: F.R. Boschvogel; Joost De Bleeckere; Wim De Weerdt;  Johan De Vriendt; Ernest & Willy Clarysse; Nina Daems; Emmy Swerts; Jozef Vandromme; Dominique L. Van Rentergem;

Siginificant Financial Donors: His Excellency Dr. G. Andre Bens; King Baudouin Foundation U.S. (Jean-Paul Warmoes & Ellena Fotinatos); His Excellency Herman Portocarero; Mr. Georges Picavet.

Marion Allemon : Volunteers Mailing Out & Annual Dinner Volunteer
Paul Allemon : Volunteers Mailing Out & Annual Dinner Volunteer
Diane Baier : Board Member & Annual Dinner Organizer
Walt Baier : Board Member
Alberta Bauer: Volunteer Mailing Out
Donn Brooks: Volunteer Mailing Out
Marge Brooks: Volunteer Mailing Out
Clyde Bender : Volunteer Mailing Out
Rick Biggs, CPA: pro bono Tax Filing for BPI
Philippe Byosiere: Advisory Board Member
Nina Daems:  Advisory Board Member
Patrick (Pat) Delaere : Volunteer Mailing Out
Anna DeMuylder: Advisory Board Member
Mareille de Barry- Willkenson : Annual Dinner Volunteer
Aline De Serrano: Board Member and Donor
Ivan Dewilde : Created the Gazette website in March, 2007
Nancy Fisher: Annual Dinner Volunteer
Betty Ghesquiere: Proofreader.
Bob Joye: Volunteer Mailing Out           
Rika McGie (Lannoo): Annual Dinner Volunteer
Nathalie Padilla : Translator- Volunteer
Denise Paulauskas- Opsommer : Proofreader
Joe Samyn: Board Member
Denice Schomer (Destross): Business Manager since 2009.
Olivier Smekens: Board Member
Richard  Tanghe:  Annual Dinner Volunteer and pro bono Accountant CPA  
Luc Van Braekel: Board Member & Website Manager 2012
Karl Van den Broeck: Board Member & MC of Knokke-Heist Fundraiser
Jeroen Van Cauwelaert, Esq.: pro bono Legal Advice and Filings
Paul Van Halteren: Honorary Belgian Consul, Midwest
Irma Van Massenhove : Volunteer Mailing Out
Matthew Steenkiste, Esq.: pro bono Legal Advice and Filings & Board Member
Edith Vervliet: European Editor & Fashion Editor
Jan Vroman:  Annual Dinner Volunteer  
Vilma Vroman:  Annual Dinner Volunteer  

Special Vendors:
Dan DeRoeck (web services)
Alex Lumelsky (printing and Creator of 100th Anniversary Logo)

Notable Advisory Board Volunteers:
Wouter Bossu; Mieke Cloet; Nina Daems; Anna DeMuylder; Sandy Dhuyvetter; Dimitri Hoegaerts; Thomas Lambert;  Jan Offner; Bart Ryckbosch; Ellen Samyn; Bart Servais;  Robrecht Sierra; Matthias Storme;

Het Verhaal Translators:
Beatrice Blindeman; Caro Henauw; Jan Offner; Arlette Querval; Jeroen Van Cauwelaert; Michel Van Hee; Diane Van Hoof.

Editor-in-Chief: Carine Christiaens Acks

The Board of Directors, August 13, 2014:
David Baeckelandt (President & Chairman of the Board) – Chicago, IL
Evert De Bock 
Karen DeCoster – Detroit*
Maureen Mahieu Kay – Detroit
Johan (Joe) Mares - Chatham, ON, Canada**
Karel Meuleman – Rijneman, Belgium
Margaret Pattyn-Roets – Detroit
Bruno Scheers – Kortrijk, Belgium
Dr. Bastiaan Vanacker – Chicago
Al VanDenBergh Jr. – Detroit
Pat VanDenBergh – Detroit
Ludwig Vandenbussche – Leke, Belgium
Michel Van Hee – Dallas, TX

* Incoming Vice-President
** Incoming President