100th Anniversary Fun: Parties, Conferences, and Really Old Photos

Two down, one to go. That’s the general feeling around Eerdmans this morning, as we finish cleaning up the last remnants of mess from last night’s open house.

Party #1

In addition to the book, webpage, blog series, and author series, our 100th anniversary year has been punctuated by three major events.

The first, a sit-down dinner for employees held September 9, was an absolute blast.

The second, last evening’s open house for business and media contacts, former employees, and old friends of the company, was a huge success, if we judge by the lovely noise of music, laughter, and spirited conversation that echoed through the building.

The cake from Party #2

Now, with two parties over, the members of the party-planning committee would really like to kick back and rest on their already impressive laurels, but they can’t quite yet. Although there’s only one gala event left in this landmark anniversary year, it’s a biggie: Eerdmans is platinum sponsor of the 2011 annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, coming up November 19–22 in San Francisco.

People attending either or both of these enormous academic conferences will likely see the Eerdmans name in a lot of different places. We’ll be supplying the conference totes (stuffed with a coupon offering a great discount on our books). We’ll be hosting an evening reception. And we’ll be giving away lots of promotional items to folks who shop our booth — gifts that go above and beyond our usual complimentary Dutch chocolates (though we’ll have plenty of those on hand as well). If you’re going to be at AAR/SBL this year, be sure to stop by and see us.

However . . . if you’re one of our many loyal friends and interested followers who won’t be attending any of these three celebrations, take heart. We wish it were in our power to host an enormous party for all of you. Since it’s not, we’d like to offer you a small but meaningful souvenir from our festivities.

One of the most enjoyable parts of both the employee dinner and the open house was a running slide show of old photos from the company’s past. At the employee dinner, CFO Claire VanderKam’s otherwise inspiring speech was interrupted several times by outbursts of riotous laughter as goofy pictures popped up on the wall behind him. At the open house, minglers stood clustered beneath the makeshift paper screen to reminisce about old friends (with much younger faces) in the assortment of decades-old photos.

We’ve gathered some of the most interesting of these historical Eerdmans photos together in a Facebook photo album so that all of you — our online friends — can enjoy them as well. It’s not quite the same as a party, but we hope you’ll appreciate the gesture nonetheless. Here are a few highlights:

   The interior of the first Eerdmans bookstore, on Pearl Street in Grand Rapids.
 William B. Eerdmans Jr. enjoys dinner with his parents, Paula Eerdmans and William B. Eerdmans Sr.  
 Bill arm wrestles with Gerrit Brinkman from Kok Publishing  Bill Eerdmans Jr. arm wrestles with Gerrit Brinkman from Kok Publishing.
Young Jon Pott (l), Dave Dubois, and Janice Myers (r) pose with a rack of books from the now-defunct Contemporary Writers in Christian Perspective Series in the early 1970s. (Both Jon and Jann are still with the company today.)  

Click here to visit our Facebook page and see the entire collection of nostalgic photos in our 100th Anniversary Photo Album.