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Pieter H. G. Verhoog Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS186

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The collection is oriented around Commodore Verhoog's special interest in Christopher Columbus, specifically, the latter's first landfall in the Caribbean Islands in 1492. Of interest, regarding the subject, is correspondence between Comm. Verhoog and Columbus scholars and naval historians such as K.W.L. Bezemer, Ludovic Kennedy, Carlos Sanz, E.M. Shilstone, P.V.H. Weems, and geologist Clifford Kaye. Also included are offprints of papers written by the foregoing about the Columbus landfall. In addition, there are 7 printed maps and 1 hand-drawn map by Comm. Verhoog, charting Columbus' historic route through the Caribbean islands.

Comm. Verhoog's papers include many of his own works, both printed and in manuscript form.


  • 1543 - 1992
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1953

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical note

Commodore Pieter H.G. Verhoog was born in Amsterdam, January 11, 1893. On graduation from the Kweekschool voor de Zeevaart (naval training academy) in Amsterdam, Comm. Verhoog entered the service of the Holland-America Line as a cadet in 1910. After decades of distinguished service, he retired in 1953 as commodore-captain of the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam. Comm. Verhoog was also a member of the Dutch Order of the Orange-Nassau. Comm. Verhoog's combination of experience and skill as an author, translator, expert navigator, as well as an avid student of Spanish literature contributed to his authoritative research on early voyages of discovery. He once explained his particular interest in Christopher Columbus' landfall in the New World: 'I first became interested in the question of San Salvador (the island of landfall) when I was navigating for the Holland-America Line in Caribbean and adjacent waters. Having an interest in historical problems, in the Spanish language, and in any problem pertaining to navigation, I began my research in what I deemed a logical manner. Instead of selecting any particular island in the Bahama group and then backtracking to gather 'proof' (which was obviously the method most frequently employed by other students of this problem), I decided to gather the evidence, analyze my findings, and let the proof rest where it would. I, therefore, first collected in the original Spanish sources every scrap of information which could possibly be called a 'sailing direction...' (from 'Columbus Landed on Caicos,' in U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol.80, No.10, October 1954). Indeed, the many 'problems' that the Commodore set himself to solve included the length of the Columbus 'mile,' magnetic variations in the late fifteenth century Bahamas region, the factor of currents, and the height of eyesight. He also confronted the problem of poor translations of many of the historical studies of the subject. From the evidence that he compiled, Comm. Verhoog concluded that the Columbus landfall was not at Watling's Island, as many had thought, but rather at Caicos. He published his findings in a book entitled, 'Guanahani Again' (Amsterdam: C. de Boer, Jr., Publishers, 1947). In addition, Comm. Verhoog wrote many other books in Dutch (several of which are catalogued in the Special Collections at Georgetown University Library). The collection also includes many of the articles that he wrote as a special correspondent for the Dutch newspaper, 'Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant' (1929-1939). Comm. Verhoog died in his ninety-first year in May 1984.


2 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Pieter H. G. Verhoog Papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
Description rules
Local Practice
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057