Van Rensselaer Manor Papers
Memorandum book kept by Antonie de Hooges, 1643-1648
This volume provides a record of the legal and financial affairs of the patroonship kept while Antonie de Hooges served as principal business manager of the colony. Memorandums recorded on 29 March and 19 April 1647 (p. 52-53) concern the sighting of a white whale in the Hudson River near Fort Orange, which is now the City of Albany. The whale sightings must have caused quite a stir because it is extremely rare to find such accounts preserved among mundane business records. As you consider these accounts, keep in mind that Herman Melville could trace his ancestry back to New Netherland through the Gansevoort family in the maternal line and that Peter Stuyvesant arrived as the new director general in May of 1647.