Treatment FOCUS: Fire-damaged Papers
In 1630, a Dutch diamond merchant named Killiaen van Rensselaer joined his country’s push for globalization and exploration and negotiated with the Mohican Indians for a tract of land in the Hudson River Valley of New Netherland (present-day New York State). His purchase founded the Manor of Rensselaerswijck, an arrangement in which the Van Rensselaer family held rights to the land and acquired tenants who paid them rent in commodities such as bushels of wheat, cider, and firewood. The settlement grew to hold about 10 farmers in 1634 and over 200 colonists comprising a full-grown society by 1652. The Manor survived mostly intact until the 1850s, when legal disputes with tenants—who objected to the feudalistic conditions of their leases—led to the estate’s decline.