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Tippins, Sherill


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Sherill Tippins, born in Ft. Meade, MD, USA, in 1955. Bachelor in Journalism from the University of Texas, Austin. Independent author.  

Writer-in-Residence (February - June 2017)

The First 200: The Peasants, Prostitutes, Privateers, and Poets Who Created New York

Research Question

Who were the individuals sent to Manhattan Island by the Dutch West India Company in 1626? Where did they come from, what were their aims, how did they build a community in the Manhattan wilderness, how did they develop alliances and trade networks, and how did their actions set the tone for the unique culture of New York City today?

Project Description

Grietje Reyniers fled Europe hoping for adventure, only to find herself trapped in muddy New Amsterdam. Company slave Manuel de Ruis was sent to the gallows, but when the rope broke he was pardoned and, later, freed. The settlement’s pastor despaired of persuading even one native American to convert. The widow Vigne remarried to create Manhattan’s first real estate dynasty, but her daughter’s marriage soured when her husband imported a mistress from Amsterdam. 

"The First Two Hundred" tells the story of these down-and-out individuals whose attitudes laid the groundwork for New York’s character today. Surviving court records provide an accounting of the settlers’ daily lives. In Amsterdam, I will explore their backgrounds—visiting their home villages, researching their Dutch partners, and reading the wills they left behind. 

Selected Publications

1) Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013)

2) February House: The Story of W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof in Wartime America (Houghton Mifflin, 2005)

3) “Art, Food, Lodging,” The New York Times, July 1, 2007

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