Willem de Clercq is one of the most eminent Dutch diarists. He started writing in 1804 when he was nine years old and continued until his death in 1844.1 Over 40 years, he filled more than 13,000 pages. This form of compulsive diary-writing developed in the Romantic period. Willem de Clercq was born in Amsterdam in 1795. His father was a grain merchant and his mother was the daughter of a Mennonite cleric. At the age of 23, he took over the family firm. In 1824, he became secretary, and later director, of the Nederlandse Handelmaatschappij. This trading company was founded by King Willem I to stimulate the Dutch economy which had been declining for more than a century. De Clercq played a major role in developing the rural textile industry. In 1818, De Clercq married Carolina Boissevain, the daughter of a wealthy merchant in Amsterdam. In 1821, their first child, a son, Gerrit, was born. He was followed by Daniël (1825), Steven (1826), Gideon (1828), Margaretha (who was called Margotje) (1830), Karel Eduard (1832) and Matthijs (1836). A son born in 1823 died within a few months.
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- 1.A. Pierson and A.E. Kluit-de Clercq (eds), Willem de Clercq naar zijn dag-boek 2 vols (Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1888);Google Scholar
- cf. M.H. Schenkeveld, Willem de Clercq en de literatuur (Groningen: Wolters, 1962);Google Scholar
- P. van Eeghen, Familieboek De Clercq (Den Haag: s.n., 1940).Google Scholar
- 3.G.F.D. Locher and A.J. Rasker, ‘Steven de Clercq over de eerste levensjaren van zijn dochter Maria’, in J. van den Berg, PL. Schräm and S.L. Verheus (eds), Aspecten van het Reveil. Opstellen ter gelegenheid van het vijftigjarig bestaan van de Stichting Het Reveil-Archief (Kampen: Kok, 1980) pp. 150–72.Google Scholar