January, 1877 – Vincent is offered a position in a bookshop in Dordrecht by a friend of the family

January, 1877 – Vincent is offered a position in a bookshop in Dordrecht by a friend of the family

The Blussé & Van Braam bookshop is pictured in this view courtesy of the Regional Archives of Dordrecht, Netherlands, Netherlands and their website (access by clicking on link).

Even though he has been preaching and teaching Sunday school, Vincent is encouraged by his father and mother to pursue a more formal education on the order of 8 years of schooling to become a pastor or to pursue some other “normal” and honorable career.  A friend of Vincent’s father hears from his son about their desire to find Vincent a respectable job and Vincent writes to his brother of the conversation that ends up moving him to Dordrecht.

“Etten, 31 December 1876

My dear Theo,

I sincerely wish you the best in the new year, I wish you well and may you be blessed in all things. Wonderful to have seen each other again, how beautiful it was that morning you left, and how often we’ll think back on that trip to Chaam.  Ma’s eye is hurting a lot again, she has a bandage on; Pa delivered such a beautiful sermon again this morning.  And now this evening New Year’s Eve again, if only you were here.  Now then, there’s something I must tell you: a couple of days ago Mr Braat of Dordrecht paid a visit to Uncle Vincent and they spoke about me, and Uncle asked Mr B. whether he would have a place for me, if I should wish it. Mr B. thought he might have a place, and said that I should come sometime to talk about it. So I went there early yesterday morning; Pa and Ma and I, too, thought it was something we shouldn’t let pass without seeing what it was.
Agreed that after the New Year I should go to him for a week, after that we’ll see. There are many things that make it desirable, first and foremost my being back in Holland near Pa and Ma, and also you and the others. Moreover, the salary would certainly be a little better than with Mr Jones, and especially with an eye to later, when a man has need of more,  1v:2 one is obliged to think of such things. As far as the other thing is concerned, for these reasons I won’t give it up. Pa’s spirit is so great and many-sided, and at all events I hope that something of it will develop in me. The change means that now, instead of teaching those boys, I’ll be working in a bookshop.
How often we’ve longed to be together, and how terrible it is to feel so far away from one another in cases of illness or anxiety, as we felt, for example, during your illness, and then the feeling that lack of money may very well stand in the way of our being together in times of need.
It’s quite possible, then, that I’ll go there.”

To Theo. Etten, Sunday, 31 December 1876

After three months of an ambivalent attempt at becoming a book salesman, Vincent tires of the bookstore and is consumed with studying and translating the bible from Dutch to English to French and by April, he is back at his parent’s house in Etten for Easter.  While in Dordrecht, he visits the Dordrecht Museum with his father in mid february and again with Theo in later Februay of 1877.  Vincent also takes a trip to the Museum Van de Hoop in Amsterdam to meet Theo in mid-march before heading to his parent’s home.  He determines in April that he will follow his yearning for theology and will seek formal education in Amsterdam.  He will study Latin and Greek and live with his uncle, Jan van Gogh, the director of the Naval Dockyard in Amsterdam.


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