A Brill Calendar: November 29
The Death of Evert Jan Brill
Few men have had better and more reasons than Evert Jan Brill to love the company he came to work for; and later to own.
During the first years of the 19th century Evert Jan's father, Johannes (1767 – 1859), gained sorely needed employment in the distinguished printing & publishing business of the Luchtmans dynasty, a tradition in the production and trade in books stretching back some two hundred years, interwoven with a leading University in Europe.
Brill Sr. knew the ropes of day-to-day printing chores like nobody else and when he decided to take things a bit easier after turning sixty, the seventeen year old Evert succeeded to his father’s responsibilities. A long while later, in the year of revolutions 1848, the last scion of the Luchtmans legacy, Johannes Tiberius Bodel Nijenhuis, a scholar rather than an entrepreneur, sold the family interest in the company to Brill Jr.
During the two previous decades Evert had soaked up not only all tricks of the trade, but had developed also a loving fascination for oriental specialities of Leyden University; a discipline ingrained in this institution almost since its beginnings. Despite his success, Junior was childless (just like father). In his commemorative monograph ‘Brill 325 jaar uitgeven voor de wetenschap’ (Leyden, 2008) Sytze van de Veen comments: ‘The (actions of the) human being Evert Jan Brill seems to coincide largely with the Firm E. J. Brill’.
It is seldom that a carefully planned retirement ended so dramatically: in 1871, after a large auction of superfluous books in March, and after a May wedding – this time to a lady, not to a publishing house – Evert died unexpectedly and suddenly on November 29. Remember; all this happened in 1871, another fateful year in Europe, a year in which a second German ‘Reich’ emerged, the Paris ‘Communards’ were butchered and the United States decided that Indian tribes would cease to be regarded as ‘Independent Powers’.
2013, May 17
2013, April 11
2013, April 11