Arts, Culture & Media

Historic Handwritten Letters Reveal The Past

Email and texting have pretty much eclipsed the good old-fashioned letter. But there's a collection of historic letters that we want to tell you about. The Profiles in History collection is going up for auction next month in California .

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One highlight is a letter written by Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh's handwritten letter is addressed to the proprietor of a certain cafe where the Dutch painter liked to hang out.
Van Gogh's favorite cafe (Vincent Van Gogh)

So we're looking for the name of the city in the south of France where you'd find this little cafe. It's in the French region of Provence. Van Gogh lived in this city for a couple years painting up a storm all the while. He made more than 300 paintings and drawings while living there.

He even painted the cafe, Cafe de la Gare, as well as the owner, Madame Ginoux. The letter Van Gogh wrote to her is about to go up for auction.

Marsha Malinowski is overseeing the auction for the company Profiles in History. She says Van Gogh's letter was addressed to Joseph and Madame Marie Ginoux, proprietor of the Cafe de la Gare in Arles, France. It's one of approximately 300 historic letters in the collection. As to who among all of the historic letter writers had the worst penmanship? Beethoven.

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    A disgruntled Beethoven writes of the second performance of his 9th Symphony (Photo: Profiles in History)

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    Van Gogh's letter to Madame Ginoux, Arles, France 1890 (Photo: Profiles in History)

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    Van Gogh's favorite cafe (Vincent Van Gogh)

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    Van Gogh's favorite cafe (Vincent Van Gogh)