Letters of Note

Stick with me, sisters, I’m on a roll.

Yep, like a ballpoint pen, I’m rolling across the open page …


On the heels of my Manners post in late March, I’m feeling all fired up about …

… letter writing, and in my frenzy for “fine” print, I found a website that filled me with wonder:

Letters of Note.

I don’t need to say another word, do I? You’re probably already linking your way over to the site now.

You’re intrigued.

So was I.

There’s just something about a sealed envelope, folded (scented!) paper, and the elegant twists of handwritten script—letters set my heart to pounding. Ah, the curiosity, the piquant promise in such a small package!

Okay, okay, I’ll rein it back in …

Although Letters of Note may not offer the full sensory experience of hands-on letter reading, it comes pretty darn close by divulging letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos from some of the world’s most famous figures.

We’re talking Helen Keller, Mark Twain, E.B. White, Kurt Vonnegut, Mary Queen of Scots, and over 700 more.

Glitterati Literati, indeed.

Woman Writing a Letter by Gerard terBorchcirca 1655. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Letters site is a blog-based archive of fascinating correspondence, complete with scans and transcripts of the original communiqués. I still can’t get over the thrill of seeing Harper Lee’s handwriting, up close and personal.

The collection is updated every weekday, so it’s almost like stopping by to pick up a letter in the mail—a letter that gives you a glimpse into the life of someone noteworthy. It feels a little like eavesdropping on history.

Bookmark the website for your daily fix, or have updates delivered to you via RSS, Twitter, and Facebook.

Letters of Note creator and editor Shaun Usher is also preparing to publish a book by the same name in November of 2012 because, in his words, “Letters are small artworks, and this book will be catalogue of beautiful, meaningful objects.”

Usher has offered a few tidbits to tantalize us in the meantime. His book will include:

  • The letter of a Kamikaze pilot to his two young children, written the night before his mission
  • Steve Martin’s “personalized” form letter to a fan
  • A memo about some of the surprising candidates for Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • A series of letters from a 31 year-old women with dementia desperately trying to contact her husband from a German asylum in 1909
  • Aldous Huxley’s wife Laura giving a moving account of her husband’s death to his brother Julian in 1963
  • A fan letter from Stanley Kubrick to Ingmar Bergman in 1960

Signed, sealed, delivered—I’m hooked!

  1. LA Brown says:

    one of my favorite sites. Can follow him on Twitter also 🙂

  2. Debra Davis says:

    “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” Phyllis Theroux

    This quote popped up on WordPress when I made a blog post this evening…

    I love snail mail and hand-written letters. Thanks for the link to a cool site.

  3. Eileen Widman says:

    I love hand written letters too and am missing the letter writing girls group we used to have through M.J.F.
    Sending a hand written letter with a small surprise in it was so much fun. I still have all of the ones I received over that couple of years.

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