Make History, Write a Letter

Want to look at the world, and its history, from a different point of view? Then I have just the book(s) for you.

Compiled by Shaun Usher, Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving a Wider Audience, volumes 1 and 2, is a fascinating collection of letters from around the world. The familiar names from history, literature, and the entertainment world, among other circles, certainly adds spice to the book but the real meat is the wide range of communication styles: love letters, rejection letters, newsy letters, job applications letters, a letter written in the 14th Century on a clay tablet, one penned by Leonardo da Vinci, another by Queen Elizabeth II to President Eisenhower, and … well, you’ll have to read the book(s) yourself.

Each letter is transcribed and has a short synopsis. Many of the letters’ original manuscripts are reproduced in the books. There are also photographs of letter writers or artwork to put the letter in historical perspective.

Here's a letter from Elvis Presley to President Nixon.

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There is a letter to Francis Ford Coppola from a schoolteacher on behalf of her students asking the movie director to make a film based on the young adult novel “The Outsiders,” by S.E. Hinton.  Or you can see a particularly tender response letter from Iggy Pop to a fan.

The collections of letters highlight the humanity of history and gives us reason to write our own letters. It's important to keep the art of letter writing alive.