Letter Writing: Your Connection to the Future

Letter Writing: Your connection to the future

I don’t know about you, but I have a fascination with letters written by the famous and the infamous. There’s something intensely intimate about a handwritten letter, even beyond its content. The authors put pen to paper and share their deepest thoughts and emotions of the moment. When we get to view them, sometimes years after they have departed this world, we get a glimpse of their culture, history, and the vulnerability that even celebrities feel.

One example that stood out over the past year was in part due to the incredible amount of money it brought at auction.

After Elizabeth Taylor died, a collection of her letters was sold for more than $47,000. These were love letters she wrote as a teenager to her first love and one time fiancée, William Pawley. She wrote these with a fountain pen, sometimes on MGM letterhead, others on her own personal pink stationery which was embossed with her name. Today Liz is well known for her many marriages, despite claiming to Mr. Pawley at the age of 17 that “…I’ll never love anyone else – period.” Maybe she was predicting her future.

Here’s an excerpt from another recent discovery that reads as follows: “The man who might have written on this card once controlled Europe… Today he is dead, his memory despised, his country in ruins. …He was a force for evil in the world. His passing – a boon to mankind… The price for ridding society of bad is always high. Love, Daddy” This note to the author’s three-year-old son, Dennis, was written on V-E Day, by Richard Helms, an OSS operative at the time who later served as Director of the CIA. It was penned on stationery embossed with a gold swastika and the name Adolf Hitler, the very subject of his letter. Eerily, this document was donated to the CIA Museum one day after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Could this be another case of history repeating itself?

On a more personal note, I am the proud owner of a letter that I will always treasure. I received it after my father passed away almost two years ago. Yes, I know it was just a form letter thanking our family for my father’s service during WWII, but it was signed by Barack Obama. The president of our country actually took the time to put his signature on a piece of paper. I doubt that it will ever be worth any money, but it has historical and emotional significance that an email could never match.

Now here’s something to ponder. What would be the value of Elizabeth Taylor’s declaration of love if she had sent Instant Messages to her fiancée? Or do you think anyone would pay for a collection of Ashton Kutcher’s tweets to Demi Moore? Doubtful.

So, whether you’re famous, or not, why not take some time to write an old-fashioned letter to the love of your life, or your BFF. They will be delighted to receive it and some day in the distant future, someone will find it and be transported back in time to today. What do you want them to discover?

Now for a shameless plug…  Letters written on Southworth 100% Cotton Business Paper will last longer than plain old paper. You can add an extra year of  product life for each percentage of cotton in the paper. Think about your great-great grandchildren! They will be grateful.

Can you guess which famous letter writer was also a fan of Southworth? Respond to this blog with your answer.

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  1. Carol G.
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    When I read your article about keepsake letters, I have a few of my own from my grandmother. She was the one who got me interested in writing letters. Everytime I sent her a letter she would write one back to me. Every once in a while I take them out and read them. They bring back very fond memories.

  2. smartin
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    That’s so sweet. I imagine some day in the future someone will find those letters and smile at the conversations between a young girl and her grandmother. Thanks for sharing, Carol. You made me smile.

  3. Elizabeth D.
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    So true! I save almost every card or letter I receive. A handwritten note is a heartfelt sentiment. What to do with them all?

    Was it Ben Franklin?

    • smartin
      Posted December 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      You’re very wise to save them all, and lucky indeed to have so many. Sorry, it’s not Ben Franklin. Southworth was founded in 1839, and this man was known for his honesty!

    • Elizabeth D.
      Posted December 12, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Ahh! ABLINKIN”

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