Awesomesauce- Letters of Note
My brother and I were lamenting the other day that people just don’t write like they used to. Specifically, we were comparing letters from the battlefield or from across an ocean to the tweets and text messages of today. When the two are juxtaposed, the everyday ramblings of an 18th century average Joe or Jane seem almost poetic in comparison to 140 characters on a screen.
Imagine my delight, then, when I quite literally stumbled upon one of my new favorite websites- Letters of Note. The site is dedicated to memorializing written correspondence from as early as the 16th century to as recently as last year. In each case, Shaun Usher (the curator of Letters of Note, as well as the fantastically nerdy Letterheady) includes a small background story about the correspondence and an image of the original artifact, if available.
One of my favorites from the website is a note from Kurt Vonnegut to the head of the school board of Drake High School, after Slaughterhouse-Five was banned and then burned by the school. Here’s a particularly scathing snippet:
“I read in the newspaper that your community is mystified by the outcry from all over the country about what you have done. Well, you have discovered that Drake is a part of American civilization, and your fellow Americans can’t stand it that you have behaved in such an uncivilized way. Perhaps you will learn from this that books are sacred to free men for very good reasons, and that wars have been fought against nations which hate books and burn them. If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own.”
Read the rest of Vonnegut’s kick-ass letter here.
The very first Letters of Note book will be published in May of this year- if you’re interested, you can pre-order a copy of it here. Otherwise, head over to their archives to check out the amazing correspondence yourself- they have abut 900 letters to choose from.
p.s.- Go read this one right now- Mark Twain was so wonderfully crotchety.
Also…Trey Parker and Matt Stone are the best.