The Lost Art of Letter Writing: 10 Interesting Facts

Letter with text, gray envelope and feather in hand on gray background, top view
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In an era dominated by digital communication, the art of sending physical letters seems almost forgotten. Are you still keeping this tradition alive? Whether it’s a handwritten note or a carefully chosen greeting card, the impact of receiving a letter can be profound. Here are some interesting anecdotes about letters that might inspire you to pick up a pen:

1. A Message from Confinement: In 2012, an Oregon woman discovered a letter in her Halloween decorations from Kmart, written by a Chinese labor camp prisoner. The prisoner, released in 2010, later thanked her through another letter after seeing a news story about it. He estimated that he had secretly written about 20 letters while imprisoned.

2. Royal Secret: A secret letter from Queen Elizabeth II is securely locked away in a vault, with instructions not to open it until 2085.

3. Mandatory Mailboxes: In 1923, the U.S. Post Office Department required every household to have a mailbox or letter slot, marking the end of personal door-to-door deliveries by letter carriers.

4. Mr. Rogers’ Daily Ritual: Mr. Rogers was dedicated to responding to every fan letter. Waking up at 5 AM to pray, he then wrote back to fans who shared their personal joys and sorrows with him, averaging 50 to 100 letters daily.

5. Historical Correspondence: Karl Marx wrote to Abraham Lincoln, congratulating him on his reelection in 1864 and his efforts against slavery.

6. The Greatest Love Letter: A letter Johnny Cash wrote to June Carter in 1994 was voted the greatest love letter of all time. Their legendary love story lasted until their deaths, months apart, in 2003.

7. A Young Castro’s Request: A 14-year-old Fidel Castro once wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, requesting a $10 bill because he had never seen one and wished to have it.

8. A Freedman’s Reply: Jordan Anderson, after being freed from slavery, humorously responded to a request to work again for his former master by asking for 52 years’ worth of back pay.

9. Bob Ross’s Care: The beloved painter Bob Ross received up to 200 letters daily. Concerned for fans who suddenly stopped writing, he would sometimes call them to ensure they were well.

10. Underestimated Gratitude: A study published in Psychological Science found that recipients of thank-you letters often feel more appreciated than the senders anticipate.

These stories highlight the unique and enduring impact of written correspondence, reminding us of the personal connection and history preserved in each handwritten letter. Perhaps it’s time to revive this beautiful tradition. What do you think? Will you send a letter today?

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