Thursday, May 5, 2016

300 years later, letter still sparks dreams of treasure

A letter written 300 years ago this month and currently located at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia details the location of buried treasure, presumably pirates' treasure.

There's an interesting story in PhillyVoice about the letter, and the Historical Society had a piece on it on its Hidden Histories blog.

It's fascinating to wonder if any letters written today will still be around in 300 years.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Price of Stamps

In case you missed the news earlier this month, the price of a U.S. first class postage stamp has gone down by 2 cents. The new price for a 1-ounce letter is 47 cents.

What a bargain! For most places in the United States, the U.S. Postal Service will come directly to your house, pick up a message you have written and deliver it to anyone else in the country....for 47 cents. You don't have to subscribe to anything or pay a set-up fee. You don't have to buy in bulk or sign up for a service. You can buy one 47-cent stamp, put it on your envelope and send it away.

Now, there is some controversy or at least concern about the price reduction. It is the result of the end of an agreement that allowed the USPS to raise the stamp price in 2014. It's likely that the price reduction will cost the USPS a lot of money, and you can read more about that in the USPS Newsroom. I would guess that the price will probably go up again.

But, in the meantime, there are some beautiful stamps out there for only 47 cents each.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

'Love Story' couple performing in 'Love Letters'

Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw co-starred in 1970's "Love Story," and now they're teaming up again, this time on stage in "Love Letters."

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Love Letter, a painting by Jean Honoré Fragonard

This oil painting by French artist Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) is titled "The Love Letter" and was painted in the early 1770s. It depicts the ages-old feeling of delight at receiving a love letter.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

It's National Handwriting Day — Write, Write, Write!

Who could be more enthusiastic about National Handwriting Day than a bunch of letter writers? Well, I suppose the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) may be a little more excited about it. After all, they do sponsor the "holiday."

National Handwriting Day is celebrated on Jan. 23, the birthdate of John Hancock, an American patriot who took part in the American Revolution. As the president of the Congress when the Declaration of Independence was created, John Hancock is believed to be the first to sign the document. By far, his is the largest signature on the page.  That signature became so well known that even today, almost 240 years later, the name "John Hancock" is still recognized as a synonym for "signature." If someone says to you, "Put your John Hancock right here," they want you to sign something.

In honor of National Handwriting Day, take a few minutes today to write a letter -- by hand -- and mail it to someone. And, encourage them to do the same!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Scotland to offer fleeting glimpse of Robert Burns love letter

For a scant 90 minutes on Monday, January 25, the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh will put on display a letter written by 18th century poet Robert Burns.

According to a news release from the NLS, visitors to the library will be able to see the final letter that Burns wrote to Nancy McLehose which contains the famous song "Ae fond kiss." 

The letter was written on Dec. 27, 1791, as Nancy prepared to depart for Jamaica to attempt a reconciliation with her husband. The song expresses Burns's despair at the end of their relationship.

They had first met four years earlier in Edinburgh when Burns was unmarried. The couple exchanged a series of love letters using the pseudonyms Sylvander and Clarinda. It was a delicate situation given that Nancy was a married woman, and the relationship remained a platonic one.

Written by Burns in Dumfries, the letter informs Nancy that he is sending her some recently composed songs. Then, for the first time ever, he presents a song that has become famous around the world with its familiar opening lines:
"Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; Ae fareweel, and then forever!"
January 25 is Burns' birthday and known as Burns Day in Scotland. 

The letter will be on display in the Library boardroom at George IV Bridge, Edinburgh from 12:30 p.m. till 2 p.m. Edinburgh time on Jan. 25. Entry is free.

The Library café will also be serving haggis, neeps and tatties throughout the day as part of the Burns tradition.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lost Love Letters of the World

From New Zealand to Indiana, families are discovering lost love letters and are reclaiming a bit of their personal history.

In Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand, a bundle of love letters was found in an attic by the homeowners. When the daughter of the couple, who had written the letters during World War II, was found she immediately made the hours-long drive to pick up the letters. The family is delighted to have the letters that offer some insight into their parents' lives. Read the entire story in the Taranaki Daily News.

More than 8,000 miles away, in Indiana, Ben Doxtater Jr. and his sister, Joan Henson, have been reunited with a letter that their mother wrote to their father in World War II. He never received the letter, and after he made it home safely, it was forgotten about until it was discovered in Belgium, still unopened. Read more about that letter in the Chicago Tribune.
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