Monday, January 26, 2009

More presidential letters

Last week, my family and I traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas, and while we were there, we visited the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.

It was a very interesting place with complete replicas of the the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room. According to the statistics, the library and museum houses about 76.8 million pages of paper documents from Bill Clinton's administration.

Included in the museum were large displays with a timeline showing key events and highlights of Mr. Clinton's eight years in office. His daily schedules were located in binders below the timeline, and on the back of each timeline display were glass cases filled with letters he sent and received during his presidency.

There were letters from Fred Rogers (of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" TV fame), Tony Danza, Sheryl Crow and many others. In some cases, there were copies of Mr. Clinton's replies to the letter writers. There were also letters to Hillary Clinton when she was First Lady. She received letters from Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and others.

Reports that came out last week indicate that President Barack Obama may be the first U.S. President to use e-mail while in the White House. I hope that won't diminish the number of letters he sends or receives. A glass case full of printed-out e-mails just won't be the same as the handwritten and hand-signed letters that are in Mr. Clinton's library.

To me, that part of the Clinton Library was just one more celebration of the importance of letters in our lives.


cabin + cub said...

Cool.. I didn't know they kept the letters on display!
Learn something new every day!

My Dear Darling said...

Oh, I totally agree. An email or a printed out email is not the same as a handwritten note. Snail mail letters are more personal, I think. :)

Jennifer Juniper said...

I love a hand written letter. I like the way the paper ages, the feel the smell. There is something personal about knowing a person by their handwriting.

Wendy said...

I live close enough to the museum to have visited also. The letter collection was my favorite, too! I thought they did a great job displaying the letters so you can read them. Fascinating! I love looking at all the handwriting. Cool.

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