A collection of personal letters
August 25, 2009 1:29 PM   Subscribe

The Letter Repository contains hundreds of personal letters from the early 18th Century through the Second World War. A large portion of the letters are from periods of conflict, the largest chunk being from World War Two, though there are also sizable numbers from the First World War and the American Civil War. There are also quite a few love letters. You can both see scans of the letters (and photographs or other materials) as well as transcriptions, which you can edit should you spot errors. One of my favorite collection of correspondance is the one between a Herbert Beyer, who served in the Air Force in World War Two, his darling Cleo and his parents.
posted by Kattullus (11 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Some of the later lots are not fully transcribed.
posted by Kattullus at 1:31 PM on August 25, 2009

As kids snooping around in an old steamer trunk in the basement, we found a bundle of dozens of courtship letters from my mother to my father, tied with a pink ribbon.

One of them actually began with, "It was a dark and stormy night..."

There were numerous mentions of some unspecified request my father had made of my mother, and the results of her having consulted her priest about said requests (the priest had disapproved in no uncertain terms, something about marriage being required first.)

Somewhere around that point, we wrapped the pink ribbon back on the bundle, slowly stepped away, and never opened that trunk again.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:42 PM on August 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

I really like this. Thanks.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:45 PM on August 25, 2009

Wow, this is really cool. There goes my afternoon.
posted by lilac girl at 2:00 PM on August 25, 2009

Cleo's parents sound very progressive for the time; giving him a girl's name and all.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:30 PM on August 25, 2009

Cleo's parents sound very progressive for the time; giving him a girl's name and all.

Huh? I think Kattullus meant "(His darling Cleo) and "(his parents)" not "his (darling Cleo and [Cleo's] parents)
posted by delmoi at 2:54 PM on August 25, 2009

So you're the one, UbuRoivas, who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma.
posted by Kattullus at 2:55 PM on August 25, 2009

Those brave boys fought, and often died, to preserve the Oxford comma. If it weren't for them, we might all be using the Heidelburgerkomma.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:02 PM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

While my grandfather was serving on the USS Enterprise during World War II, he sent my grandmother a letter saying that if he had two nickels to rub together, he'd ask her to marry him. My grandmother sent him two nickels.
posted by DaDaDaDave at 3:12 PM on August 25, 2009 [12 favorites]

Oh, cool, I'm sending this to my mom who loves Civil War history and especially loves war letters. (It will make her cry but she'll like it anyway.)
posted by little e at 3:22 AM on August 26, 2009

I hope someday someone will find and publish the letters my brother, who is in the military, and I exchange. When I graduated (from pharmacy school), he sent me a pocket knife and a letter that said it was for killing animals, and advised "Congratulations, and remember, don't get high on your own supply."
posted by little e at 3:28 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

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