Streams

Yours Ever

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thomas Mallon discusses the fading art of letter writing—the confessions and complaints and revelations sent from battlefields, frontier cabins, and luxury liners, along with travel bulletins, suicide notes, fan letters, and hate mail. In Yours Ever: People and Their Letters, he reveals the human experiences behind some of the best, and most famous, letter writers.

Guests:

Thomas Mallon
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [3]

MG from NYC

In clearing out my late mother's home recently, I came across some 50+ airletters from her parents in Ireland, written to her during her early years after emigrating to NY, and I am so grateful for them.

My grandmother died before I was even a toddler, and to suddenly read her letters is as if I am hearing her voice for the first time. I relish both her and my grandfather's particular turns of phrase and seeing the things they were worrying about or that my mother was buying for them in the US, or they for her in Dublin.

It hit me the day I found them: if we don't write more letters today, what are we leaving behind for those who come after us? How many grandchildren will try to resurrect our old hard drives to search out our old emails? All that correspondence will be lost. This realization has led me to start writing more letters in the past month.

I've also recently found my own airletters sent to my mother when I lived in Spain years ago, and I value them too, as they also chronicle a part of my and my family's past.

Mar. 12 2010 01:15 PM
Jane from manhattan

Probably one of the biggest problems is that handwriting has declined so disastrously. Lots of very well-educated people cannot even write legibly, because they never have to do it. It's so much easier just to tap the keys clumsily and ignore the typos.

Mar. 12 2010 01:02 PM
John from Staten Island

Sadly the state of letter writing can be seen in the stores. It is difficult to find a box of just basic stationery for writing in retail stores.

Mar. 12 2010 12:15 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.