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Letters of Note showcases historically significant letters


Letters of Note is a fantastic personal project by Shaun Usher. It's a clean looking blog with some extraordinary content: historical letters by people like Franz Kafka, Ray Bradbury, Jochen Rindt (the only posthumous Formula One World Champion), and other celebrities.

It's not all celebrities, though. The letter in the screenshot, for instance, was written by a bank manager from Hiroshima on May 22, 1950, and it's addressed to an American safe maker. The bank manager praises the quality of the safe, since it survived Little Boy's atomic blast. Today's letter is an extremely long diatribe by none other than Franz Kafka.

Each letter comes with an original high-resolution scan, a meticulous transcript (in the original language), and a very readable translation. The transcript includes any and all mistakes in the original – double spaces and all.

I find it remarkable that Shaun can get all of these collectors to send him letters. Each letter I've read so far has been illuminating, fascinating, and highly personal. These were obviously not meant as public PR statements, and they give a rare glimpse into the writer's personality and the circumstances in which they were written. I, for one, hope that Letters of Note survives far into the future.

Tags: blog, history, letters