Why Letters?

For thousands of years humanity’s primary form of communication was letters, where people could communicate to close friends and family in confidence even if separated. This openness gives letters incredible weight and feeling, and makes the stories within them come alive.

Napoleon Bonaparte sent around 33,000 letters during his lifetime and while they give us incredible insight into his mind during his conquest of Europe, his most interesting letters are those sent to Josephine, his love. In these letters our impression of Napoleon changes from him being a war hungry Emperor to love craved man in his late twenties as he professes his feelings for her over and over.

Letters give us a glimpse into the lives of many people in history and their stories. We’ve found letters from all kinds of characters from Beethoven’s struggle’s with his deafness, Alexander Hamilton’s distaste for his nemesis, the wily Thomas Jefferson; or Mary Queen of Scott’s last written words before her execution.

Those are just a few examples of stories you’ll come across when subscribing to Letter Library. We hate to give away spoilers, but here are a couple others you may find and what you may learn:

  • Gandhi's letter to Hitler to stop World War II

  • Leonardo da Vinci’s letter as a job application for a military engineer

  • Charles Dickens protest against public hangings

  • Benjamin Franklin on the need to study farts

Letters can range from humorous to emotionally moving as the authors write down their stories in their own words. We find history’s most fascinating letters with the best stories that either illustrate a historical event or shows a penetrating view of a historical figure.

A great example is Abigail Adams to her husband John Adams shortly before the Declaration of Independence was written and a new form of government was discussed.

“I long to hear that you have declared an independancy—and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could...”

- Abigail Adams

Not only is the context surrounding this letter incredible, but we can clearly see Abigails patriotism, strength, and intelligence in only a few lines. Additionally this letter is evidence of Abigail Adams as America’s first advocate for women’s equality which makes the letter even more remarkable.

Although many of our letters relate to American history, we don’t limit our letters to any time period or country (although we always provide English translations for non-English countries).  Our main goal is to find the most interesting letters we can for our readers no matter the country or time period. So no matter what period of history you’re into or what historical stories you prefer we've got you covered. Check out one of our subscriptions to start getting your letters now!