Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Historical Letters

Copyright Lim Jerry - Fotolia.com
Reading personal letters written by historical figures always fascinates me.  At first, I am a bit hesitant about delving into something that the original writer most likely didn't intend for eyes other than the recipient's to see.  But, personal letters give us a glimpse into the inner thoughts of those who lived during different times and different circumstances than ourselves.  From them we can learn much.

Letters of Note is an interesting website that publishes letters from people both historical and not.  On the site I have read letters written by Mark Twain, Groucho Marx, Frederick Douglas, and more.  It can be very interesting to see these letters if your student is studying such figures in history.  However, please take note that not all are for little eyes. 

One letter on the site has gotten much attention lately.  To My Old Master is a letter written by a former slave to his former master, who has asked him to come back and work for him.  Jourdan Anderson (the former slave) says, in so many words, thanks but no thanks.  I personally like Mr. Anderson's request for back pay and the conveyance of greetings toward the man who prevented the owner from shooting him.

-A

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