Letter from Edward Sanders to the Waldorf
Astoria Hotel, 1946

Dear Correspondents,

It has been incredibly satisfying to receive such a strong response to last week’s launch of It seems that many of us are nostalgic for the mail of the old days, but still prefer to conduct our social correspondence by e-mail or social media, and limit our snail mail offerings to thank you, sympathy and sometimes birthday notes. Perhaps if we all committed ourselves to writing one short letter a week, hand written and sent through the mail, we would regain that sense of satisfaction upon hearing the arrival of the postal carrier

Thank you for your subscriptions, letters, e-mail messages of support, visits to the site and posted comments! Here is a brief sampling of letters received, April 23 – 28:

From Donnajean, San Francisco:

I do enjoy getting letters and it is my feeling that the art of letting writing should be taught in our schools. I would like to see some of the letters that historical figures wrote to other historical figures in San Francisco.

There is an excellent source for viewing San Francisco historical letters: The San Francisco History Center at the S.F. Public Library. Stay tuned!

From Liam, San Francisco

My friend, who’s very into typewriters, has a monthly event called Attack of the Typewriters, where she invites people to a bar to write letters on typewriters to their legislators! It’s quite well attended.

Here is song from a somewhat obscure mid-70s album by Barbra Streisand, produced by Rupert Holmes, who went on to write the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

It’s called LettersThat Cross in the Mail; it’s quite awesome and has an opening piano bit that’s described in the liner notes as the musical equivalent of a dolly shot in movies.

Attack of the Typewriters – what a wonderful idea! Thanks for sending the Streisand song. You are right, it is awesome, Thanks, Liam!

From Amy, Paterson, New Jersey

The first thing I open in a pile of mail is the envelope that’s hand addressed; it’s still exciting to receive a handwritten letter.  Funny, everyone we invited to our Seder this year sent an email or text thanking us the next day but it was the one handwritten letter that I truly loved receiving, along with the lone Passover card from a friend.  Someone went through the trouble of buying a card, sitting down and writing something and then posting it. It means something!

Couldn’t agree more. Those handwritten notes are the best!

Barbara, San Francisco sent a copy of a letter her grandfather wrote to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, dated September 20, 1946, in which he chastises the hotel for offensive images on their tourists’ map of Manhattan. “I notice with regret that a few items were, in my opinion, represented in a frivolous, unfair, untrue and wholly unwarranted fashion. For the place names: Chinatown, The Ghetto, and Harlem, you represent human figures that are definitely insulting….’

“Where did you get THE GHETTO idea, anyway… I lived in that part of town for many years, so did A.L. Smith, and Judge Jonah Goldstein, and thousands of the Grand Street Boys Club members. We all knew it most intimately as THE LOWER EAST SIDE.”

The writer, Mr. Edward I. Sanders, Principal of Public School 184 in Brooklyn, would undoubtedly be amazed to see the Lower East Side of Manhattan today, with its museums, destination restaurants and lively nightlife!






This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I used to send friends postcards. They were for no particular reason. Just cards and short notes I thought they would enjoy. I think I may start this again. I have a ton of postcards waiting. Not letters but it’s a start. Cheers, Sandra

    1. Postcards are wonderful. I especially miss receiving those from people’s travels, much as I love FB and email pix.

  2. The day after I came home from the hospital from a major surgery, I was drawn to five envelopes that were handwritten. For me! From friends! Sitting down and mulling over the kind and loving messages helped me feel relaxed and cared for, and a deeper connectivity to the sender(s).

    1. Mary, multiply those five by 1,000 to understand how many good wishes are coming your way!

  3. I too love sending post cards just for the fun of it. I keep a stack in my office and pop one out when a friend comes to mind or their name comes up. I have two friends I can count on responding to a letter when I send one. That’s been true for 20 years. And I’ve never gotten over the excitement of seeing a hand addressed envelop in my mail box.

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