Letters

Benjamin Franklin's portrait on the 2009 design of the hundred dollar bill.

Benjamin Franklin Was a Middle-Aged Widow Named Silence Dogood (And a Few Other Women)

The founding father wrote letters in the voice of female pseudonyms throughout his life

A brittle letter addressed to Orrin W. Shephard of Croton, Newagyo Co., Michigan from his son Nelson.

Mystery Solved: A Michigan Woman Says She Mailed Civil War Letters to the Post Office

Smithsonian curator Nancy Pope learns how and why these letters showed up in the mail 153 years later

"America is lost!" wrote George III.

Now We’ll Finally Get to See the American Revolution Through the Eyes of King George

A treasure trove of nearly 350,000 documents, about to be released to the public, reveals new insights about how George III lost the colonies

When Was the First Map Produced and More Questions From Our Readers

You asked, we answered

Re-enactor John Holman displays a  newly discovered letter alongside period objects including a hardtack-crate desk.

Newly Discovered Letters Bring New Insight Into the Life of a Civil War Soldier

A mysterious package holds long-lost correspondence from a young Union infantryman

Did John Adams Out Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings?

A scholar makes the intriguing case that Adams gossiped about the relationship years before the news erupted in public

Robert Motherwell writing at his desk in Amagansett, New York, June 1944

These Letters Written by Famous Artists Reveal the Lost Intimacy of Putting Pen to Paper

Many of the letters included in a new book provide snapshots of especially poignant moments in the lives of American artists

Family Discovers Rare Letters by Thomas Jefferson

In the two letters selling for over $300,000 each, Jefferson opines on the War of 1812 and his dislike for Alexander Hamilton's economics

Students pledged to speak only Latin, Greek or Hebrew in each other's company in this 1712 note.

Read About Drama, Politics, Breakfast in These Newly Digitized Colonial Documents

An ambitious Harvard University project brings history to life, archiving nearly half a million documents online

A pile of letters wait to be loaded in a sorting machine at a USPS processing and distribution center.

Have Bad Handwriting? The U.S. Postal Service Has Your Back

Don’t worry, your Christmas gifts and cards will make it to their destination, even if your writing looks like chicken scratch

The first Christmas Card

The History of the Christmas Card

Borne out of having too little time, the holiday greeting has boomed into a major industry

A Brief History of Sending a Letter to Santa

Dating back more than 150 years, the practice of writing to St. Nick tells a broader history of America itself

2,600 undelivered letters, 600 of them unopened, were found inside this postmaster's trunk.

This Trunk Stuffed With 17th-Century Letters Is a Historian’s Dream

Recipients never read these letters, but their loss is history’s gain

A Letter About Darwin’s Belief in God Just Sold for Nearly $200,000

Just 41 words long, it provides a missing link for historians who have long wondered what the naturalist thought about religion

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Discussion

Letters from our readers

Benjamin Franklin reading letters, which may or may not have been written by his female friends.

The Founding Fathers and the Women, Not Their Wives, Whom They Wrote To

These words today would raise suspicion if written between married men and their female friends

Some of Mrs. Jerry Davis' students saved letters from their Vietnam War pen pals, which they donated to the American History Museum on November 14.

Vietnam War Vets Reconnect With Their 1960s Pen Pals For a Museum Donation

Decades after they sat in Mrs. Davis’ fourth grade class, former students donated Vietnam War materials to the American History Museum

Charles Dodgson

Lewis Carroll Hated Fame So Much He Almost Wished He'd Never Written His Books

At least, that's what he said in a letter, now in the University of Southern California library

The first ransom notes come from an 1874 kidnapping.

The Story Behind the First Ransom Note in American History

Last year, a school librarian was looking through family artifacts when she stumbled upon the first ransom note in American history

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Letters

Readers Respond to the December Issue

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