A trunk full of old letters


It’s official. Nina Sankovitch, author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, announced her next big thing: a nonfiction book about letter writing. The author who famously read a book every day for a year got the idea for her second book when she moved into her New England home and uncovered a trunk of letters hidden in her back yard. (Doesn’t that sound like the preface to some Victorian sensational novel?)

Sankovitch explains: “The trunk was filled with hundreds of letters written by a boy to his mother from when he was about four years old, through his four years at Princeton from 1908 – 1912, and up until the death of his mother in 1937. I’ve always loved reading letters, and the discovery set me on a quest of understanding the unique qualities of letters that make them such forces for connection and remembrance.”

A trunk full of old letters? Just hiding out in your back yard? How lucky can you get! That is the sort of thing my sister and I used to dream of finding on our many excursions through the woods of our back yard and into the cluttered treasure trove of our attic. No such luck.

I suppose I’ll just have to live vicariously through Nina, for the second time.

Do you still write letters by hand? I’d love to get into it!


  1. Because of your earlier post about Nina, I set myself the challenge to write an illustrated letter a day. Lovely bloggers have got right behind the idea and my letters have been flying right around the world. And I’m getting letters back! Thank you for the inspiration :)

    • Erin said:

      Wow! How wonderful is that? And what a lovely idea! I’m so glad you were inspired — Nina has a way of doing that. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  2. for years i wrote letters to friends and family. i send one out off and on now but have become a postcard writer moreso. i make my own mostly and send them out in waves. i also like to collect old postcards and read what people were writing about in years past. thanks. i’m coincidentally reading the Sankovitch book right now.

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