Letters of Note

Letters of Note

An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

By Shaun Usher (Compiled by)

Chronicle Books (CA), Hardcover, 9781452134253, 352pp.

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

This spectacular collection of more than 125 letters offers a never-before-seen glimpse of the events and people of history the brightest and best, the most notorious, and the endearingly everyday. Entries include a transcript of the letter; a short contextual introduction; and, in 100 cases, a captivating facsimile of the letter itself. The artfulness of Shaun Usher's eclectic arrangement creates a reading experience rich in discovery. Mordant, hilarious, poignant, enlightening surprise rewards each turn of the page. Colorfully illustrated with photographs, portraits, and relevant artworks, this handsome hardcover is a visual treat too, making Letters of Note an utterly distinctive gift, and an instant classic.

About the Author
Shaun Usher founded the blog-based archives Letters of Note and Lists of Note, hugely popular internationally. He lives in Manchester, UK.

Praise For Letters of Note

"While a good portion of history happened out in the open, allowing it to be preserved in the history books for everyone to read for generations, still more happened in the private correspondence of people who mattered. In Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (brought to you by the creator of the blog by the same name) you'll read letters spanning across centuries, from influential political leaders, authors, actors, murderers, and more. Each one lends a unique insight into the major events of the time, whether they're wars, cultural shifts, key moments, or important discoveries. This epistolary compilation contains over 300 letters, detailing the personal thoughts of everyone from Jack the Ripper to Kurt Vonnegut."

"It is a truly beautiful book."
-The Bookseller (UK)

"An eloquent tribute to the lost art of letter writing."
GQ magazine (UK)

"...a stupendous collection of memorable missives, often by famous people - and with facsimiles, each page is a marvel...Letters of Note is quite literally the most enjoyable volume it is possible to imagine."
-The Spectator (UK)

"While some might argue that the art of correspondence died with the advent of the internet, it was Letters of Note-a popular website sharing correspondence across history and spheres-that paved the way for the exceptional hardcover of the same name. The book's introduction aptly describes itself as "a museum of letters" that are as addictive as they are enlightening; featuring letters from Ernest Hemingway, Fidel Castro, Nick Cave, Elvis and more than a few world leaders.

London-based author Shaun Usher compiled the collection of over 125 letters over the course of four years and the subjects span both private and public theatrics. A letter from Elvis Presley to President Nixon is written in-flight on American Airlines stationary, in which Presley expresses his patriotism and requests to be made a Federal Agent, "just so long as it is kept very private." Each of the letters is accompanied with a contextual note from Usher that only serves to add to the fascination and potential rabbit hole of additional research readers might find themselves falling into.

From art to music, politics, history, civil rights and drawing on just about every human emotion, it's easy to get lost in the 342-page tome. Each letter tells its own stories and it is easy to find oneself interested in new subjects. Perhaps the book's greatest virtue (and that of correspondence itself) is its ability to inject individual humanity into historical events and time periods. One highlight is a letter from a free slave to his former master, kindly rejecting an offer of a job while inquiring about the family and describing his new life. These true stories-whether they're between household names or persons unknown-reflect the great importance of interpersonal communication and the beauty of long-form written conversation."
- Cool Hunting

Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Audie Cornish speaks with Frank Ciulla about a poignant letter cherished by his family. It was written after his father was killed in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. More at NPR.org

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Thursday, Oct 16, 2014

As part of our series Letters of Note, former Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley tells Audie Cornish how he once replied to an angry letter from the Ku Klux Klan. More at NPR.org

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