Many of these letters were purchased from the internet in the course of conducting historical research. Some were useful to me and others were not. But I have found all of them interesting for one reason or another and I have enjoyed researching the people and places mentioned by the 19th century letter writers. If you can add any supplementary information to what I have gleaned from the internet, I’d love to hear from you.

Old letters are golden links in the mystic chain that binds us to the past; precious mementos serving to remind us of the scenes and associations of other days. Especially is this true when the writer sleeps in the quiet stillness of the church-yard, while the little grassy hillock marks the place of his sweet repose.

— B. F. Brewington, 1862 Ladies Repository, page 349

11 thoughts on “About

  1. I just found your blog thanks to a fellow librarian where I work. Unknowingly, I’ve been drafting a new blog with the same idea, after rescuing some documents being sold as craft supplies. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one collecting orphan objects and showing those collections to the public! Thank you!

  2. Thank you many times for the extraordinary letter from Rev Elijah Willard, whose daughter Matilda Thankful Willard was my g-g-g-grandmother. I have a great deal of information on the family if it would interest you; I am also quite intrigued to know where you purchased the letter and how you came by it. I am a historian myself and would be very grateful to see it.

    1. SMM: I did not purchase this particular letter; only transcribed it for a friend of mine who sold it on e-bay some time ago. I don’t know where he acquired it — probably either on e-bay or an on-line auction. He buys and sells thousands of stampless letters every year. I transcribe some portion of them as a service to him in exchange for the opportunity to salvage historical information and post it on-line for the benefit of historians and family researchers like yourself. I have no idea where the original letter is now — probably sitting in someone’s collection in a box or drawer where it will not see the light of day for another fifty years. However, you can see the letter anytime you want by clicking on the images that are under the transcription. If you wish to add — or correct — any family information I have posted with the transcription, please feel free to use the comment field at the bottom of the blog page on which your ancestor’s letter appears so that other family researchers may find it and possibly contact you. I appreciate your comments and glad you got somewhat acquainted with Rev. Elijah. — Griff

      1. I have Lillies deathbed letter from Brazil to her brother in St. Paul. She was too weak to finish it. It was finished by her husband, Reverend Alexander Latimir Blackford. She died of fever too, as her brother Ashbel did.

      2. Griff,
        I would like to re-publish your transcription and research on the letter from Baldwin Buckner in the Louisa County Historical Magazine. Please contact me

        Thomas P. Myers
        Editor, LCHM

  3. Hi Griff,
    I don’t like to think of the letter sitting in a drawer or a box. Would you be so kind as to let your friend know that I’d be interested in seeing the original?

    1. I have no idea who my friend sold the letter to and I’m only speculating that it is sitting in some drawer or box. I just know that some people who buy these letters are less interested in the contents than they are the postal markings or some other such thing. I’m afraid you’ll have to be satisfied with only seeing a facsimile of the letter. Sorry. — Griff

  4. Are you still online? I don’t see any recent comments and replies. I would like to email about a letter you posted as it is between my great great great grandparents.

  5. Griff
    I am a docent at the Lee-Fendall House Museum in Alexandria, just stumbled upon your 1844 letter that Lucy Eleanor Fendall Wilds wrote to her brother – would love to get a good copy of it to utilize at our house museum in our exhibits – this is the first information we have discovered about Lucy’s life after her first marriage – please contact me via my email.

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