Friday, April 9

Letters From Great-Grandmother

This letter was once held by Great-Grandmother's hands.  The light scent of her lotion fading from these pages, though still evident, is feared to disappear.  Her meticulous handwriting reveals the coordinated efforts of her heart and hand.  Once arriving as faithfully as the rising sun, I am now at loss without her weekly handwritten letter.  Evermore, will there be mere veteran issues to survey in these treasures, though rediscover I shall, this time, reading between every line.  Eternally grateful, I will be, of the time she took to communicate her gentle spirit, revealing her thoughts and letting me know in a tangible way that I was cherished.

In Loving Memory of Grandma.
Tracey Elaine

The darling painting is named La Lettre by French painter Émile Munier (1840–1895)


Thursday, April 8

National Card and Letter Writing Month

Spring is a time of hope and renewal, and the U.S. Postal Service has a message to everyone who needs to reinvigorate relationships or rekindle romance: “Touch them with a letter they can feel — and keep.”
April is National Card and Letter Writing Month.

To mark this special time of creative correspondence and the friendly exchange of passionate, poignant prose, the Postal Service is extending this popular campaign by carrying it over into May, culminating with the writing and sending of cards and letters for Mother’s Day, May 9.

“National Card and Letter Writing Month is an opportunity for all Americans to rediscover the timeless and very personal art of letter writing.  Both in times of peace and conflict, cards and letters are the most effective way to share and permanently record our thoughts, prayers, hopes and dreams.”
As quoted by Postmaster General John E. Potter.

Since the beginning of recorded history, famous people, have written letters that helped shape the destinies of entire nations. By putting their thoughts on paper, some of the most powerful figures of all time created memoirs that not only withstand the test of time but also serve as guidelines for today’s youth. This month, post offices across the country will be sponsoring a variety of projects with local libraries and schools to promote literacy while teaching students about the lasting importance of written correspondence.

Teachers may be interested in developing lessons on letter writing that also discuss the historical significance of many of the people, places and things honored on U.S. commemorative postage stamps. Background information on current stamps can be found in the Collector’s Corner at the Postal Store or at the American Philatelic Society.
Since 1775, the U.S. Postal Service has connected friends, families, neighbors and businesses by mail. An independent federal agency that visits 137 million homes and businesses every day, it is the only service provider to deliver to every address in the nation. The Postal Service receives no taxpayer dollars for routine operations, but derives its operating revenues solely from the sale of postage, products and services. With annual revenues of more than $66 billion, it is the world’s leading provider of mail and delivery services, offering some of the most affordable postage rates in the world.


Wednesday, April 7

Recapturing the Lost Art of the Handwritten Letter

Even before Great-Grandfather was toddling years ago, the only way to communicate with far away family and friends was to create a handwritten letter and send it away en post. The letter was crafted to be deserving of its cost to create. The expense of paper, ink, envelope and postage were occasionally proven to be a hindrance to the communication of isolated families with their folks. US postage rates in 1792 were at 6 cents per one sheet letter to a recipient not exceeding 30 miles away. Prices then increased incrementally until one was paying 25 cents for single letters to go to recipients more than 400 miles away.

In 1850, farming wages are estimated to have been as low as a paltry $0.40 per day in some of the more depressed areas of the country. In such cases, when the family trade garnered so little income, the stipend for entertainment was simply nonexistent. Certainly, postage allotted for casual letters to family or friends was regarded as a luxury with a prohibitive price.

By 1851, the cost of posting a letter was lowered to 3 cents per ½ ounce and could be sent up to 3000 miles away. This proved more affordable, but still, on a farm income, which had the potential to be meager and infrequent, postage stamps, stationery, and supplies were not guaranteed sundries. On occasion, more affluent relatives would send writing supplies and postage to help ease the prohibitive costs, which would otherwise inhibit the flow of precious correspondence.

Current postal rates do not demand nearly as large a percentage of our daily income as they once had. Yet, the fierce competition the Internet has waged with the postal service has given consumers a considerable edge with regard to the speed of delivery of their communications, and “snail mail” has become the widely accepted offending slang term used for the current US postal service. Crafting a note and sending it via digital means is certainly faster than old fashioned habits, but letters received in such a manner are robbed of some of the most charming personal aspects that are present in a handwritten letter. The rewards of a personal letter in the mail box are innumerable, and sadly, those rewards are largely missing today.

Dear Readers,

The challenge is to recapture the lost art of the handwritten letter.

Tracey Elaine

P.S. The image is of the first general issue United States 10 cent Postage stamp from July 1, 1847.


The Art of Letter Writing

"I have now attained the true art of letter-writing, which we are always told, is to express on paper exactly what one would say to the same person by word of mouth; I have been talking to you almost as fast as I could the whole of this letter."

As written by Jane Austen in one of the many letters she sent to her sister Cassandra. Dated January 3, 1801.

The image is of the controversial Rice Portrait of Jane Austen, by British society painter Ozias Humphry (1742-1810).  It is one of the single most disputatious and intriguing literary portraits in existence.


About Me

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I am a loving and grateful wife to a wonderful man, and aspire to be ever-more nurturing as Momma to our wonderful little boy. I am inspired by vintage and antique eras, which motivate my personal creativity. I am a Jane-of-all-trades around home, and find pleasure in all manners of good homemaking skills.

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