Current Member Exhibition

Correspondence and Letter Writing

In first and second grades I learned to write block lettering and my mother began to have me write thank you notes for gifts and for birthday parties I attended.  In the third grade I advanced to practice the Palmer method of cursive writing with the challenge of being left-handed.  In the eighth grade our teacher gave us a one day outline of good letter writing practices.  Two I recall were never begin a letter with ‘I’ and avoid gossip.

Two years prior on a 1952 tour of Phillips Exeter Academy the Chairman of the English Department gave me some mimeographed pages titled Putting Your Best Foot Forward On Note Paper.  Starting in 1954 I attended the Academy for four years.  We were not allowed to have or use telephones, except in emergencies, so virtually all communication with family and friends was by letter writing which set me  on a path of becoming a correspondent.  

In the early 1990’s I was attracted to a book,  The Polite Letter Writer…, published in London in 1804.  It had remained unsold in a catalogue we had published some years before and it prompted me to begin collecting on the subject for some 20 years.  I also avidly clipped articles and comic strips on letter writing.  The advent of electronic communication, though, more or less, brought my collecting to a close.   My most recent acquisition was published in 2016.  

                                                                                              – Bo Wreden

On view at the Book Club of California from March 1, 2024 to May 13, 2024

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