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No “Dear John” Letters Here

I recently rescued a box of letters, correspondence between a wife and her GI husband during WWII, from the precarious future at the hands of a flea market peddler. Two of their letters are presented here. Frances always began her letters to Melvin the same way – “My Darling Husband.” Melvin’s favorite salutation to Frances […]

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Montgomery Ward for Hearth and Home

When it’s the summer of 1915 and you live in rural West Virginia, where to shop boiled down to two choices, Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. These two mail-order behemoths were the country’s repository of all things — a consumer’s wonderland in catalog form. Whatever the need, from simple sewing notions to formidable build-it-yourself house […]

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The doctor knows best.

Famed neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks passed away this week. Through his ground-breaking work and numerous books, this remarkable man touched the lives of countless individuals and their families. The Academy Award-nominated movie, “Awakening,” was based on his book of the same name. In it he describes his pioneering work with neurologically damaged patients. […]

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“Postcard” from the past

This 1844 letter describing a pleasure trip up the New Jersey coast to New York City, and points north, aboard the Steamboat Independence, is laden with sights and sounds of a time departed. It invites us into a world of tall ships and the quiet villages surrounding what today is the most iconic city in […]

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The Telegram

This one, written in the normally abrupt syntax of Western Union, is from a daughter concerning her mother. In Dorothy’s message, the first seven words cradle her worry and distress. “MOTHER DID NOT ARRIVE WHERE IS SHE,” typed in caps, without punctuation nor sentiment, by a Western Union operator and hand delivered by a messenger. […]

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