Civil War Interactive Discussion Board Home
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register


Letters and the internet - Idle Chit-Chat - The Lounge - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
 Moderated by: javal1
 New Topic   Reply   Printer Friendly 
 Rate Topic 
AuthorPost
 Posted: Thu Dec 6th, 2007 01:02 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
1st Post
Doc C
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 1st, 2006
Location:  Eastern Shore, Maryland USA
Posts: 822
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Just another one of my random thoughts. In my current readings of the American Revolution, a great deal of the information is provided by the letters of our founding fathers. These pieces of history are priceless not only b/o the information they provide but by the richness of their prose. In addition, I don't want to exclude those letters written during the cw. There are numerous criticisms of our modern day emails, blogs, tm, etc. However, aren't we writing, composing our thoughts, communicating (as our ancestors did).
In my case, I know I'm doing much more of this than I did in the past when this modern marvel wasn't available.

Doc C



 Posted: Thu Dec 6th, 2007 02:44 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
2nd Post
David White
Member


Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 909
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Unfortunately today too many are just throwing it out there unrefined and unedited, which is not what our ancestors did.  They had the time to make it read just so before sending or publishing.



 Posted: Thu Dec 6th, 2007 03:41 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
3rd Post
Doc C
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 1st, 2006
Location:  Eastern Shore, Maryland USA
Posts: 822
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Agree with your comment David. Just finished reading Abigail Adams letters to Jefferson which were initiated by Abigail's deep sorrow in learning of the death of Jefferson's daughter during childbirth. Abigail had baby sat for her while Jefferson and Adams were diplomats in England and France. Initially starts out understanding Jefferson's grief but eventually leads to both accusing each other of their political sins.

Doc C



 Posted: Sun Dec 9th, 2007 03:00 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
4th Post
Don
Member


Joined: Thu Nov 15th, 2007
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
Posts: 111
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Doc,

Your post brought an interesting thought to mind. Letters are a goldmine of primary source information on the Civil War. While that which goes on the internet never really goes away, email does. After a few days or weeks, it gets deleted unless someone archives it or prints it (when it basically becomes a letter from a historical standpoint). My point is this: with email instead of mail, I would say we're leaving less rather than more information of that sort for future generations.



 Posted: Mon Dec 10th, 2007 08:33 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
5th Post
Dixie Girl
Southern Belle


Joined: Thu Oct 25th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 850
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

If we are writing emails we are basically writing letters. The only differences are it gets there faster and we have technology.



____________________
War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


 Posted: Mon Dec 10th, 2007 08:38 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
6th Post
Doc C
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 1st, 2006
Location:  Eastern Shore, Maryland USA
Posts: 822
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Don

Emails may be deleted but can be (don't ask me how) can be "rediscovered".

Doc C



You have chosen to ignore Bama46. click Here to view this post


 Posted: Mon Dec 10th, 2007 10:31 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
8th Post
Doc C
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 1st, 2006
Location:  Eastern Shore, Maryland USA
Posts: 822
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Bama46

I agree somewhat with your statement, "replies tend to be off the cuff and full of inacuracies, mispellings, gramatical errors and shallow thoughts/research," however, I do find some of the posts/replies to be backed by information available in the literature and even though I don't always agree, I do find them thought provoking. We're not (hopefully not being too presumptuous), including myself, academic researchers or historians but individuals who enjoy discussing a topic which interests us. So hopefully people who view my posts would be forgiving in reading the more serious of my posts.
In one of his letters shortly after Gettysburg to I believe Halleck, Lincoln kept misspelling a certain word which the post went on to say was a frequent mistake of his part. Thus, grammatical errors, misspellings, etc., have been with us for centuries and to go one further probably missed points, misstated facts, etc. IF ONLY OUR ANCESTORS COULD HAVE HAD THE EDIT KEY.

Doc C

Last edited on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 10:33 pm by Doc C



You have chosen to ignore Bama46. click Here to view this post


 Posted: Tue Dec 11th, 2007 01:19 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
10th Post
ole
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 2027
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Know of a fellow who takes his time (not on this board). Works up a reply on a word processor, edits and polishes it, and posts it the next day.

As incomprehensible and ungrammatical as we can get on this board, with lousy spelling and all, every one of y'all beats the heck out his writing. It's gotten to where I don't read his posts anymore -- it's just to much work to figure out what he's talking about. (Printed out one of his posts sometime back, intending to answer it in detail -- 33 full pages in small type! Still haven't read it.)

ole



 Posted: Tue Dec 11th, 2007 12:11 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
11th Post
susansweet
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 4th, 2005
Location: California USA
Posts: 1420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Bama , that would be Andrew Jackson that had the quote on spelling .  It seems that it gets quoted in different ways but has the same meaning .  The way I heard it first was "it's a damned poor man that can only spell a word one way. "  I used that and another quote by an English historial Eileen Powers on the writing of 13th Century England to explain my spelling program to the parents of my first graders at back to school night after I attended several workshops on spelling

Since then I have also read Bell Wiley's Johnny Reb where he has a chapter on writing and spelling and a list of often mispelled words that the soldiers had in their letters. 

Larry McMurtry has a book of essays on the West called Sacagawea's Nickname .  In one of the Essays on Lewis and Clark he talks about Clarks's struggle to spell the word Sioux.  Clark spelled it 22 different ways. 

He discribes Clark's struggle with spelling thus, "Clark was one of the most difiant, as well as most inventive spellers  ever to attempt to use the English Language . . . . Despite his constant disregard for all orthographical rules Clark is never unclear; he is just exercising his right as an American to say things his own way.

I love reading these kinds of quotes as I have never been a good speller and after reading first graders spelling for almost 30 years I am never sure how a word should be spelled. 

By the way the book and the workshop I attended on spelling was called Spel is a Four Letter Word. 



 Posted: Wed Dec 12th, 2007 05:27 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
12th Post
Dixie Girl
Southern Belle


Joined: Thu Oct 25th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 850
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I like email. Its just as personal as a letter and it gets the job done. It will tell you everything you would write in a letter and it doesnt take as long to write



____________________
War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


 Posted: Thu Dec 13th, 2007 02:43 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
13th Post
David White
Member


Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 909
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Dixie:

That "doesn't take as long" is exactly why e-mails and electronic communication do not seem to be as well crafted as letters.  A handwritten letter or paper takes time to compose and if you are going for appearance was probably written twice as cross outs and carrets are eliminated.  Holding a letter in one's hand that was crafted by hand and  taken to perfection by a loved one or personal acquantance is much more personal than viewing typed words on a flickering screen, IMO.

I had two cribs for my children one was a mass manufactured and one was crafted by hand by my father, both were functional and both did the job.  I'll let you guess which one is more valuable to my family and we still have.



You have chosen to ignore Bama46. click Here to view this post


 Posted: Thu Dec 13th, 2007 03:51 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
15th Post
Dixie Girl
Southern Belle


Joined: Thu Oct 25th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 850
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

In todays society people dont have time to hand write letters.
Email gets the same job done as a letter. You can print out a email and keep it just like a letter.



____________________
War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


 Posted: Thu Dec 13th, 2007 03:57 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
16th Post
Dixie Girl
Southern Belle


Joined: Thu Oct 25th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 850
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Dont get me wrong a letter is more personal. My papa made my changing table and a lot of my baby stuff. I still have them. My little brother had store bought stuff we sold them. People do tend to keep hand made stuff.



____________________
War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


 Posted: Thu Dec 13th, 2007 04:20 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
17th Post
susansweet
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 4th, 2005
Location: California USA
Posts: 1420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

In the 60's I wrote to three friends.  Well one was a penpal.(remember them?)  One was in college in the East , the penpal, one was in Europe studying , he ended up on the drug trail in Kabul down and out, the third was a medic in Vietnam. 

I have a box with all these letters in them.  I have always said I would love to have them published and call it  Coming of Age in the 60's .  Then penpal always typed his letters.  Every month a letter would arrive , This went on for 6 years.  The letters were always typed .  I longed for a handwritten letter from him to see what is writing looked like.  Finally as we got to know each other over the years he started writing his letters .  Those are the ones that mean the most to me.  I then knew he wrote with a strong hand. You could feel the paper where he had pressed hard while writing .  Very neatly printed in small block letters. 

I second friend as the letters continued to arrive I could see my his handwriting his descent into the drug culture at the time.  One of the last ones was written in Crayon wishing me a Merry Christmas.

The third friend started writing his letters when he was in training to be a medic.  They continued on for a while from Vietnam until he started seeing major combat.  Then the letters stopped except for a card to say he could not live in two worlds at the same time and so could not write as he could never share what he was exerienced over there.  His handwritten letters are still a treasure.  Six , seven eight pages or ramblings written sometimes while he was in a class.  Not only did he fill the pages , he would write up the side and down the other .  Evey bit of space was filled . One of his letters from Vietnam had the notes What it's like in Nam. . 1. It sucks,2. It sucks bad, 3. It sucks really bad.  Each of these lines was written a little larger. 

The good news is this man came home, married his girl friend and let a good life .  No it wasn't me.  lol.  We were just buddies.  I will tell you though he brought his wife to meet me soon after they were married.  He told her my letters and packages helped keep him going over there.  

Flash forward to today.  I could have been emailing each of these guys.  If I was I would not have seen the clues in the way the letters were written as to changes in personalities as they hand wrote their letters.  I alway felt the letters Rich hand wrote were more personal .  The ones Bobby wrote showed his descent into drugs, by the changes in his handwriting , and the using of crayon to write.  Last I heard of him he was living in an ashram in Canada. 

The penpal after six years and changes in his life from college to navy - officer on a ship, stopped writing , have no idea what happened to Rich. always wondered.  Even have tried to google his name. 

My point I guess is these letters first of all would never have been saved and printed out  if they had been emailed.   Many of them would never have been written.   Did they have the time to write them?  Not really, they took the time.  They made the time in their busy lives to write letters expressing their feelings about what they were experiencing .  I took my time to write letters back.  Sometimes I wish I had my letters too.

Emails are just not the same.  I have written old friends by email , I have had email "penpals".  I started saving their emails but never continue.  As I upgraded computers even the emails I saved disappeared.  Just not the same at all

Susan



 Posted: Thu Dec 13th, 2007 04:26 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
18th Post
susansweet
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 4th, 2005
Location: California USA
Posts: 1420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I also have the handwritten letters my father wrote to my mother before they met. They were penpals during WW2. He had very sloppy writing but he filled page after page telling the young woman who wrote to him about his exeriences in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor. He says to her he is afraid she won't write back after she sees his handwriting . Her first letter was done in her neat school teacher writing that looks so perfect it looks like print. I have that first letter of hers to him too. They wrote for three months, he came to Los Angeles met her and in December 1942 married her . All started with handwritten letters.
Susan



 Current time is 03:56 pm
Top




UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2008 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.2081 seconds (12% database + 88% PHP). 29 queries executed.