Few historical texts seem as familiar – or as compelling to read – as personal letters and manuscripts. Plain-spoken, lively, and full of details, they emerge directly from the writer, fresh and intimate, and bring us close to who that person was. They show how people in the past expressed faith, traditions, ideals, hopes, worries, and common sense. They make us curious to explore differences in culture and expressive styles, in what people felt needed saying and what did not. These differences in turn point to historical changes and continuities in beliefs, theology, traditions and notions of self, work, and values.
Special Collections is honored to have many collections containing personal letters and manuscripts in our care. Here are just a few of our holdings.