Personal Correspondence

This magazine’s publication of wrenching wartime letters between the author’s parents brought her to international attention. At the same time, it initiated some very heartfelt conversations with our readers.

I have always had a sense that a war claims many more casualties than those who perish on the battlefields. Each statistic, each white cross or star of David in a military cemetery suggests a mother, a father, a wife, a lover, a child left to grieve. Read more >>

The Johnsons and the Kennedys are popularly thought to have shared a strong mutual dislike, but stacks of letters and a remarkable tape of Jacqueline Kennedy reminiscing show something very different —and more interesting

When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died four months ago, magazine and newspaper articles published around the world celebrated the facts of her life. And the fables too, as it turns out. Read more >>

Extraordinary correspondence, never published before, takes us inside the mind of a military genius. Here is William Tecumseh Sherman in the heat of action inventing modern warfare, grieving the death of his little boy, struggling to hold Kentucky with levies, rolling invincibly across Georgia, and—always—battling the newspapermen whose stories, he believes, are killing his soldiers.

William Tecumseh Sherman,” announced The New York Times near the end of the Civil War, “has surpassed all newspaper correspondents in writing about military affairs...for conciseness, perspicacity and comprehensiveness with brevity he is the perf Read more >>

Two letters from a Navy lieutenant to his wife tell the story of the last hours of World War II

YOKOSUKA 9·4·45 My dear: Read more >>

Happy marriages may have been all alike in the eighteenth century, but the unhappy ones
fought it out in the newspapers

Augoft 2d. 1771. Whereas Hannah, wife Read more >>

Harry Truman’s lifetime correspondence with his adored Bess opens a window on their time

TWO THINGS ABOUT Independence, Missouri, Harry Truman’s town, strike you immediately as different from what you might expect. It isn’t plain, flat Midwestern. And it isn’t hick. Read more >>

Original documents tell the story of a Civil War steamboat captains sorrowful cruise with the most destructive cargo of all

A cache of letters, discovered in 1928 and published in the Atlantic Monthly, proved that Abraham Lincoln had really loved Ann Rutledge. Or did they?

Ann Rutledge, according to the full-blown legend, was Abraham Lincoln’s first and only true love, forever closest to his heart. Read more >>

A World War I soldier writes home about the Christmas holiday in his hospital, "one of the merriest, happiest seasons of my life"

An exasperated Ralph Waldo Emerson said of his rudest, most rebellious—and most brilliant—protégé. Their turbulent relationship survived what one newspaper called “the grossest violation of literary comity and courtesy that ever passed under our notice.”

One Saturday evening early in March, 1842, a twenty-two-year-old journalist named Walter Whitman came to the reading room of the New-York Society Library on Broadway, a few blocks north of City Hall, to hear a public lecture on “The Poet.” He had just been ap Read more >>

A trooper’s firsthand account of an adventure with the
Indian-fighting army in the American Southwest

In the early summer of 1872, Kiowa or Comanche Indians killed and scalped two white ranchers to steal their sixteen-shot Henry rifles. Read more >>

Newly Discovered Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence

Unpublished letters from Dean Acheson to Ex-President Harry Truman

On the afternoon of September 18, 1915, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States and a widower, wrote a brief note that he knew might change the rest of his life. The note, sent by messenger, was for Edith Boiling Galt, to whom he was secretly engaged. Read more >>
“My room mate (tent mate, rather) is Dwight Eisenhower of Abilene, Kansas.…” On JuIy 30, 1911, Paul A. Read more >>
According to Alexander Hamilton, he was with his family in Philadelphia on a certain summer day in 1791 when a young woman called at the door and asked to speak with him in private. Read more >>

“The damn rebels form well”

In December, 1936, Oswald Garrison Villard, longtime liberal editor of The Nation, wrote his friend Representative Maury Maverick ( 1895-1954), of San Antonio, Texas, that he wanted to inform the public of the congressional burdens caused by the New Deal’s economic emphasis. Read more >>

The British commander felt the rebels didn't a real army. But letters he addressed to "George Washington, Esq." were returned to sender.

To begin with, the Presidential libraries do not look like what they are. Each one is, in fact, a miniature Office of Public Records. Read more >>

The lady author modelled her famous fictional creation after her own wonder boy —and condemned a generation of “manly little chaps” to velvet pants and curls

In the November, 1885, issue of St. Read more >>

Thus Margaret Winthrop to her spouse, the governor of the Bay Colony. Her letters—and John’s in reply—reveal behind the cold Puritan exterior a warm and deeply touching relationship

  As Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Charles Evans Hughes was the living embodiment of law and rectitude. But even he had at least one skeleton in his moral closet. It is revealed in two letters written to his parents during his junior year at Brown University, and reprinted from Merlo J. Pusey’s definitive biography. Read more >>

No matter how busy he was, Theodore Roosevelt always found time for his children. The charming “picture” letters below, addressed to his thirteen-year-old son Archie from a Louisiana hunting camp, recall a man who for millions of Americans will always live on, forever vigorous, forever young.

Tenesas Bayou, Oct. 10, 1907. Blessed Archie: I just loved your letter. I was so glad to hear from you. I was afraid you would have trouble with your Latin. What a funny little fellow Opdyke must be; I am glad you like him. How do you get on at football? We have found no bear. I shot a deer; I sent a picture of it to Kermit. Read more >>