Letters of Note, the book

Above, a rare letter by Walt Disney, featured on Letters of Note, a neat blog that gathers and sorts fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. Shaun Usher, the guy who runs Letters of Note, wants to produce a book.

A Letters of Note book. A beautifully bound, satisfyingly weighty book filled with many of the website's best letters, plus a selection previously unseen. It will be lovingly made using thick, uncoated paper — the perfect material on which to print reproductions of such amazing correspondence. As with this website, each image will be accompanied by an introduction and a faithful transcription.

The letter collection includes:

• Hunter S. Thompson’s furious memo to a film executive that starts 'Listen, you lazy bitch…'
• Steve Martin’s 'personalised' form letter to a fan
• The letter of a Kamikaze pilot to his two young children, written the night before his mission
• A 9th century form letter from China used to apologise for having drunk too much at a dinner party
• A memo about some of the surprising candidates for Star Trek: The next generation William Safire’s memo containing a speech for president Nixon to deliver if the Apollo 11 mission failed and the astronauts were lost.
• A heartbreaking series of letters from a 31 year-old women with dementia desperately trying to contact her husband from a German asylum in 1909
• Aldous Huxley's wife Laura giving a moving account of her husband’s death to his brother Julian in 1963
• A fan letter from Stanley Kubrick to Ingmar Bergman in 1960
• A letter from Albert Einstein to a theologian describing God as a 'human weakness'
• The remarkably polite correspondence between Marge Simpson and former First Lady, Barbara Bush

There's a wonderful "pitch video" here at Unbound. Read more about the project, and pledge your support if you, like me, dig it.

Like Walt says in the letter above, don't hesitate! Do it now. Incidentally, the Disney letter above sold for $247,800.00 in May of this year. I don't know how much the Letters of Note book will sell for, but it'll be less than that.


  1. On publishing a book – wouldn’t it be incredibly difficult to get all the rights from various sources to publish all these letters?

  2. Walt convincing Ub Iwerks to leave KC and move to LA is a landmark event; without that letter there would have been no Multi-Plane Animation Camera,  no use of Xerography in cel animation, no Flip the Frog or Little Black Sambo cartoons, no Clarabelle Cow or Horace Horsecollar, and most importantly, no Mickey Mouse!

  3. I wish someone would publish H. P. Lovecraft’s correspondence.  That would be a fascinating book to read.

  4. Amazing what stuff has been thrown away over the years. A retiree I met on many occasions over coffee told me about her time working at Buena Vista distributions at one of their hubs in Kansas City. It was standard practice to just take boxes of a certain age and send them out to be burned. When they came across an old closet of forgotten papers she convinced her bosses to let her go through everything before trashing them. It was the 1970s and she found two letters by Walt along with some rare movie memorabilia, photos and gimme items for Pinocchio and the like. The stuff got framed and hung around the offices. One or two pieces made it back to the Disney Studios — Walt’s letters I believe.  

    Hate to think what they did destroy and what is gone for good before she showed up.

  5. Note one of the closing lines – Walt says essentially, “Say hello to your Mother,” 80 odd years before Marky Mark “coined” it…

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