Letters to Newtown: digitally archiving sympathy cards sent to town after school shooting massacre

In Mother Jones, the story behind "Letters to Newtown." This project was instigated by Boardwalk Empire prop-master, freelance illustrator, and Newtown resident Ross MacDonald, and it serves to digitally archive some of the half million cards, letters, and drawings sent to the town of Newtown, CT after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Jacques Hebert of Mother Jones, the magazine putting this all together with Tumblr, explains, "These messages of love, hope, and sadness have been on display in Newtown Town Hall, and have been viewed by many residents. To broaden access to these cards and preserve them as memories of what Newtown residents and the nation experienced on that tragic day, Mother Jones in partnership with Tumblr is launching the 'Letters to Newtown' project."

"The project will aim to digitally preserve these cards (the town of Newtown can't afford to store them any longer and many will be turned into ash for a future memorial site) by photographing them and uploading them to a special Tumblr for the world to see."

"We are overwhelmed," MacDonald writes in his post. "Residents like me, who were lucky enough to have our children come home that night; town leaders struggling to support the community and deal with the deluge of letters, toys, school supplies, and other donations sent to Newtown; and the volunteers who have been opening and sorting it all."

"In their shock and grief, people were compelled to make these intensely raw, personal expressions, and send them to a town they probably hadn't heard of before, not knowing if they would even reach us. They offered help, love, condolences, prayers. They came from children, parents, families, school classes, church groups, soldiers, mayors, survivors, inmates, and entire towns. The letters on display at town hall form a massive tapestry of a world's sorrow."

They're launching the Tumblr with 25 images, and adding 6 new ones every day.

(via Mike Mechanic)

Discuss

3 Responses to “Letters to Newtown: digitally archiving sympathy cards sent to town after school shooting massacre”

  1. picaflor says:

    oh my goodness, that letter to Santa…

  2. peregrinus says:

    Children are so beautiful.  I’d be all stilted and welled up if I expressed these thoughts without my civic filter on.

  3. karl knox says:

    I wouldn’t be able to cope – don’t know how the survivors keep going.

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