Getting His Money’s Worth

In 1930, a man from Boston wrote the following amusing letter to The Christian Science Monitor, a weekly periodical: Dear Sir, When I subscribed a year ago you stated that if I was not satisfied at the end of the year I could have my money back. Well, I would like to have it back. On second thought, […]

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A Customer’s Suggestion

Stanley Marcus (left), Herbert Marcus (right) A well-meaning customer of Neiman-Marcus, an American chain of luxury department stores, sent the following letter to Stanley Marcus: Dear Mr. Marcus, I have been receiving beautiful and expensive brochures from you at regular intervals. It occurs to me that you might divert a little of the fortune you […]

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Writing His Own Termination Letter

When novelist Sherwood Anderson felt that he wasn’t happy with his job anymore, he opted to fire himself by writing a termination letter for himself. The letter was addressed to Bayard Barton, his general manager, and it was dated June 25, 1918: Dear Barton, You have a man in your employ that I have thought […]

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Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Minor Investment

Franklin D. Roosevelt (left) and Jesse H. Jones (right) In 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a memorandum titled “F.D.R. miscellany (memorandum in F.D.R.L.)” to his Federal Loan Administrator Jesse H. Jones regarding a minor investment — in horse racing: Reference Elliot Roosevelt (Editor) (1950). F.D.R: His Personal Letters 1928-1945.  

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Practical Chemistry

Image: Trip Advisor Former MIT Physics ptofessor Anthony P. French received a short letter in 1982 from a writer in New Rochelle, New York. It went as follows: Being a safety minded individual I thought I would write you before experimenting on my own. Is it safe to mix Antipasto and Pasta together and could […]

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A Very Grateful Passenger

The following is a quaint and rather amusing letter received by a general manager of a motor omnibus company located in the “north of the Trent”. It was penned by an anonymous passenger who wrote “The Royal Infirmary” as the return address:

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A Complaint Letter From Ancient Babylonia

A tablet unearthed in 1953 contained what could be one of the oldest complaints letters. It is estimated that the letter was written in 1750 BC. So, it can be said that people have been writing complaint letters at least 3750 years ago. The tablet is now displayed in the British Museum.

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Benjamin Franklin On Ignorance

While browsing on franklinpapers.org, I stumbled upon a letter written by Benjamin Franklin to John Lining of South Carolina, dated March 18, 1755. Franklin’s perspective about admitting one’s ignorance caught my attention: I find a frank acknowledgment of one’s ignorance is not only the easiest way to get rid of a difficulty, but the likeliest […]

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Rough and Tough

There had been many verses written over the years that talk about the intricacies of English pronunciation. The following verse from The Mixture of Low Spirits (1875) is just one of many:

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Gleanings From The Past #57

Ingenious Postmen The following ludicrous direction to a letter was copied verbatim from the original and interesting document: too dad Tomas hat the ole oke otchut I O Bary pade Sur plees to let ole feather have this sefe. The letter found the gentleman at ‘The Old Oak Orchard, Tenbury.’ In another letter, the writer, […]

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