Gleanings from the Past #89

Default The credit department of the Hudson’s Bay Co. received this letter from a Canadian farmer: “I got your letter about what I owe. Now be pachant. I ain’t forgot you. When I have the money I will pay you. If this was the Judgment Day and you was no more prepared to meet your […]

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A Short Letter to the Editor

On November 22, 1950, The Providence Journal, a daily newspaper serving Providence, Rhode Island, may have printed the shortest letter on its Letters to the Editor column ever. The letter was introduced with, “The following letter is printed in its entirety.” Here’s the letter: Editor: I am so damn mad I forgot what I was […]

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Literary Rejection Letter

American writer Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946) received the following quaint rejection letter from editor A. J. Fifield: I am only one, only one, only. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one […]

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An Engineered Literary Hoax

In September 1810, Scottish writer Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) wrote a letter to Robert Southey (1774 – 1843) relating about a plagiarism allegation he received from an anonymous individual: A witty rogue, the other day, who sent me a letter subscribed “Detector,” proved me guilty of stealing a passage from one of Vida’s Latin […]

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Gleanings from the Past #82

Wasted Time I wasted time, and now doth time waste me; For now hath time made me his numbering clock: My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch, Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point, Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears. Now sir, […]

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Checks Written in Blood

Charles K. Feldman (left) and Alexander Korda (right) Film producer Charles K. Feldman (1905 – 1968) related this story: I lost at gin rummy with Alexander Korda one evening, and mailed him a check next day. It was written in red ink, and accompanied by this note: “Dear Alex: You will see that this check is written in […]

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Gleanings from the Past #78

Arrière-Pensée Sir, Will you allow me to draw your attention to a very interesting example of the ethics of modern journalism, a quality of which we have all heard so much and seen so little? About a month ago Mr. T. P. O’Connor published in the Sunday Sun some doggerel verses entitled “The Shamrock,” and […]

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Fred Allen’s “Apology” Letter

In 1940, comedian Fred Allen (1894 – 1956), in his radio program, talked about a time he checked into a hotel in Philadelphia where the rooms were so small that a moth had to furl its wings and walk on the floor and even the mice were humpbacked”. This caused Philadelphia’s politicians, tourism board and […]

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Mark Twain’s Complaint Letters

The following is a letter written by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) to Hartford City Gas Light Co.: Gentlemen, There are but two places in our whole street where lights could be of any value, by any accident, and you have measured and appointed your intervals so ingenious as to leave each of those places in […]

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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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