Thematic album for the World Letter Writing Day

The 11th of November is traditionally marked as Paper Letter Writing Day. The holiday was established on the initiative of the Association of Writing Instrument Manufacturers*. Why was this holiday invented? Apparently, to remind us of the wonderful opportunity to put on paper and share our thoughts plans for the future or sympathy for the addressee.

Even 30-40 years ago, everyone received postcards or letters with congratulations from relatives and friends, sometimes containing photos or dried flowers. This is how people communicated — in the paper letters they shared interesting and important moments of their lives. These messages are a real treasure trove of information for historians. Many facts from the lives of both prominent personalities and ordinary people are known to us from the preserved correspondence. Thanks to these letters, it is possible to reconstruct the events of ancient times, to refresh memories, and to plunge into the atmosphere of bygone days.

For a long time letters remained the only mode for people to communicate at a distance. The letters were highly valued for their style, turn of phrase and glossy design. Every word was thought out, and it was desirable to fit all events, emotions and feelings in one letter. Paper letters were so widespread that a special genre emerged in literature - epistolary (from Greek epistola - epistle, letter). Literary works were created in epistolary form, for example, "Letters of a Russian Traveler" by N. Karamzin, "A Novel in Letters" by A. Pushkin, "Selected Places from Correspondence with Friends" by N. Gogol, "Poor People" by F. Dostoevsky and others. Epistolary genre in literature is a special artistic technique that helps to create a psychological portrait of a character. Correspondence (particularly love correspondence) of famous people occupy a special place in literature, history, psychology and pedagogy. They continue to be published and reissued even nowadays. It is difficult to find something more beautiful, exciting, touching than these flawless examples of reflecting in words the range of feelings and emotions experienced! Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Anna Dostoevskaya, Vladimir Mayakovski and Lilya Brik, Ivan Turgenev and Pauline Viardot, Vladimir and Vera Nabokov.... the list goes on ad infinitum.

It is believed that the most widely circulated letter in the world was a message from Columbus to the Queen of Spain, informing her of his discoveries. In 1992, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America, it was translated into 500 languages and dialects.

Contemporary people associate the word "letter" with computers, the Internet, e-mail, and social networks. It is true; we do not write paper letters to our relatives, friends and family in the epoch of the internet. Electronic messages have replaced all kinds of correspondence. It is easier to write a short SMS (Short Message Service), which will reach the addressee instantly. Nevertheless, it is on the internet that communities of paper letter lovers are formed. For example, the site "Your Letters" was created several years ago.

The main page of the site states, "On our site we exchange addresses, opinions and organize interesting exchanges of letters in the form of postal games. If you want to try what an ordinary paper letter is, or you haven't used this kind of communication for a long time, then register and write to someone ..." 
But this is, of course, is only a cute hobby for a limited number of concerned people.

It is an undeniable fact that both paper and electronic letters have their advantages and disadvantages, and that the achievements of scientific and technological progress are gradually replacing paper letters from our lives. Nevertheless, they will forever remain a significant part of the humanity cultural heritage.

Of course, progress is unstoppable — the millennia-old history of the handwritten letter is living out its last days. But an unusual holiday — Paper Letter Writing Day — is celebrated with gusto in many countries around the world. Today, to join the celebration, just grab a pen and paper and write to your correspondent how you are doing. Put the letter in an envelope, sign it and mail it to surprise the recipient.

Thematic album for World Paper Writing Day is posted in the museum Photo Gallery.

* the Writing Instruments Manufacturers Association (WIMA)