lists and letters of note

We’ve talked about our love of to-do lists before.  A few years ago, a copywriter in Manchester, England named Shaun Usher came up with the idea to gather letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes and memos that he thought deserving of a wider audience.  He now runs three different sites, Lists of Note, Letters of Note, and Letterheady.  Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like!  He updates with scans of interesting lists, old letters, and beautiful old stationary letterheads from some very interesting people.

Johnny Cash’s list of things to do today. Our favorites are #2: kiss June and #3: not kiss anyone else.

John Lennon wrote this list to his personal assistant at the time.  It was written just months before his death.  #10: Get some nice white flowers and put on Y’s desk (in vase) from ‘Daddy & Sean’.

Upon the end of filming the movie Giant, Elizabeth Taylor gave James Dean a kitten that he named Marcus.  The night before he went to Salinas and met an untimely death, he gave this list to a friend, making sure Marcus never got cold food.

In Letters of Note, there is a treasure trove of  fascinating, revealing, and enlightening letters.  There were so many wonderful ones, it was hard to pick.  In this video about the project, the site is referred to as the first online museum of letters.  And a legitimate form of snooping.  🙂

In 1989, Marianne Brown, a fan of Kurt Vonnegut’s, wrote him a letter after her husband passed away, thanking him for his compassion.  This was his response.  “I told her one time, “I worry about the women.” She said, “Don’t.””

In this letter, we see that even a New York Times journalist on deadline couldn’t pin her down.  “Who do you think you are — Marilyn Monroe?”

This is a letter Audrey Hepburn wrote the Henry Mancini about the score he composed for Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  You are the hippest of cats.

Always a good idea to have cool stationary.


Chuck Jones

International Brotherhood of Magicians

Usher is trying to raise funds to put his invaluable finds together in a book.  Watch the video, pledge support, and learn more about the project at Unbound Books.  The video states, “Letters are the nearest we get to time travel.  The slope of a famous persons handwriting , the crossings out, the misspellings, the texture of the paper.  Pictures of letters allow us to feel connected to a moment of time, the way they were feeling, to what really happened.”

About nosurefooting

Two Sarah Lawrence grads armed with their cameras, who have a penchant for making things pretty, following their eyes, following their hearts, even if they aren't always standing on their own two feet.
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