Letters that have survived through time give a glimpse into the daily lives and thoughts of the people who scribed a message to friends and family members. Many letters recount a wish for more frequent correspondence that speaks to the desire for more human interaction in times of social isolation. Travel was more difficult in the past and news from loved ones far away was conveyed through letter writing. Details like dates, geographic locations, names and relationships were revealed in the text of letters. A written note often included weather and general circumstances of health and prosperity. A job might be described or a plan for travel to a different location forecast in the body of a letter.
The clues hidden in plain sight in the lines of a letter can give important information leading researchers to pursue theories and uncover storylines of a family’s history. Significant events in the lives of people were recorded through letters. Reports of births, marriages and deaths were included in letters. Careers and vocations were often mentioned when writing to others. Community events would be described in correspondence.
The Middleville and District Museum has several old letters that give insight into the lives of people at different times. Be sure to take a few minutes to read some of these old relics that have a story to tell on your next visit to the Museum. To find out what letters are available for reading, check out the Letters Index.
This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.