Great-Uncle Henry Kantrowitz to on the Occasion of Their 100th Letter

The partly cloudy season here is nearly intolerable.

Greetings from beyond the grave!

Not really. I ran into some trouble with taxes–who knew you have to pay taxes on income you earn legally?–and staged my own death. That was a dummy thrown off that bull at the Snake River Stampede Rodeo. Still, I’m not sorry my letter collection ended up in your capable hands. (Though I am sorry the house and all of my effects went to Bruiser, my pit bull, who hasn’t written to me once.)

I’ve been enjoying myself in [location removed], where the sun is always shining (unless it’s the annual partly cloudy season from May to June) and I finally have some people to talk about slave-owning with. Occasionally, if my good swimsuit is damp or the houseboy Simon is upset with me, I retreat to my Internet Room, and visit It is pleasant to read through my old collection. A few letters always make me smile, like:

1) A High-Ranking Illuminati Official to the New Recruits, 1994

2) God to Adam and Eve

3) Zeng Guofan to General Tso Tsung-t’ang, 1864

4) The RIAA to Rebecca Black, 2010

5) Shigeru Miyamoto to Gunpei Yokoi, 1983

6) The Universe to Ben Fudman, July 2011

7) The First Email Ever Successfully Sent, 1971

…and too many others to mention. Congratulations on 100 well-explicated letters!

Now and then I do miss the feel of cool, crisp paper under my fingerprintless fingertips. Here in [location removed], they don’t use letters. They simply shout whatever they want to say, and if the person they wanted to contact isn’t within range, too bad for him. Some of the love shouts are quite tender.

All my love,

Your Great-Uncle Henry


It’s hard to believe that History of the Letter is already 100 posts old. When we started this noble endeavor, the bank said our money would run out after six letters. Little did they know the power of knowledge, information, and the internet. That this letter would arrive via carrier pigeon the day before we were set to analyze another letter about Cricket can only be attributed to fate. I suppose we should have pressed harder when no body was found at the site of Great-Uncle Henry’s death, but the police said it was best to leave the past in the past. I guess we’ve shown them all.

Interestingly, the location in this letter was not redacted by us. Apparently, there’s a minimum amount of money you have to have stashed in offshore accounts before your computer can print the name of this island. Rumors of such an island have been said to exist since the Greek oligarchs invented “Atlantis:

Oh, yeah, it’s made completely of gold and it’s nothing but teenage boys, slave women, and meat. But it’s under water, so don’t go looking for it or anything. We’ll let you know if we find anything.

-Pericles, writing c. 475 BCE

Does such an island exist? We can only speculate, as Mitt Romney isn’t talking. Still, even if those of us who live in regular countries with names are destined to never find this mystical place, we can take pride in the work we do. Speaking personally, when I was a wee lad, I received a letter from Santa Claus. This was surprising, as my family was Jewish, but I read it anyway. Though it was meant for someone called “Sandra Day O’Connor,” I could never forget the texture, the structure, the inky smudges that graced the paper like the brush strokes of a lesser Impressionist. I knew from that day that I was destined to study these great creations. Now, with 100 letters analyzed and archives covering a great deal of the state of Rhode Island, I can firmly say that my lifelong dream can come true every Tuesday and Thursday. And unlike Great-Uncle Henry, I can say it was done with the help of almost no slaves.


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