What does your stationery say about you? In today's age of emails and texts, letter writing verges on lost art. However, most people still like to receive mail from loved ones.
The vast array of gorgeous stationery sets and personalized greeting cards available on Etsy are reason enough to bring back the art of letter. Send a spontaneous love note or mail a professional letter with stationery that will be just as sweet or impressive as the sentiments you include.
Need a set to start with? Check out the following beautiful stationery handpicked by us.
Scroll on for some stationery and card sets that will have you ready to write your own letters.
Woodland Stationery Set
The Misty Mountains
“Aged” Letter-sized Leaflets
A Peony for Prose
Personalized and Natural
Vintage Airmail Envelopes
Textured and Brilliant
The Antique Art of Marbling
Add Your Own Vintage Message
Handmade and Historic
Why carry on the tradition of written correspondence?
Correspondence by mail has played an important role in the development of science, art, and politics since ancient days. In the Renaissance and through the Age of Revolutions, many of the brightest minds in Europe and the Americas came together in an elaborate network of correspondence known as the Republic of Letters. In the Enlightenment, men of letters (and even some women) shared their ideas through their writings—many of which have since been extensively studied and published. A phenomenon with medieval routes, great minds writing to one another became critical to modern concepts such as human rights and mathematical number theory.
Stanford University has a project entitled Mapping the Republic of Letters. The mapped correspondence metadata shows the extent of the flow of ideas. For example, the philosopher Voltaire wrote about 19,000 letters in his lifetime. By mapping only 10% of those letters, the team has discovered he was surprisingly unconnected to England versus other areas of Europe. Letters such as “On the Advantages of Civilisation and Literature” (written to Rousseau) are available online to be studied by the thoughtful students of today.
The Republic of Letters allowed for the discussion of observations and principles which facilitated the discoveries of the Scientific Revolution. The letters of Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal, and Pierre de Fermat are just some of the correspondence collections which changed the history of STEM. The practice of letter writing has always been intertwined with the history of the exchange of ideas.
Famous Letter Writers
After the prolific scribblers of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, the modern age can boast many legendary letter writers. Their works are in archives and printed in collected volumes. Many names will be familiar from the canons of literature. You can peruse the letters of the budding yet troubled Ernest Hemingway in The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 1, 1907-1922. John Steinbeck, too, left behind letters which illuminated his thoughts and life—available now as Steinbeck: A Life in Letters. Meanwhile, the letter-writing career of Virginia Wolf started as young as six and spanned the rest of her life, covering two volumes.
Within the art world, modern readers may be interested in the back and forth of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. The artistic mind is further exposed by the letters of Vincent van Gogh. Other collections of correspondence are emblematic of both art and the era—for example, the letters of Langston Hughes which address his experiences in the Harlem Renaissance and the Red Scare. Even the political collections can be fascinating; some document a history that has long been unseen, as found in Dear Mr. President: Letters to the Oval Office from the Files of the National Archives.
As windows to the soul and mind, letters of strangers can be especially fascinating. Soothe your soul or gift a loved one with Love Letters, Lost (a collection of found notes) or a historical approach with Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience has a little something for everyone, from the historian to the romantic. Whatever collection of correspondence you peruse, each is a testament to the importance of the art of letters—to history, to art, to human connection. Are you ready to start writing and create your own?