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Letter signed by Joseph Stalin sells for $4,500

A letter signed Russian dictator Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) has sold for $4,500 on AbeBooks. The “confidential” two-page typed letter dates from World War II, and is dated April 1943. It commands the creation of a ‘Major General’ position within the tank section of the Soviet military. Stalin has signed in red, “I, Stalin”  “National Commissar […]

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110 Birthday Honk-Honkers and big Birthday Horns for Dr. Seuss

Theodor Geisel was an American illustrator, poet and author, who rhymed his way into the hearts of adoring children all over the world. But you probably know him by his middle name – Seuss – as in Dr. Seuss. March 2nd is Seuss’ 110th birthday – his Day of all Days, his Best of the Best. Known for his refusal […]

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A Letter from E.B. White – Charlotte the Spider was Real

And now, in news to delight children and adults alike, it turns out there really was a Charlotte the Spider in E.B. White’s life. The news comes from a 1952 letter White wrote to his editor when asked to provide background as to what inspired him to write Charlotte’s Web. His explanation reads as follows: […]

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Mailer to Hemingway: “I suspect you’re even more vain than I am.”

I love this letter that Norman Mailer sent to Ernest Hemingway in 1965, along with a copy of his novel, The Deer Park, which had been rejected multiple times for years before finally being published: TO ERNEST HEMINGWAY —because finally after all these years I am deeply curious to know what you think of this. […]

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Harper to Oprah: A Letter from Harper Lee to Oprah Winfrey

I’ve always admired and respected Harper Lee for being the best literary one hit wonder I’ve ever come across. There is something so noble and restrained about doing something extremely well, and then stopping. I always felt as though she put every ounce of every word she had to say into To Kill a Mockingbird, […]

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A 1917 Letter: Dear Winston Churchill: OMG!

We at AbeBooks do so love a good literary letter. This 1917 example to Winston Churchill, written a year before the end of WWI, includes an early usage of “OMG”. It also includes a lot of exclamation marks. Lord Fisher (I assume naval fleet Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher) was an enthusiastic writer, also seemingly randomly […]

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Kubrick & Clarke: The Letter That Resulted in 2001:A Space Odyssey

Another great find from Letters of Note, this time of the science-fiction variety. In March 1964, legendary film director Stanley Kubrick (who by ’64 already had Lolita, The Killing and Dr. Strangelove under his belt, among others) wrote to also-legendary science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (who had already been Hugo-nominated by then), proposing a […]

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E.B. White’s Love Letter About His Dachshund

It’s easy to love a man who loves his dog. In 1951, E.B. White, author of the beloved children’s stories Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little got in trouble with the SPCA for allegedly not paying the tax to license his daschund, and thus “harboring an unlicensed dog”. The letter he wrote them in return is […]

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A Letter from Ernie Hemingway (and Other Authors Who Went to War)

We have a feature exploring the post-war writing of authors who went to war. Many young men with an urge to write have gone to war and then produced a masterpiece on their return. One such young man was Ernest Hemingway, who fought in World War I. This letter to his family about his experiences […]

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