Written in History: Letters That Changed the World 1

What’s in it for me? Get a glimpse into the thoughts of history’s greatest figures.

Today, most of us communicate over email. Handwritten letters are relics of the past. But until recently, practically all long-distance communication happened through letters. For historians, letters are a goldmine. Notable people, from Hitler and Joseph Stalin to Oscar Wilde, all wrote intimate letters to their friends and loved ones. Some of these letters anticipated world-altering events, like the “red terror” or the civil rights movement. Others detailed anxieties about their sexuality or secret military plans.

In these blinks, we’ll take a journey into the minds of history’s most famous and infamous figures. In some cases, you’ll realize that these people weren’t quite who you thought they were.
On the way, you’ll learn a lesson or two about the power of the written word, and what messages once intended for a select few can tell us about ourselves today.

In these blinks, you’ll learn
• how Mozart used crude jokes to flirt with his cousin;
• the connection between the Smithsonian Institute and the first powered flight; and • why letters are still powerful in the age of the internet.