“Tucked away in attics, closets, and basements throughout this country are millions of letters written by men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces….” says the opening line on the “Letters” page of the website for the Center for American War Letters.
A relatively new entity, the Center for American War Letters was established in 2014, when Andrew Carroll donated the vast collection of war letters he had started in 1998 (known as The Legacy Project), to Chapman University in California. The Center is performing a valuable service to the nation by preserving letters from soldiers, and their loved ones, from the nation’s earliest days to the present.
It is also providing people who are downsizing their homes and don’t know what to do with the stashes of old letters they find in the process with a wonderful solution to the problem, by providing a home where they will safely preserved, and can contribute to a better understanding of our history, especially as seen from the point of view of the “ordinary” men and women who have served the nation in times of war.
If you think you might want to donate letters to the Center, you can find out more about how to do so here.
The Center also has a page with helpful tips about how to properly care for old letters, for those who wish to keep them.
October is Family History Month, and Veterans Day is coming up soon. Wouldn’t it be a nice way to honor the veterans in your family, or among your friends, to find a way to honor and preserve their documentation of their wartime experiences, their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives–and to safeguard them for future generations?
Janet Hulstrand is a writer/editor, writing coach, travel blogger, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home.
Filed under: family history, important papers, keeping the memories, preservation | Tagged: American history, Andrew Carroll, Center for American War Letters, Family History Month, historic preservation, how to preserve letters, Legacy Project, Memorial Day, military history, preservation of war letters, Veterans Day, war history, war letters, where to donate war letters |