Handwritten Mail: Tradition, Art, and Keepsakes

I'd be interested to meet the person who doesn't enjoy receiving a handwritten card or letter. A piece of personalized mail is a rarity—signaling that someone took the time to write and send it your way. 

There is something about a hand-addressed envelope peeking out of the mailbox, or someone's familiar scrawl across a card, that never fails to elicit from me a thrill of warmth and human connection.  Now that we live in “an increasingly digital world," I treasure my cultural traditions more. 

As a child, I was taught to write thank-you notes as a sign of respect and proper etiquette. Up until the Internet exploded into my world when I was thirteen or fourteen years old, I had a slew of penpals from as far away as Sweden. And, like my mother before me, to this day I keep a “Special Box” full of the snail mail that’s been sent to me that retains its meaningfulness.

Am I alone in my love of “old-fashioned” communication? 

Funnily enough, it’s through social media I find encouragement that others still care about a cultural tradition of handwritten mail. On Twitter, there are endless posts from people happy to have a letter from a friend:

Or, like this young man, posts from people asking for someone to send them “real” mail:

And there are also blog posts where letter-writers elaborate on why the handwritten tradition is still essential for them, be it etiquette, habit, Ludditism, or the belief that the newest, fastest thing isn’t always the best (at least when it entirely replaces a predecessor that still has value). 

Yet one of my favorite posts on the topic is this one which looks at letters in a historical context: “What do we use to gain an insightful analysis of the world at hand?” Typically, we use journals and letters, and if we give up these hard-copy records of our human lives and interactions, where will we end up in the abyss of a digitized world?

My favorite lines from this post are these: “But handwritten letters are unique in that they don’t just convey introspection. They shed light on the messages we felt the need to impart on people we care about.”

At The Spot Press, we believe that tangible things are precious: a book to touch, a card to write to a friend (or a card to receive and keep in a special box or hang on the fridge). Our goal is to create small pieces of art that are accessible to anyone, keepsakes which can offer something visually pleasing while sharing human stories. 

Years in the future, whose handwriting would you like to see on a long-kept card that will thrill you with the warmth of human connection?