Note from Georgia O’Keeffe to Alfred Stieglitz, 1943-04-28. Courtesy of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Most of our written correspondence happens quickly, urgently. A few words appear; we respond; they disappear. Sometimes, though, a real letter arrives, and that invites attention and time. Personal, handwritten correspondence, so common only a generation ago, has now become unexpected, and, while not quite a lost art, it is rare enough to provoke some examination. To begin, consider the letter as defined five centuries ago by Flemish philologist Justus Lipsius in Principles of Letter-Writing. “A letter, ” he says, is “a message of the mind to someone who is absent.” Letters travel over distance and time to bind people together. And, with their very physical presence, they convey thoughts, feelings and emotions in ways not possible using other means. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Four Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 47 Thanks, I Hate It How to give feedback to art friends. Arts & Culture Issue 46 Puff Piece On inflatable art. Arts & Culture Issue 44 Hannah Traore The art world's next big thing is a gallerist. Arts & Culture Issue 43 The Sellout On the moral maze of art and money. Arts & Culture Issue 43 Essay: Open Relationships What happens when private therapy becomes public entertainment? Arts & Culture Issue 43 Signal Boost How status anxiety drives culture.