One of my favorite parts of working with archival letters is the unpredictability of the letter’s contents. Especially within the Edward Lear letters at FSU’s Special Collections and Archives, you get a hint of the author’s personality through a text not meant to be seen by anyone other than the intended correspondent. That’s what I love about the Letter from Edward Lear to Henry Bruce, September 26, 1875 (FSU_Lear_MSS_1978_32b_16), where Lear’s whimsical doodle is a great surprise amongst the rest of the text. Looking at Lear’s personal letter and doodle makes me appreciate the uniqueness of archival objects that were not created to be published or viewed by the public.
As I continue my internship at Special Collections and Archives, I look forward to exploring more letters and personal documents in the 17th-20th Century Correspondence and Documents collection.
Photo caption: Last page from Letter from Edward Lear to Henry Bruce, September 26, 1875 where Lear drew a man riding a whale.