The history of why Q is almost always followed by U is fascinating, and dates back to when the Normans invaded England in 1066. Before that, English didn’t even have a Q; it used “cw” to replicate the sound. After the invasion, though, the spelling of English was changed to match the French ways: “cw” was replaced…
A Titanic survivor penned a furious letter to a friend weeks after the infamous sinking, but her outrage was not due to reasons you'd expect. It netted $11,875 in a recent auction, and its contents offer a singular window into the mind of the one percent, 1912 style.
In 1949, a 17-year-old girl named Connie Papurt wanted to buy a dress but needed $25. So she did what a lot of young women in her situation would do: asked a relative if she could borrow the money. The relative? Her aunt, author and economic philosopher Ayn Rand.
The letters of our alphabet seem like a fixed, immutable thing today. But there was a time when the alphabet as we knew it was still in flux — and some of the letters we use today joined later than others. Here's the story of how the letter g came to join our alphabet.
Charles Darwin's personal letters have a reputation for being quite revealing, and, at times, very entertaining. They're where he weighed the pros and cons of marriage, and berated himself for being "very stupid." Now, more than 1,000 letters between Darwin and botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker have been made available…
It's easy to forget that our Latin-derived alphabet came from earlier alphabets that used physical objects to represent their letters. Cartoonist Jason Novak reminds us of the Egyptian, Phoenician, and Sumerian origins of our modern alphabet, with the letters incorporated into sketchy, energetic cartoons.
Even the great masters of science fiction paid tribute to the people who influenced them. Today, Letters of Note has a beautiful 1976 letter that Ray Bradbury wrote — by hand — to Robert Heinlein.
After the first pilot for Star Trek was on the verge being rejected by NBC, Gene Roddenberry sent this impassioned letter to his agent on February 12, 1965. It's a fascinating snapshot of Roddenberry with his back against the wall.
A 1973 letter from Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to a fan is worth reading. He explains that Trek had no "magic formula" other than focusing on people. And Spock looked like the Devil because it was "provocative to women."
Author Robert Heinlein took great pride in his military service, having graduated from Annapolis and served in the Navy. In a letter to fandom leader Forrest J. Ackerman, Heinlein condemns science fiction fans who didn't participate in WWII efforts.