Samara O’Shea has loved to write and receive letters for as long as she can remember. So it wasn’t surprising that, in 2005, she launched letterlover.net, a letter-writing service that eventually turned into a book as well. “I write letters on behalf of any person who feels he doesn’t have the words,” O’Shea said. Thankfully, she has plenty of words to share about everything from a 1930s pen pal to why summer camp has a special place in her heart.
When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
I don’t remember. I remember passing notes in class and writing letters to boys I had crushes on, and I decided I didn’t want that to go away in a world where most communication is digital.
We at Crane would like to finish National Letter Writing Week with a flourish. What better way to do so than to introduce a new feature on the blog? Each week we will be conducting interviews with letter lovers, paper aficionados and postal enthusiasts.
We’re thrilled to open this series with Hannah Brencher, the creator and founder of The World Needs More Love Letters. After scattering anonymous love letters throughout New York City in 2010, the 23-year-old has written more than 400 love letters to strangers, and in 2011 Brencher created moreloveletters.com with the mission of inspiring individuals to do just that — write more love letters. Since then, the site has helped send over 1,600 letters. Here, we talk to the postal pioneer about the beauty of handwritten correspondence, Toni Morrison, and the similarities between a letter and a first date.
Describe your work and its connection with the post.
I began writing and leaving “love letters” all across New York City about a year and a half ago. Gradually, I began receiving letter requests from people all over the world. As I wrote more and more letters to complete strangers, I realized that the world could really benefit from an organization that kept this irreplaceable handwritten practice alive. We take letter requests, mail handwritten notes and bundle together handwritten love letters for people in need, all while leaving love letters across the world for others to find and delight in.