The Art of Letter Writing 1 | Love, Liberation & War

Perhaps nothing reveals more about our hearts and minds than our letters. Yet, the modern electronic age has contributed to decline in letter writing as a personal form of communication, as an art form that moves the spirit and invigorates the mind, and as a permanent record of our history and cultural interests.

There are famous correspondences that remind us of the power and attraction of this form: Abelard and Heloise, Alfred Stiglietz and Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Gorey and Peter Neumeyer, Ursula Nordstrom to Maurice Sendak, the letters of the young Ernest Hemingway or the lifelong letters of John Steinbeck are just a few. And there are famous fictional correspondences as well. The "Griffin and Sabine" trilogy by Nick Bantock, the "Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis, “Possession” by A.S. Byatt, and “Black Box” by Amos Oz are just a few literary works where letters advance or form the structural basis for the narrative action. What these real and imagined correspondences reveal is that letters touch us deeply and do so in ways few others forms of writing can.

Over the coming months, POBA will explore this art form. We begin with the very real correspondence between Pvt. Hy Schulman and his wife Sandy Schulman, a young married couple deeply in love and swept up in war, whose daily correspondence from 1942-45 shows what it means to be ordinary people witnessing and participating in extraordinary events. Here, we provide excerpts of 20 letters from their correspondence from December 1944 to August 1945, when Hy would be among the first Americans to enter Buchenwald in April 1945, the first concentration camp liberated by the U.S. Army.

These excerpts are provided in short, easy-to-use videos.
- Each video shows the original envelope, one or more excerpts of the original letter, and transcription of the excerpt(s).
- You can start, stop, and restart these videos if you wish to take additional time to read any page. To pause a page, simply hit the space bar or click the video screen. Click the forward arrow button appearing in the middle of the screen to restart.
- You can view these in full screen by clicking the "full screen" tab in the upper right of window of the enlarged thumbnail.

We also refer you to POBA’s press/media resources (the click-thru is found at the bottom of every POBA page) for articles in the New York Times and other publications that describe this collection as a personal and historical record of love, war, and liberation.

video 03 Dec 1944 / Home Front 1944
video 11 Jan 1945 / Rose Petals in Belgian Snow 1945
video 19 Jan 1945 / War is Hell 1945
video 29 Jan 1945 / A Little Thing Called a Purple Heart 1945
video 01 Feb 1945 / A Purpose in Mind 1945
video 07 Mar 1945 / Meeting Rabbi Schachter 1945
video 08 Mar 1945 / A Good Soldier 1945
video 16 Mar 1945 / First Service on German Soil 1945
video 17 Mar 1945 / The Toll on Germany 1945
video 09 Apr 1945 / Long Trail to Victory 1945
video 11 Apr 1945 / The First Encounter 1945
video 13 Apr 1945 / The President is Dead 1945
video 15 Apr 1945 / Buchenwald 1945
video 24 Apr 1945 / You Are Free! 1945
video 28 Apr 1945 / The Women of Waldenburg 1945
video 07 May 1945 / V-E Day May Come 1945
video 08 May 1945 / It's Official 1945
video 10 May 1945 / Whose War is Over? 1945
video 17 May 1945 / The Promise of Reunion 1945
video 06 June 1945 / Special Delivery 1945