These letters provide valuable insight into the wartime experience and much of this correspondence is being thrown away, lost, or irreparably damaged or—if they are e-mails—deleted. Saving these letters is not difficult, and it is an excellent way to learn about your family's heritage and this nation's history. Different letters need to be cared for in different ways, and it may not be possible to follow all of the recommendations listed below, but the basic suggestions presented here should help you begin the process of preserving your wartime letters.
Although the information below is under copyright, we encourage you to share and distribute it, so long as it is not used for any commercial or for-profit purposes. Special thanks goes to Linda Edquist, one of the nation's foremost archivists, who reviewed this material and offered valuable suggestions.
Quick Preservation Tips
Regarding original handwritten or typed letters, one of the best ways of keeping them in mint condition is to handle them as little as possible. For example:
- Do not staple, paper clip, or use glue on the letters
- Do not laminate letters
- Do not put post-it notes on them
- Do not secure them with rubber bands
For more detailed tips please review the sections below.