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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Get to Know Baltimore Through Intimate Letters

Setting the Family Free was not the only book published in 2019 that featured my writing.


Katherine Cottle has discovered that one of the best ways to get to know a city is through the intimate letters of those who lived in or visited it. That is well illustrated in her book, The Hidden Heart of Charm City: Baltimore Letters and Lives.


She sheds new light on the city through the examination of intimate letters by some of the city's most prominent residents and visitors. From John Adams to Eleanor Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman, Mark Twain to Ralph Waldo Emerson, F. Scott Fitzgerald to Edgar Allan Poe, Cottle shows us Baltimore as it was to those who experienced it--in a way that only personal letters between friends and loved ones can.


When Apprentice House Press asked me if I would write the forward for her book, I instantly said yes. I was interested not only because I know Katherine and her work, not only because I had read and enjoyed this particular book, but also because of my own special love of letters. In fact, I even wrote the forward as a letter to the reader. Here’s an excerpt.


As Cottle points out, a letter is more than a communication, more than a phone call, text, or email. The time between writing and delivery gives it an element of time-travel. The letter you write, destined for the future; the letter you receive, a visit from the past.


Learn more about Katherine Cottle’s The Hidden Heart of Charm City at her website.



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