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20 Nostalgic Quotes About the Loss of Handwritten Letters

For the past decade, Ms.Dora has been sharing poetry, creative writing, positive quotes, and reflections online. Her aim is life enrichment.

Who could have imagined that handwriting would one day be on the endangered list?

Who could have imagined that handwriting would one day be on the endangered list?

National Handwriting Day, established by the Writing Instrument Manufacturer's Association (WIMA), is celebrated annually on John Hancock's birthday—January 23rd. Individuals are encouraged to display their creativity by using a pen or pencil to write a letter, poem, note, or journal entry to emphasize the importance of handwriting and explore its "purity and power." Who could have imagined seventy years ago that handwriting would be on the endangered list in less than a century?

Handwritten letters are already extinct to those whose younger relatives and friends communicate only by texts and emails. Not only do modern people not want to write—when they do write, they do not care to write well. This contrasts significantly with the pride of students from previous generations who tried to excel in handwriting— especially when it came to love letters.

Here are some heartfelt quotes for those who experience intense nostalgia at the memory of handwritten letters.

Hancock, the first and third governor of Massachusetts, is remembered for his large, bold, stylish signature on the United States' Declaration of Independence.

Hancock, the first and third governor of Massachusetts, is remembered for his large, bold, stylish signature on the United States' Declaration of Independence.

About Handwriting vs. E-Mails and Text Messages

1. "Though computers and e-mail play an important role in our lives, nothing will ever replace the sincerity and individualism expressed through the handwritten word." —David H. Baker, Executive Director of WIMA

2. "There is a difference between a page of hand-written text and a print out from a word processor. A trained eye can tell who wrote one, while the other might have been created by anyone." —Matt Maszczak, The Writing Cooperative

3. "One of my favorite things about handwritten letters is that you can keep them for however long you want, and revisit them at any time. A screenshot of a sweet text doesn't quite measure up." —Lauren Beasley, Odyssey

A handwritten note by Gabriele Hamilton

A handwritten note by Gabriele Hamilton

4. "Handwritten letters allow us an opportunity to pause. Due to a lag in delivery time, they might also force us to consider the shelf life of what we write . . . And their tangibility lends them a sense of permanence." —Maddie Crum, Huffpost

5. "Texting and email are mostly reactionary. You need information, so you reach out. Writing letters is much more deliberate. You do it to give, not to receive."Kyle Young, Lifehack

6. "There’s something sacred [and romantic, in the broadest sense] about communicating in the way generations before us once did. . . It’s how grandma and grandpa kept their love alive during wartime . . . Computers can never take the place of this kind of sentimental history." —Alena Hall, Huffpost

7. "In our throwaway era of quick phone calls, faxes, and email, it's all too easy never to find the time to write letters. That's a great pity—for historians and the rest of us." —Nancy Reagan, The Letters

8. "Emails and texts act like the middleman between the author and recipient, technology even dictates your words by guessing them and filling them in for you. The pen, however, begs to be enslaved; it needs to belong to you . . . When someone sends you a handwritten letter, you receive a part of who they are." —Kiran Sidhu, The Guardian

9. "While typing can be mindless, studies show that writing integrates three brain processes: visual, motor and cognitive skills. You see the paper and your words, you use your fine motor skills to form the words, and you stimulate your brain to remember the shapes of each letter as you write. It’s exercise for the brain." —Jacqueline Whitmore, Entrepreneur

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10. "No emailed message or attached Word document—no matter how heartfelt or well-composed—compares with a letter . . . validated by an official postmark that adds the important context of date and place . . . Finding and reading handwritten letters from nearly 100 years ago is perhaps the closest thing we have to a time machine." —Editorial, Valley News

A handwritten letter of recognition for World War I POW Lance Corporal James Cordingley from King George V sent in 1918

A handwritten letter of recognition for World War I POW Lance Corporal James Cordingley from King George V sent in 1918

About the Pleasure of Handwritten Letters

11. "Writing to someone, taking the time to craft each letter, to buy a stamp, to select an envelope, to travel to the post office—none of this goes unnoticed. A letter, before the content is even read, has already said, 'I care about you. You’re someone special.' And that is a message that all enjoy." —Wesley Baines, Beliefnet

12. "Handwriting is a spiritual designing, even though it appears by means of a material instrument." —Euclid of Alexandria

13. "To me, reading through old letters and journals is like treasure hunting. Somewhere in those faded, handwritten lines, there is a story that has been packed away in a dusty old box for years." —Sara Sheridan, Author

14. "Find a small moment of joy in a blue sky, in a trip somewhere not so far away, a long walk an early morning in December, or a handwritten letter to an old friend simply saying 'I thought of you. I hope you’re well.' —Charlotte Eriksson, Author

15. "Nothing is as endearing as a handwritten letter scribed by the person who holds your heart spellbound." —Alfa H Abandoned Breaths

A handwritten letter by Johnny Cash

A handwritten letter by Johnny Cash

16. "One of the biggest things that I miss most about handwritten letters is the actual feel of paper in our hands . . . For example, a heartfelt letter from one's lover written in his own handwriting with his favourite pen on his preferred piece of paper definitely shows the type of person he is." —Tahsin Abedi, The Daily Star

17. "I want there to be proof that I was here beyond a Google search. That proof will live on in my diaries, my letters, and the scribbles I sent other people . . . I want the people I love to be affirmed and reminded of how capable they are on a daily basis. I think letters are the purest way to do that." —Hannah Brencher, More Love Letters

18. "Just imagine the bliss and the joy of giving your child to read a letter handwritten by his/her grandmother decades ago. It is definitely worth starting to handwrite your letters and give your dear ones something to talk about for generations." —Kenneth Waldman, Learning Mind

19. "The lost art of longhand writing has made us miss out on the pleasure of seeing a good piece of handwritten script and pen craft—an art we are losing out to time, machine and thinning out passions." —L. Aruna Dhir, Daily O

20. "The sight of the man on a cycle with a bundle of letters, delivering these envelopes to our mailboxes was once the most exciting view from one's window . . . What has happened to all the postmen? Are they still at the post office waiting for us to post a handwritten letter for them to deliver?" —Tahsin Abedi, The Daily Star

Facts From "History of Handwritten Letters"


Around 500 BC

According to the ancient historian Hellanicus, the first recorded handwritten letter was penned by Queen Atossa of Persia.

Before 1840

Coach or horse riders delivered letters. The receiver paid cash on delivery; the cost depended on the number of pages and the distance traveled.


Great Britain introduced the first prepaid stamp. Other countries organized similar systems.


The United States established a uniform 5 cent postal charge.


The United States standardized stamps.

© 2014 Dora Weithers


Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on September 08, 2015:

MsDora, I did, in fact, do penpals back when I was a freshman in high school. It was after WWII and I had a couple of Japanese students I exchanged letters with. They wrote pretty good English, I wrote no Japanese. We mostly wrote about our own cultures. I later exchanged some letters with students in England. sadly, I didn't keep it up, possibly because money was scarce and postage overseas seemed expensive to me.

It might be part of the appeal of places like hubpages, facebook etc that one makes contact with a variety of people.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 07, 2015:

Don, no matter your mode of communication now, I'm glad that you miss handwritten letters. I have often thought of having a pen pal, but I've never ventured. Perhaps those who wanted to write, are mostly gone too.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on September 07, 2015:

I do miss handwritten letters but I found that usually it was a one way conversation. Even those I wrote to are passed away now. Even email seems old fashioned now.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 30, 2014:

Oh Thelma,those were the days! The handwritten love letters served you well. We sympathize with those who will never know such joy!

Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 29, 2014:

What an awesome hub! I miss the times when I was expecting handwritten letters from my love ones. Handwritten letters was the beginning of my more than 3 decades relationship with my hubby. My hubby and I started being pen friends in the 70´s and we are married for 33 years now. I´m always glad when I came home to the Philippines alone because I mostly received a handwritten letters from my hubby. It reminded me of the good old days.

It was always a pleasure to receive letters from my pen friends all over the world. It took weeks and months to have their replies but it was worth it. As you can see I already had worldwide connections at those times.

Thanks for reminding me those times Dora. It was a pleasure to read this great hub of yours. Have a nice day!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 15, 2014:

Alun, I wish my readers would read your appeal for personal expressions by hand on special days. Thank you so much.

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on March 15, 2014:

MsDora; I absolutely agree with so many of the sentiments expressed here - and yet I am as guilty as most others of neglecting to write letters by hand. I must admit I don't tend to write handwritten letters now, though I still often post typed letters and hand sign them. And I do still send postcards when on holiday.

But I agree that it is sad that handwritten letters, or even notes, seem to be a dying form of expression. They have a permanence about them, and I - as a hoarder - still keep letters and cards I received when I was a child. Very few have been thrown away. Not so e-mails which are so easily written and so easily discarded and so much less sentimental.

Particularly, I think of lost friends or relatives who have died - a hand written memento can be treasured in ways which a computer message simply cannot.

So whilst it may be impractical to expect everyone to return to hand written letters for all purposes, I certainly think that everyone should make the effort on special occasions - birthdays, thank you messages, love letters etc, to communicate in a more personal way by hand, and not simply through electronic digits on a commputer. Voted up and shared. Alun

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 19, 2014:

Grand Old Lady, thank you for sharing. That's funny--following around the postman, but I surely understand your fascination.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on February 18, 2014:

As a child in Los Angeles I remember always being excited by the sight of the mailman and wondering where he goes during the day. Once I even followed him around for awhile. My handwriting sucks, but handwritten notes do have a special flavor now that the internet has taken over so much correspondence. Things are changing, and the personal touch of a long, hand written letter has sadly disappeared.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 09, 2014:

CV, thank you for commenting. I still think that those of us who cherish the handwritten letter, can try to keep it alive.

Disillusioned from Kerala, India on February 08, 2014:

You are right. It is a by gone era.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 03, 2014:

Cynthtggt, thank you. I think we share many similar thoughts. That's encouraging.

Cynthia Taggart from New York, NY on February 03, 2014:

This is yet another terrific hub from you. One can forget the email, gloss over the FB post, but the letter, the card, the note they always remember, and can keep close to their heart. Voted up.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 29, 2014:

Zabella, I'm proud of you. I share your joy in writing those letters. I intend to keep writing every now and then. Like you, I look forward to the response. Your comment is very encouraging.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 29, 2014:

Blond Logic, you and your cousin seem to have had lots of fun. A sigh for the good old days. Thank you for sharing.

Zabbella from NJ-USA on January 29, 2014:

Hi there! I took your advice and wrote to a few family members. The letters were 4 pages long all written in longhand! I had such a wonderful feeling...I am sure they felt good getting the letters ( hope they write back)

Mary Wickison from Brazil on January 29, 2014:

Hi MsDora,

What a lovely idea for a hub. Who would have thought that things would have changed so quickly? Perhaps it is the evolution of communication.

When my mother was alive, we would write, then we sent cassettes, then we went on to the internet.

I loved getting letters in the mail, it was like an unexpected Christmas present.

My cousin and I would write each other and I'd melt red sealing wax onto the back , as though the letter contained secret information. Sometimes we would write letters backwards so the other would have to read it in a mirror. We used our imaginations.

Thanks for taking me on a trip down memory lane.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 29, 2014:

Glenn, I share the memories. You make me long now for a handwritten letter. Thank you for your valuable input.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on January 29, 2014:

Well-done Hub with lots of interesting historical facts.

You brought back memories. I remember when I learned to write script in 3rd grade. I made an art out of it with fancy handwriting. But I quickly lost that ability in my 20's when I started typing everything. Letters, notes, and computer programs. I can't even read my own handwriting anymore.

I do remember those days when we anticipated something personal in the mail, such as a handwritten letter from a friend.

And as you mentioned in your article, dictionaries were so helpful. Those days are long gone. I still have one on my shelf, but I never use it. It's too easy to check the meaning of words, or to find a synonym, online.