A Million Letters from the Front Lines
Historian Andrew Carroll will talk about the “Million Letters Campaign” during a Seminole Historical Society meeting. The goal of the campaign is to collect and preserve at least one million war-related correspondences from every conflict in U.S. history.
SEMINOLE – Andrew Carroll is a collector and he wants everyone to help him reach his goal of collecting at least one million war-related correspondences from every conflict in U.S. history. Those correspondences can run the gamut from handwritten missives penned during the American Revolution to emails sent from Iraq and Afghanistan.
It’s all part of a project, known as the Million Letters Campaign, that Carroll began in April at Chapman University in Orange, CA. Carroll is the founding director of Chapman’s Center for American War Letters and he’s traveling throughout the country and speaking at libraries, historical societies, museums, veterans’ organizations, military academies, civic clubs, places of worship, book stores, and similar venues to spread the word about why these writings are so important and, ideally, to encourage people to donate their war-related correspondences so that they will be preserved forever.
The Center for American War Letters is a continuation of Carroll’s Legacy Project, which he began in 1998. The Legacy Project was an all-volunteer initiative that honors veterans and active-duty troops by preserving their wartime correspondence. Carroll traveled to all 50 states and more than 40 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and collected, to date, an estimated 100,000 previously unpublished letters (and emails) from every war in U.S. history. Andrew donated this massive collection, free of charge, to Chapman. The Legacy Project was renamed the Center for American War Letters and made a part of Chapman. The Center’s mission is to continue to collect, preserve, and promote extraordinary war-related correspondences so that this generation and those to come will better understand the sacrifices and experiences of U.S. troops, veterans, and their loved ones.
“These letters and emails help us to honor and remember the troops, veterans, and military family members who have served this nation. These are their words, their stories, their voices,” Carroll said, “and no one can tell their stories better than they can. I also hope this project will encourage service members and veterans to write letters to their loved ones about their experiences, even if they relate to events that happened years or even decades ago.”
Carroll’s next stop is 7 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 16) at the Seminole Historical Society in City Park, 7464 Ridge Road. The meeting is free and open to the public.
For information about the Million Letters Campaign, go to chapman.edu.
For information about the Seminole Historical Society, go to seminolehistoricalsociety.org.
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