I explore media in transition. My research encompasses film, video, print, digital arts, and the web. I'm interested in what artists and writers are doing and in what critics and scholars are saying.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Auto/Biographical Webs: Letters

As I mentioned in my two previous posts, I've recovered from my archives the bibliography of auto/biographical webs that I maintained online from 2001 to 2003. In addition to the sections on travelogues (February 23) and self-representations (February 24) that I've introduced already, I've prepared for VirtualDayz the section on letters -- digital experiments with epistolary forms. Although the research is more preliminary than in other sections of the bibliography, the listings, which were last updated November 2, 2002 (except for the links I fixed today), may be of interest nevertheless. From the perspective of 2006, I'm aware of many gaps to fill and areas to develop. I've selected highlights, removed inactive sites, and merged a few categories. Please feel free to suggest links.*

(Dates indicate when the site was added to the bibliography or when the entry was updated, a notational system started midway through the project.)


Coverley, M.D. (Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink), "Afterimage" ("explores the way that memory imprints on consciousness over time. In addition to the organized narrative of an individual history, much of the information of reverie is stored in images, and, like all images, these contain the dynamic for an afterimage. Long after the details of our past have faded, we respond to the resonant pictures, oscillating in the visual and aural echoes of years gone by." MCL, personal correspondence, 8/22/01), link updated 2/25/06; see also "Afterimage: An Anatomy of Anchors"

Fanning, Kevin, "
The Dear Mr. Thomas Letters," ('Although so much information was lost during the Great Drought that we may never know for certain, many scholars now believe that the 'dear mr thomas' letters, as they came to be called, were written by the children of Mountain 14 in their sleep.')

Fischer, Elizabeth, "
Grandfather Gets a House" (". . . a hypermedia work expressly developed for the Internet. The Web site houses a visually enhanced diary containing a series of texts written to the email list of a small group of Net-active writers and artists. The emails were written over a year, starting in August, 2000, and chronicle a canadian artists travels to Transylvania, the Hungarian region of Romania and the subsequent efforts of the group to help an impoverished Gypsy family.") The text is included in Situ: The Diary of Displacement, curated by Fischer (no longer online), 4/16/02; updated 2/25/06

Fox, Judith Hoos, curator, "
The Letter-Writing Project" (Wellesley College Davis Museum and Cultural Center)

Japanese American National Museum, "
Dear Miss Breed: Letters from Camp" (". . . highlights the Museum's collection of letters written to San Diego librarian Clara Breed by Japanese Americans interned in World War II concentration camps. Miss Breed, as she was known to the teenagers and young adults who wrote to her, was a lifeline to the outside world who comforted internees during their time of need."), 6/18/02

Kanarek, Yael, "
Love Letters Delivery Service" (Not a virus, thisfeature of World of Awe (WOA) will enable subscribers to receive loveletters via email approximately once a month through 2003." from press release, 6/21/01 (also listed in "Travelogues" section)

Legacy Project, " Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars" ("Our goal is to preserve letters written and/or received by members of the armed forces, as well as their families and friends. The Legacy Project focuses on letters because we believe they offer unique insight into warfare and its effect on those who experience it firsthand." The Web site complements the book War Letters, edited by Andrew Carroll.)

Lewkowicz, Wolf, "
The Wolf Collection" ("Between 1922 and 1939, Wolf Lewkowicz, of Konskie, Lodz and Opoczno, Poland, engaged in a lengthy and intimate correspondence in Yiddish with Sol J. Zissman, his deceased sister's son, who was born in Konskie, Poland, and who had immigrated to the United States as an 11-year old boy prior to World War I. . . . This online version of The Wolf Lewkowicz Collection contains only the English translations of the Yiddish letters.")

Mount, Jack D., University of Arizona, Library, "
Postcard Resources," 7/28/02; link updated 2/25/06

Open Letters (archive) ("Open Letters published daily on the world-wide web between June 19, 2000 and January 5, 2001. We've stopped publishing new letters, but the 106 letters and 6 conversations that we've published are still available in our archives."); see also the article, "Net Mail Calls," and the interview with the editor, Paul Tough.

PBS, "Letters from the Heart" ("Expanding on ideas from REGRET TO INFORM, LETTERS FROM THE HEART is a growing, organic memorial to those on all sides who lost their lives in Vietnam - a tapestry created by those left behind and others who support peaceful alternatives to war. The concept is simple: healing wounds through letter writing. Sharing stories to deepen understanding. Reaching out to forge new connections."), links updated 2/25/06

Penney, Margaret, "Dream 7" ("Margaret Penney, creator of the three year old Web site "Dream 7," is updating her well-respected work of net art by incorporating over 3,000 emails sent by visitors to the site. Called "Dream Log," the upcoming work is a visualization of the emails, which all recount site visitors' dreams. The original "Dream 7" is an attempt, says Penney, to present a dream-like experience on the Internet, navigable by surreal "dream logic." From Net Art News, written and edited by Reena Jana; site includes memorials related to events of 9/11/01), 9/28/01

Pranger, Pvt. Arthur, "Private Art: A Collection of WWII Letters To and From the Home Front"

Rivertrout ("a library of letters," which includes letters of passion, reason, and hope)

Thurston, Thomas (Project Director), "
The New Deal Network" (". . . an educational guide to the Great Depression of the 1930s." The comprehensive site includes "Dear Mrs. Roosevelt" [letters written to the First Lady from young people])

Women's Studies Dept., UC Berkeley, and Carla Cryptic, "
Women at the Millennium: (Fe)Mail Art" ("To date, we've received 240 pieces from 23 countries and 25 states within the US. Participants come from lots of different backgrounds, including mail artists, people who never heard of mail art before, students, teachers, UC Berkeley staff, professional and amateur artists, poets, people of varying skill in their chosen media, people celebrating women and people denigrating women."), link updated 9/2/02


G.I.R.L. (Girls Internationally Writing Letters, "a club for girls 8-14"); problem with site, 2/26/06

Kehoe, Brendan, "
Kids on the Web: Pen Pals"

Phi, "
Mail Art Links"

Russ, Wendy, "
Letters, Letter-writing, and Other Intimate Discourse"

Student Letter Exchange

*For recent approaches to the study of epistolary texts, see "Email Narratives" and "Distributed Narrative" by Jill Walker, "Email and Epistolary technologies: Presence, Intimacy, Disembodiment" by Esther Milne (Fibreculture Journal, issue 2), and "Mountain" by Fernanda Viégas.

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