top of page
  • Fiction Letters

A Brief History of Letter Writing

Letter writing has a long and storied history that dates back to ancient civilizations. In fact, the earliest known written letters were sent by the ancient Egyptians, who used hieroglyphics to communicate with each other over long distances.


As civilizations developed and writing systems became more advanced, letter writing became a more common form of communication. The ancient Greeks and Romans were known for their elaborate letter-writing practices, and the art of letter writing was considered a highly refined skill.


During the Middle Ages, letter writing was primarily the domain of the wealthy and educated. It was not uncommon for noblemen and women to employ scribes to write letters on their behalf. These letters were often written in Latin, the language of the educated elite, and were adorned with intricate calligraphy and decorated with seals.


In the centuries that followed, letter writing became more widespread as literacy rates increased and the cost of producing written materials decreased. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century made it easier to produce books and other written materials, which further contributed to the growth of letter writing.

Letter from Benjamin Franklin
Letter from Benjamin Franklin

As letter writing became more common, it also became more standardized. The development of the postal system in the 17th and 18th centuries made it easier for people to send letters to one another, and the introduction of pre-printed forms and envelopes made the process of writing and sending letters even more convenient.


In the 19th and 20th centuries, letter writing saw a decline as other forms of communication, such as telegrams and, later, telephones, became more widely available. However, letter writing has never completely died out and is still practiced by many people today.


In the digital age, letter writing has evolved once again. Email has become a popular way to send letters electronically, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow people to communicate with each other in real time. Despite these technological advancements, there is still something special and personal about receiving a handwritten letter in the mail.


Overall, the history of letter writing is a rich and fascinating one that reflects the changing nature of communication and the enduring human desire to connect with one another. From ancient hieroglyphics to modern email, the art of letter writing has evolved over time, but it remains a meaningful and intimate way for people to communicate with each other.


Do you miss getting letters in the mail? While it may be next to impossible to entice people to start writing physical letters again, we have a solution!


With a Fiction Letters series, you get eight letters from a fictitious friend with an incredible story. You’ll receive one personalized weekly letter for two months as your friend writes about their amazing adventure.


Learn more about all the Fiction Letters series available here, and get excited to check your mailbox again!

bottom of page