In early 1971, Hart wrote to dozens of actors, authors, artists, musicians, playwrights, librarians, and politicians of the day. She asked them to write a letter to the children of Troy about the importance of libraries, and their memories of reading and of books.
Hart received 97 letters addressed to Troy’s young people from individuals who spanned the arts, sciences, and politics across the 50 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, the Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.
Those writing included First Lady Pat Nixon; Michigan Governor William Milliken; then-Governor of California Ronald Reagan; Michigan State University President Clifton Wharton, Jr., the first African-American president of a major U.S. university; first-man-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong; Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown; authors Isaac Asimov, Hardie Gramatky, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Ben Spock, and E.B. White; and actors Douglas Faribanks, Jr., Vincent Price, and Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.
That is so cool. Letters of Note posted four of the letters, and they’re all great.
NULLARY SOURCES BONUS CONTENT: here’s a transcription I made of Vincent Price’s letter, which is amazing:
Dear young citizens of Troy,
Many centuries ago in Asia Minor in a city with the same name as yours, literature was born. One of the greatest poets who ever lived sat among his people and told the stories of the fabulous past. And they remembered them down through the years until the legends became fact, the fact not so much of history but of the word, of language.
Your new library is the home of language, yours and all others from the beginning. In it you will learn how others lived and thought and from it you will learn to live and think better for yourselves.