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Has Anyone Tried To Return Old Mail To A Family?

 
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Valued Member
United States
225 Posts
Posted 08/06/2016   1:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add MeadowviewCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I decided I would try to do this with some that my stepmother inherited. The last names of the people were uncommon so that was a major help.

I typed up a short letter really a brief note of how the items came into my possession and that these pieces would likely mean more to them than any other person.

Have any of you SCF members attempted to return old mail to a family? Were you successful?

-MV



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United States
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Posted 08/06/2016   2:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGB to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A bit off the subject I suppose, but I plan on having all the personal correspondence I have received over the years returned after my death. In practical terms, this means keeping the files updated and always keeping a current address for my old friends. I'm not sure how this will work when friends begin to predecease me.
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Posted 08/06/2016   2:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mike33 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A few years a go, I had a really nice yard sale find of a large collection.

I started a thread here (most of the pics are gone from it now :( sorry

but the story of tracking down the original family is buried in the thread if you're interested

http://goscf.com/t/27267
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Posted 08/06/2016   2:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I will not attempt to 'return' old correspondence that has come to me via auctions et al.

I think it would be really creepy for someone to show-up, tell you that they have been reading your family's mail and that, adding injury to insult, they tracked you down to tell you.

Somebody threw this stuff away, and you're gonna proudly announce that you've been sifting through their garbage?

Yeah, sure, you might find the grandchild who might be pleased that your have been reading the letters that their grandparents exchanged long ago, but you might also find the descendant who was abused or disgraced by that person ... and tossed all of their possessions to a charity shop.

Since you cannot know the circumstances under which the letters were discarded, you should let them stay discarded, and not try to helpfully undo a decision that someone else made for whatever reasons under whatever circumstances.

We're privileged to see these things; let's not abuse the privilege by putting them to use in service of our inner Sherlock Holmes.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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Posted 08/06/2016   3:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MeadowviewCollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Cool story Mike.

I have no use for someone else's graduation announcement sent to elderly relatives back in the 1950s. If I can return it to the sender or his family I thought it was worth a try.

-MV
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Posted 08/06/2016   4:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGB to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ikey, I can't agree. I think of all the things that should be returned and will not be because of greed or ignorance or simple laziness. If something can be done to bring things back to their owners, I say let it happen, guided, of course, by commonsense.
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Posted 08/06/2016   4:40 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In the world of philately, we're not generally talking about material removed by the Germans as they looted their way across Europe. Usually it's stuff cleared from the home of a relative by heirs who had no interest in it. Mike's case isn't the norm.
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Posted 08/06/2016   4:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGB to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 08/06/2016   5:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 08/06/2016   7:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGB to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hahaha, cj!

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Posted 08/07/2016   06:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rohumpy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would be thrilled if any one returned to me any old family correspondence.
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Posted 08/07/2016   07:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
... If something can be done to bring things back to their owners, I say let it happen, guided, of course, by commonsense ... (emphasis added)


Okay, but what is commonsense?


Quote:
... October 18, 2007 Science Update ... NIMH-funded researchers recently reported that roughly nine percent of U.S.adults have a personality disorder as defined by the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV. Many people with personality disorders were also found to have co-occurring major mental disorders ...


Q/ How are you going to decide what is best for the recipient of your gift when you do not know the recipient of your gift?

What if they are already hearing voices of the dead, and now you come along with letters from the dead ...

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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United States
225 Posts
Posted 09/19/2016   4:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MeadowviewCollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thought I'd update this thread now.

I received a very nice letter from the person I sent it to. She indeed remembered addressing the envelope all those years ago and said if I had any other correspondence to let her know and she'd send a prepaid envelope to me.

I had a manila envelope large enough to hold the items, placed them inside and mailed it off.

Total expense: under $3

Reward: satisfaction of doing the right thing

-MV
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Posted 09/19/2016   7:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I once wrote to a Business after finding this Cinderella............

Note the border design: Franco British : Fleur de lis, and English Rose.



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Edited by rod222 - 09/19/2016 7:48 pm
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Canada
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Posted 09/20/2016   06:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jamesw to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In researching two covers sent from the Muskoka TB Sanitarium in 1927, the trail lead me to the granddaughter of the recipient, who had written a book about her aunt, the subject of the book. While I didn't return the envelopes (her cousin had kept the letters) we did have a terrific correspondence via email, she sent me her book, and I learned a LOT more than I expected.
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Posted 09/20/2016   10:41 am  Show Profile Check paperhistory's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paperhistory to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've done it once or twice with Civil War material where I've found a descendant actively seeking genealogy information or someone portraying the relevant individual in a re-enactment group.
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