Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Other People's Rejection Letters

edited by Bill Shapiro
Finished September 2010

This is a collection of real letters, emails and notes to and from executives, writers, actors, boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, students and so on. They are formal rejection letters, pink slips, dear john letters, angry notes and text messages. We can see actual photos of some of the letters. How did Shapiro get these letters?

"I hit up my friends and then friends of friends, and then I enlisted a
team of clever reporters from across the country to help with the hunt."

Some of the letters are funny and others are sad. There are some that are really historically interesting.

  • There's a 1956 letter from the Museum of Modern Art to Andy Warhol informing him that they would not be accepting his gift of a "drawing called Shoe."
  • There is a photo of the letter of discharge from the U.S. Army for Jimi Hendrix.
  • There's a photo of a letter on "Chock full 'O Nuts letterhead from Jackie Robinson to the President of the United States (1958) regarding civil rights of negro citizens of the U.S.
  • My favorite is the photo of a draft of the letter of resignation Eleanor Roosevelt sent to the Daughters of the American Revolution after they refused to let Marian Anderson sing in Constitution Hall.

There are also very ordinary letters:
  • A note on that wide ruled manila primary paper from Naomi to her Grandma: "I got your letter. But I can't come because I have other plans"
  • A slip of paper that says, "Sometime I think you are a big jack ass but I love you - Mommie"
  • A handwritten note from a very young child: "I hat you fram PhoeBe"
  • A note written on the back of a slip of receipt paper: "In case you did not notice this is employee parking. That means you Don't park here. Next time you will be towed. We know your car. Thanks - OTP."
  • And the reply, written on the other side of the receipt paper: "In case you did not notice I was in your restaurant with 4 clients which will never happen again. I know who you are too!"
A fun book. There's a website as well.

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