Brooklyn in Love and at War: Making Private Correspondence Public Online
The postal service, letter writers, censors, and technology like V-Mail - which was introduced to support the massive volume of letters - all indicate that personal correspondence was part of a larger wartime infrastructure that involved not only private emotion and devotion, but also public participation and shared commitment to the war effort. This digital history project investigates the every-fragmenting line between public and private history. Removing letters from their original context and putting them into a new, public setting leads to a series of questions about ownership, audience, and historical narrative.
Building on the personal dilemmas presented to one family in New York City during World War II, this paper will highlight the challenges historians face when using a public and digital platform to reuse personal letters.
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