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  • Writer's pictureFlea Market Love Letters

From Tiny to Tallest: An Exploration of Letters from the Archive.

One of the most Frequently Asked Questions about the archive is: What's the best letter you've ever found? My answer? All of them! I thought today we'd take a look at a smattering of the unique letters that have come into the archive in the last four years. We're talking tiniest, longest, oldest, and more!


This positively teeny-tiny letter is actually a calling card! I wonder if the Postal worker who delivered this had a pocket magnifying glass to read out of the address back in 1939. Where am I getting that date? Check out the postmark -- while the date is a little funky (it looks like the Postmark stamp was even too big for this envelope!) -- the Stamp actually tells us so much. A quick Google and we can learn that this 1938 Presidential issue Stamp. Pretty cool, right?

While we haven't shared this series yet it was too tempting not to show you guys this teeny-tiny beaut.


This is officially the longest letter I've ever come into contact with in four years. It's from the Rendano series -- specifically it's this letter from June 10, 1943 -- and its almost 6 feet long! Curious about what it says? Click here to read the transcription.

Recently we had a reader get in touch on another version of this style from the same series. That reader noted on that letter dated June 17, 1943:

"I found an identical letter that had been sent to my father when he was serving in the Navy during WWII. I 'googled' some extracts from the letter and was able to find this site. My dad's letter is dated 12 December 1942, just 5 days short of infamy."

Thanks, reader! That's one of the reasons we do what we do here at Flea Market H.Q. So that we can all learn from one another.


This is technically the second "oldest" letter in the archive. Second because it's the second from 1876 -- yep, 1876! -- that have come into our possession. I love these letters for their very, very real proximity to very, very famous world events. Fundamentally a little something in 1776 known as 'The Declaration of Independence". It's not quite there but it's pretty cool to know that this piece of paper has been around for one hundred years less than the literal United States of America.

While we haven't transcribed either 1876 letter yet, we do have one from 1878 up on the site if you're interested! It's beauty for sure and not to be missed.


This is officially the first and only existing photo of the collection that started Flea Market many moons ago. While Flea Market itself began in 2017, I've been collecting vintage letters consistently for over a decade. These are the letters I always talk about when asked about Flea Market's origins. They're the 1926 'Raymond and Marie' letters and while they aren't up on the site yet, they are officially the first letters ever collected for the archive (even if I didn't know it would become the archive at the time!).


And here we have the latest addition to the archive, purchased just earlier this month (October 2021) in Dublin, Ireland! What does this 1901 beauty say? Check out our transcription, here:

"Please -- Miss Cleary, I hope you will excuse Mary and Lillie for being absent yesterday. A cousin was spending the day with us and going to the country Last night. L. McNamara"

This isn't up officially on the site yet but we've shared it on social and in time it will be added to our Miscellaneous Letters page. If you're interested in learning more about what we do here at Flea Market but a bit intimidated by the big 40+ letter series, the Miscellaneous Letters page is a great place to wet your feet!

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