Best of 2012

Happy New Year!

2012 has been an incredible year for Letters of Note, with over 30 million visits to its 900+ letters. Of those featured in the past 12 months, the 15 most-read are as follows, beginning with the most popular:

1. To My Old Master

A stunning letter from an ex-slave to his former master which, when first featured on Letters of Note back in January, was read by millions of people in a matter of days.

2. Our differences unite us

A letter to Barack Obama from the young daughter of a gay couple, and the U.S. President’s response.

3. Love, Dad

A wonderful letter of advice from Ronald Reagan to his soon-to-be-wed 26-year-old son.

4. What a world

Author Ken Kesey writes a remarkably touching letter to his closest friends following the tragic death of his 20-year-old son.

5. Part of this world, part of another

During production of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder writes to the movie’s director, Mel Stuart, and offers some feedback on Wonka’s costume.

6. He is called Mick Jagger

18-year-old Keith Richards writes to his aunt after meeting Mick Jagger.

7. I am very real

A powerful letter from Kurt Vonnegut to the head of a school board who recently ordered copies of Slaughterhouse-Five to be burned.

8. Live like a mighty river

Beautiful advice from poet Ted Hughes to his son, Nicholas, on living life to its fullest.

9. Damn you all to hell

A typically charming letter from Tom Hanks in response to a request to appear on the Nerdist podcast.

10. Nothing good gets away

Author John Steinbeck writes to his son with some invaluable advice on love.

11. I like words

In my humble opinion the greatest job application letter ever penned, written by an aspiring screenwriter who later went on to win an Academy Award for his work.

12. Everything comes to an end

When author Stieg Larsson died in 2004, his partner found a letter in his belongings, “To be opened only after my death.”

13. How could you go ahead of me?

A heartbroken 16th-century widow writes a moving letter to her recently deceased husband.

14. I shall always be with you

The night before her execution in 1950, Czech politician Milada Horáková writes a farewell letter to her daughter.

15. Love is love, and there will never be too much

A wonderful letter from Fiona Apple, on the subject of love.

I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have. See you all in 2013.