History’s Greatest Thank You Notes

You don’t ever have to say you’re sorry, but you should always say “thank you”

Being greeted by a freshly sealed envelope that has been addressed to you with what appears to be actual real-life penmanship and a thoughtful short “thank you” note inside sits near the top of “good things you could pull out of a mailbox”… birthday cards with money and/or a lotto ticket inside still reside as the No. 1 thing, but we’re not here to split hairs.

The thank you note, a lost art that historians have traced back to before the letters “t” and “y” were ever placed on a keyboard, have changed quite a bit over the years, but, in some ways, not at all. At one point, it is said that these little analog text messages crossed the world as frequently, if not more than, good old Keith Richards’ guitar case.

That in mind, and to further encourage the long-term employment of your local mailman and good feelings all around, we located some of the most notable thank you notes from across time to show you how easy and simple it can be to try and get writer’s cramp in your hand each month.

Mary Shelly writes to her good friend Lord Byron thanking him for allowing them to spend the summer with him at his home in Geneva. Where Frankenstein was thought into reality on a rainy day.

1. Delivered by a messenger, with a wax seal
2. Quill to show formality
3. Short and sweet
4. Personal shout-out

In a galaxy far, far away

1. Making future plans
2. Strong sign-off

Eminem writes his biggest fan, “Stan” back. Better late than never?

1. Apologize for tardiness
2. Acknowledge flattery
3. Address any potential hurdles directly
4. Written on notebook paper for sincerity
5. Sentimental call back
6. Relevant reflection

1. State the reason you are thankful
2. Specific examples of how you are better off

Gracias. Merci. Grazie. Danke Sehr.

Now that you know how, say “thank you” to someone who deserves it. We’ve got some limited-edition Whalebone Magazine letter-pressed Thank You cards. Long live print. The wax seal is up to you.