Barbara Heller’s Letters – Classic Editions with Removable Letters

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Barbara Heller's Handwritten Correspondence Classics

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2024 update: Anne of Green Gables added.

Jump to: About the series | Binding details | Authentic calligraphy | Video review | Complete list of books

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About the series

The books in Barbara Heller’s handwritten correspondence editions contain tactile removable letters based on the text, tucked inside glassine envelopes bound at the appropriate place in the novel. Each of the letters is written in period handwriting by talented scribes, with every detail even down to the postal marks meticulously researched. 

Glittering paper bindings

The cover is paper, with lovely gilded writing and peacock feathers featuring prominently in the design. Internally, each page section is divided with a thin piece of board, and this is so the whole book can sit neatly in a shelf without warping due to the weight of the many letters that are slipped inside special sleeves bound throughout the text block. The pages are quite thin – almost like bible paper weight – and the text is relatively small. But really the key feature of this edition is the letters it contains, and the letters themselves are actually printed on quite sturdy heavy-weight paper that has even been artificially aged.

Authentic calligraphy

The letters themselves have been rendered by professional calligraphers at the New York Society of Scribes. Each letter has been prepared with different handwriting according to its author, which as far as possible lines up with the descriptions in the novel itself. For example, Miss Bingley lauds Darcy for his even handwriting, while Caroline Bingley’s writing is described as very flowing. 

But Heller has gone much further than this in her search for authenticity. Everything in the letters is carefully considered. The texts include occasional flaws so that they resemble letters written by real people, and they are even accurately folded for the time period. Since letters at the time weren’t usually sent in envelopes, they were specially folded in a way that protected the contents and were traditionally sealed with wax. If you look closely, you can see lots of little period details – you have the stamps from the sender’s postmaster and the arrival stamp, and the price which was based on how far the letter had to travel and was originally paid by the recipient not the sender. In several cases where only a fragment of the letter appears in the text, the letters have been thoughtfully extended based on the novel and the time period into a full letter you can read and enjoy.

Barbara Heller's Letters - Classic Editions with Removable Letters

Video review

I featured the Barbara Heller edition of Pride and Prejudice in this video review and edition comparison with the Marjolein Bastin edition if you’d like to see inside…

Complete list of titles in the series


Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, curated by Barbara Heller. Chronicle Books, 9781797227689, anticipated publication Oct 24, 2024.

“Throughout these pages, you will find pockets containing replicas of thirteen items from the story recreated with charming handwriting and loving attention to historical detail. Discover the notes passed between Anne and her bosom friend Diana in the Avonlea schoolhouse; the official program of the Debating Club, where Gilbert Blythe memorably recited “Bingen on the Rhine”; and of course, Marilla’s recipes for both raspberry cordial and currant wine.”

►  Buy from Amazon | B&N | Waterstones | Blackwells


Persuasion - Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen, curated by Barbara Heller. Chronicle Books, 9781797216850, released Oct 13, 2022.

►  Buy from Amazon | B&N | Waterstones | Blackwells | Abes | eBay

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, curated by Barbara Heller. Chronicle Books, 9781797208916, released Sep 14, 2021.

►  Buy from Amazon | B&N | Waterstones | Blackwells | Abes | eBay

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, curated by Barbara Heller. Chronicle Books, 9781452184579, released Sep 15, 2020.

►  Buy from Amazon | B&N | Waterstones | Blackwells | Abes | eBay

austen pride prejudice barbara heller spread
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