Today’s newsletter is slightly off-piste with not a letter in sight, but it’s close enough. These cards are simply too interesting not to share.
There was a time, not that long ago, when finding an answer to a burning question required more than a few taps on a keyboard and a wait of a split-second. You had to make an effort, and sometimes human interaction was required. A decade ago, staff at the New York Public Library unearthed an old box of cards, each one bearing a question from an extremely offline member of the public—questions people actually took the time to ask a librarian either in person or over the telephone. Below are just a few. They range from the amusing to the misinformed, and although it’s easy to laugh at these, and I really did chuckle at a few, it’s worth imagining the embarrassment if your Google search history was printed out and laid bare for all to see. The thought of it brings me out in a cold sweat.