One approach to answering that question would be to read a sampling of letters that women throughout history have written. Here are a couple of books to get started.
Women's Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to Present
, edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler (Dial Press, 2005).
In a decorative dust jacket featuring a collage of US postage stamps depicting notable women through the centuries of American history, the book begins with a 1775 letter from Rachel Revere to her husband, the iconic Revolutionary War hero, Paul Revere, and winds through the next few centuries with letters from women connected to historical figures and events.
Farnaz Fassihi, a Wall Street Journal correspondent on the ground in Iraq during the recent war sent an eye opening email on the perilous conditions amidst the insurgents' attacks on coalition forces. This email from 2005 concludes the selection for this book. In between are more than 400 letters and more than 100 photographs to contemplate written glimpses into American history from the viewpoint of the women who did the writing.
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Beyond the scope of American history, letters from the following collection of women writers in America, Britain, France, and Spain offer a broader range of voices from the twelfth century to the end of the twentieth century:
800 Years of Women's Letters
, edited by Olga Kenyon (Bramley Books, 1997).
Heloise writes to Abelard from twelfth-century Paris, Queen Victoria writes to Sir Robert Peel of the disgrace and neglect of Buckingham Palace, Jane Austen writes to her sister about Dr. Johnson, and Mary Kingsley writes about travelling in the Congo. These and many more letters are divided into chapters thematically:
- How Women View their Role
- Marriage and Children
- Daily Life
- War and the Alleviating of Suffering
- Illness and Ageing
- Political Skills
Brief biographies of the women are included as well as a full bibliography.