Excerpt from “84 Charing Cross Road” by Helene Hanff ~~Birthday~~

14 East 95th St.

New York City

April 16, 1951

To All at 84, Charing Cross Road:

Thank you for the beautiful book. I’ve never owned a book before with pages edged all round in gold. Would you believe it arrived on my birthday?

I wish you hadn’t been so over-courteous about putting the inscription on a card instead of on the flyleaf. It’s the bookseller coming out in you all, you were afraid you’d decrease its value. You would have increased it for the present owner. (And possibly for the future owner. I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages some one long gone has called my attention to).

And why didn’t you sign your names? I expect Frank wouldn’t let you, he probably doesn’t want me writing love letters to anybody but him.

I send you greetings from America – faithless friend that she is, pouring millions into rebuilding Japan and Germany while letting England starve. Some day, God willing, I’ll get over there and apologize personally for my country’s sins (and by the time I come home my country will certainly have to apologize for mine).

Thank you again for the beautiful book, I shall try very hard not to get gin and ashes all over it, it’s really much too fine for the likes of me.


Helene Hanff





1 Comment

Filed under Literature, Non-Fiction

One response to “Excerpt from “84 Charing Cross Road” by Helene Hanff ~~Birthday~~

  1. Helene Hanff was born in Philadelphia, USA on 15 April 1916, and died in New York on 9 April 1997, aged 80 years. She wrote this letter the day after her 35th birthday.

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