Emory University To Display Love Letters From A Young Barack Obama
Emory University will be publicly releasing a collection of handwritten notes former President Barack Obama wrote during his youth. The letters, which were obtained by Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library in Atlanta, were sent to Alexandra McNear, his girlfriend at the time, throughout the 1980s.
“It’s a story of a journey over a couple of years about a sense of self-understanding, self-definition and his understanding of himself and place in the world,” Rosemary Magee, the director of the library, said in an interview with the New York Times. She added that the letters allow people to learn about a “young man who is yet to become or even dream about becoming President Obama.”
“You’re coming in at these letters at a point in President Obama’s and Alex McNear’s relationship where you can see the arc of the breakup that’s going to happen,” Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at the university added. “Their relationship, at the point that we’re reading it, is very intellectual and they’re clearly struggling with each other. They’re both trying to find themselves and they’re having tough intellectual conversations with each other.”
One letter from 1984 begins with Obama telling McNear that her “call gave me a boost.”
“Somehow a clutter of numbers and appointments and bills had grown over your last letter,” Obama wrote. “Hearing your voice was like discovering a passage in a book I had read a while ago.”
In another letter from 1984, Obama wrote about his future while working at Business International Corporation in New York.
“My ideas aren’t as crystallized as they were while in school, but they have an immediacy and weight that may be more useful if and when I’m less observer and more participant,” Obama wrote.