Today, we rely heavily on electronic methods to communicate across space, but a century ago, written documents and letters sent by mail was the primary means of communication across distances. If only we had an archive of these documents, we would have a rich source of for historical analysis.
For example, two collectors in the Cariboo District in British Columbia have created a website which they call a 'virtual museum' of pioneer North American Chinese. On this site, they show some of the fascinating Chinese artifacts, ephemera, and collectables they have gathered from around the Province that are probably similar to those found across North America. Many letters, or at least mailed envelopes, are part of the collection. A few examples are shown below.
If only we had the contents of those envelopes, we could learn more about the people who wrote and received these letters and learn more about the everyday life experiences of times past.