Do you have any of the lost editions of Letter from America?
Senior Producer, A&Mi
Alistair Cooke, presenter of Letter from America, in 1946
This November the BBC will be launching an online collection of 920 episodes of Letter from America, the weekly 15 minute programme written and presented by journalist and broadcaster Alistair Cooke. You’ll able to listen online or download these to play whenever you want.
Letter from America ran from 24 March 1946 to 20 February 2004 making it the longest-running speech radio programme in history. There were 2,869 episodes of Letter from America broadcast but there are huge gaps in the archive. In the early days the script was saved rather than a tape of the programme. The Letter from America covering the assassination of J F Kennedy is saved but, for example, the Bay of Pigs is missing.
Paddy O'Connell and the Broadcasting House team would love to hear from any listeners who recorded editions of Letter from America during the 1940s, '50s and '60s. If you were an avid listener who preserved one of these programmes do get in touch with the BH team via the form on the website.
(NB: In the 1990s many of the earlier historic episodes were re-recorded for commercial release - for this project BH are only looking for recordings made at the time of the original broadcast.)