An Autoethnography of Letter Writing and Relationships Through Time: Finding Our Perfect Moon

Document Type


Publication Date



An Autoethnography of Letter Writing and Relationships Through Time: Finding Our Perfect Moon is about love letters, stories, and the ability of words to bring people together across time and physical space.

Weaving together edited and annotated letters between a young couple in the 1930s with interludes of autoethnographic reflection, the book relates the author’s experiences as she has negotiated this project over 20 years. Reading the letters is a sepia-toned window into the very private world of two young, well-educated Jewish-American people who lived their lives against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, and Prohibition. The author uses reflective autoethnographic interludes to tell the story of finding the letters and to explore the significance of letters as a communicative genre. Adams considers the ethical implications of being a researcher eavesdropping on private moments in others' lives, and she explores the function of dialogue in the development of the romantic relationship that unfolds in the letters and between the letters and her. The author also advocates for the everyday relational communication practices that collectively comprise life's most important experiences.

Students and researchers interested in letter-writing, autoethnography, and relationship development will find relevance in this book. It will also be of value to those interested in letter collections, the ethical implications of intimate research on people from the past who cannot offer consent, the role of nostalgia in interpersonal communication, and anyone who thrills at a love story told from primary documents from the past.


Table of Contents

Prologue: Introducing Self and Others

1. Beginning a Romantic Correspondence

2. Defining a Relationship and Sharing Love through Music

3. Sharing Moments and Risks During the Great Depression

4. Balancing Work and Leisure While Planning a Life Together

5. Lillian and Harold Kurtin

Epilogue: A Postscript