Recently, I learned about an interesting item of Elvis memorabilia that is on display at the Berlin Hard Rock Café. It is a handwritten draft of a letter that Elvis wrote while he was in the Army serving in Germany. According to the Hard Rock website, this two-page letter was written in 1959, and they consider it one of their better pieces of Elvis memorabilia. That’s big praise, because they’ve got a whole lot of Elvis stuff, including jumpsuits.
The website also says, “He [Elvis] was receiving hundreds of pieces of mail from fans back home who were beside themselves at the loss of their idol. Since it would have been impossible for Elvis to pen a personal response to each fan, he wrote a form letter that would be sent to those who wrote.”
Elvis reading fan mail in 1958
The letter is reproduced below, followed by an easier-to-read text of the message.
As you read the text, notice how Elvis tries to keep it personal but also generic enough to work as a response to many different fan questions.
Received your letter today and appreciated hearing from you very much. It helps me a great deal to hear from my friends and fans from back home. I’ll be counting the days and looking forward to the time to come, when I can return back to my homeland and start entertaining again, and doing the things I really love to do.
I’m sorry that I can’t answer each letter personally, which I would like to do, but due to my regular Army schedule, I do not have time, which I know you understand very well. My mind is constantly thinking of all my friends and fans that I had to leave behind.
I’m trying very hard to be a regular soldier and do my job the best that I can, as all other soldiers have to do, which is very hard for me to do, due to my tremendous request I have from the public to do so many things, which to my regret I am unable to fulfill. But I appreciate each and every one of you as friends, fans, and every letter that I receive helps me so much to carry on. Please except this very short note for this time and I hope to hear from you again real soon.
If you do not get a reply from your letter soon and I know that you will understand why.
Until I see you again take care of yourself, and keep up the good work and I know you have done a great job.
I’m very sorry that I cannot answer question that people ask me, but maybe there will come a time soon, when I meet you in person and then I will be able to tell you things about myself.
But until that time: “May God bless you and keep you always.”
P.S. Don’t believe those rumors you read or hear about marriage. I have not found anyone I care that much about yet, and when I do, I will make the announcement, and then you can be sure.
!!! Get this typed up on E.A.P stationary. !!! Need 500 of them.
You will notice that Elvis considered three different closing messages. The first was: “Sincerely your friend, E.P.” Next he tried: “Loving you, Elvis Presley.” And finally, the one he chose: “Best Wishes, Elvis Presley.”
I like the little P.S. about marriage. We don’t know the date when this was written, so it may be before Elvis met Priscilla. If so, the part about “I have not found anyone I care that much about yet” would be true. However, if it was after Priscilla came into the picture, he may have been telling a little fib just to keep the fans happy.
It sounds like Elvis took plenty of personal stationary with him to Germany. I wonder if 500 copies of this letter were enough. I once read that Elvis received over 3,000 fan letters at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, and he was there only a few days. Think how many he received in a year-and-a-half in Germany.
One of the more unique fan letters Elvis received while in Germany
(Photo thanks to Jerry Osborne: Elvis – Like Any Other Soldier)
Elvis won’t win any literary award for this letter, but, all in all, I think he crafted a pretty sincere message that effectively begged off responding to each fan letter while still sounding personal. Don’t you wish you were one of the lucky fans that received a copy of it?
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