I recently bought a copy of 'Life in letters' - the letters of John Steinbeck. It is wonderful reading. Here are two short excerpts from a letter written in December 1931:
After the silence of ages, I have three letters from you all on the same day: To you I say Happy Christmas and Happy 1932. I found several things in your letters which were very amusing. The first is the complete belief of M. and O. [his agents] that I conceal masterpieces. I have written to them denying this. . .
Toby gets to singing so loudly that the police interfere. Were you at the beach with us the night he nearly drowned in his soup? I heard a gurgling noise beside me and there was Toby with his nose submerged in his soup snoring it in and gradually drowning. I have a feeling you were there."