A letter written by Union Army general Oliver Otis Howard, who Howard University is named after, was recently found in a thrift store, and many are reveling in this unique historic find. Learn the story of how it was discovered in a thrift store from the article from a piece by Ashley Graham at NBC news below.

Source: NBC 2 News

Workers found a letter written in 1899 at the Saint Matthew’s House thrift store on Metro Parkway. The man who wrote it helped educate thousands of freed slaves after the Civil War.

This letter between friends was written by Union Army general Oliver Otis Howard, congratulating his fellow general on his 50th wedding anniversary.

“You’re just living your life and so you don’t think ‘Oh I’m doing something historic today,’” Howard University historian Dr. Lopez Matthews, Jr. said. “You just say, “I’m gonna write this letter to my friend and congratulate him on his wedding.””

After the war he helped create Howard University, one of the first Historically Black universities in our country.

“He is a national figure,” Matthews said. “He’s known as the greatest friend of Black people at that time.”

Source: NBC 2 News

Somehow his letter ended up at St. Matthew’s House, framed and waiting for someone to take a closer look.

“What caught my attention was just the date of it,” donor relations coordinator Allan Nicholson said, “so I just started doing the research on it.”

The letter will be added to a collection at the school bearing Howard’s name. 

“I just think it’s really neat that we find something like this in southwest Florida,” St. Matthew’s House regional manager Daniel Moore said, “an item that originated in Washington D.C. between two generals who were really good friends.”

“When people are creating history, they don’t realize that they’re creating history,” Matthews said.

The letter will make its way back to Howard University later this summer.