'Love Barack': What young Obama wrote to his ex-girlfriend

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U.S President Barack Obama hugs first lady Michelle as they watch the Diamond Head basketball game between Oregon State and Akron during their Christmas vacation in Honolulu
U.S President Barack Obama hugs first lady Michelle as they watch the Diamond Head basketball game between Oregon State and Akron during their Christmas vacation in Honolulu, Hawaii, December 22, 2013. Reuters/Hugh Gentry

Emory's Stuart A Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library has obtained letters from young Barack Obama to his then girlfriend Alexandra McNear, who he met in California as a student. The letters, showing the former US President’s young love and early struggles, will be available for the public this week.

Those are a total of nine letters written and sent by Obama himself. Visitors and students can get the chance to read them as long as an appointment has been set. They will reportedly become available on Friday at Emory University Library.

Rose Library director Rosemary Magee told CNN that young Obama’s letters are "very lyrical letters." She said in a phone interview with the news organisation, "They reflect the search of meaning of a young man trying to find his place in the world and a sense of identity."

Magee said the letters are appropriate for a college campus as they show the former president’s aspirations as well as his deep longings to understand himself and the world. She also believes the letters are good for the university because much of what the former POTUS wrote are exactly what student go through themselves.

Love, Barack

Magee said the letters detail Obama’s transitioning and maturing. They were said to be written in cursive on lined or blank paper in black ink.

"I trust you know that I miss you, that my concern for you is as wide as the air, my confidence in you as deep as the sea, my love rich and plentiful,” Obama wrote in one letter. He ended that letter with the words, “Love, Barack.”

For Magee, the letters are intimate letters in a very philosophical way. The letters were written during 1982 to 1984 after Obama moved to Columbia University in New York City from California's Occidental College during his college years.

The former president as a young man

Like several young people, Obama had to be practical. In one of his letters dated 1983, he wrote about being unable to pay postage to mail a resume and writing sample, having to bounce a cheque to rent a typewriter.

He added in the letter that salaries in community organisations were too low to survive on, and that he hoped to work in “some more conventional capacity” for one year because that would allow him to “store up enough nuts to pursue those interests next.”

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