Barack Obama's intimate love letters to a former girlfriend have been made public. The poetic series of nine handwritten notes were penned between 1982 and 1984, while the former President was dating Alexandra McNeal, and attending Columbia University. They have been released by researchers at Emory University's Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, and give an insightful look into Barack's formative years as he struggled with his identity, feelings of loneliness and hopes for the future. In one of his earliest letters, he wrote: "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." It was signed: "Love Barack."
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Barack Obama pictured as a student at Columbia University
Their long-term relationship was not to last, however, and in 1983 he told her: "I think of you often, though I stay confused about my feelings. It seems we will ever want what we cannot have, that's what binds us, that's what keeps us apart."
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The letters were written five years before Barack met his future wife Michelle, née Robinson, when he was employed as a summer associate at a Chicago law firm. The couple went on to get engaged in 1991 and were married on 3 October, 1992. They are now the parents to two children, daughters Malia, 19, and Sasha, 16.
Michelle Obama on her wedding day to Barack in October 1992
The library's director, Rosemary Magee, said the content of Barack's letter as both deep and thoughtful. "While intimate in a philosophical way, they reflect primarily a college student coming to terms with himself and others," she remarked. "In fact, they show the same kind of yearnings and issues that students everywhere encounter. They will serve as sources of both inspiration and reassurance to people of all ages and backgrounds."
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