While Kaczynski refused to speak to his family after his arrest, his mother, Wanda, wrote him constantly until her death in 2011, in hopes of reconciliation. He never responded.

The Washington Post:[1]

Wanda writes to Ted at least every other week and sends newspaper articles and magazines stories about the environment and other topics she thinks may interest him. She also sends him some money to buy provisions in the prison.

“I write him short notes and tell him that I think about him all the time and that I hope he is well. In one of the first letters, I said, 'I want you to know that I have always loved you and always will.’”

Ted has not responded to any of the letters. They don't hold that against him. They just hope that one day he will pick up a pen or make a telephone call to get in touch. And they'll be waiting.

“I don't let myself think about the possibility of never hearing from him or never seeing him again.”

The final letters:[2]

Thanksgiving 1999, Wanda sends Ted a care package.

“Dear Ted, something to help in keeping you occupied over the holidays.”

Ted annotates it for the researcher.

“With this note, the stupid sent me crossword puzzle books and the like, which of course I threw out.”

A few years later, Wanda sends Teddy a note saying she admires how he's 'always come to the defense of the powerless; children, minorities, migratory workers.'

Ted's take:

“My mother must be getting senile. I have never taken any interest in causes of this kind.”

There's more, most just a few sentences conveying her love and support. Ted never responded to any of them.

The last came in 2011, Wanda was 94. It was sent a few months before her death. It's the shortest of all:

“Dear son, as always, I love you, mother.”

Ted did not add an annotation.

The Letters

Ted to Ma -- 8/?/68


[Letter addressed to Kaczynski w/out a salutation. A long letter in which Ted details his latest adventures at the beach.]

I went to this beach about 2hrs drive from here. I got up at 4:30 a.m. so as to get there when it was deserted. I had been at that beach before, and I found that you could only walk down the beach for less than a quarter mile before coming to a neck which stuck out into the water and which was too steep to climb up.

This time I brought a pair of trunks (which I purchased specifically for that purpose) so that I could wade around the rock and see what was on the other side. Well, I found that by a combination of wading and climbing I could get far enough to see a nice rocky beach on the other side of the rock, but the water was too cold (7 a.m., chilly weather) and too deep to get all the way around. So I climbed a steep rocky incline and went for a pleasant walk along the tops of the cliffs. This enabled me to see the attractive, deserted beach below; but the cliffs were too high and steep to climb down. However, when I got back, I found that the tide had receded somewhat and the weather was warmer, so, by a combination of climbing and wading, I got around the rock. The water was still numbingly cold, but I only had to go in up to the waist, and the exercise kept me warm. I went for a short walkl on the beach on the other side, but I couldn’t go far, because by this time the day was well along, and I had to get back, However, I found

  • (i) An Alalone shell, in poor condition, but still impressive. I will send it to you one of these days.

  • (ii) A cave, which is nothing so amazing, what was amazing was that I didn’t see any s___ or carvings in it!

  • (iii) I saw a seal, or rather, I saw the h___ 2/3 of it as it was sliding into the water.

On the way back, I found that I couldn’t climb over the rock while carrying the abalone shell, so I had to wade all the way around, which entailed taking off my jacket and shirt and going into that nice cold water up to my neck; which was fun, because it didn’t last very long.

As a bit of bravado, just to show off in front of all those sissies sitting on the main beach, all those panty-waists who were too chicken to go into the water to get to the other, deserted beach, I went all the way back to the car in just my trunks; right past all those people with thin winter coats; with their parkies and mukluks on; past all those guys trotting along after their dog leash yelling “mush, you huskies”; past all those squinty women saying to their husbands, “look, honey, who’s that nut over there?”

The other day I took another trip to the seashore – but a different place this time. At this place the rocks form a lot of nice tidal pools. By turning over rocks in these pools I caught tow crabs and two small eels, which I brought home and ate. They were good eating ...

Ted to Ma -- 9/16/1968


ENVELOPE - Postmark dated SEP 16 1968 BERKELEY CA (T-1)


463 N. RIDGE





I enjoyed being home very much--except I was a bit disappointed in the wild plums. I still think the kind of woods one finds in Illinois, Iowa, and Southern Michigan are about the best I have seen, except there's so little of them.

Am sending Mushroom hunter's field guide to Dave as Birthday present. Please forward if he's gone when it arrives.

You got a nice house there. Only one thing wrong with it. It's in Chicago area.

If by chance you haven't thrown out those Cow - parsnip roots, and if they haven't gotten moldy or something, please send 'em to me. I forgot them. If you have thrown them out, don't worry about it.

The trip back to Calif. Got to Lisbon bank a little before closing and took out coins. (Parenthetically, I am considering the possibility of selling some of my "dead" collections that are complete and no longer of interest to me e.g. Mercury dimes, Roosevelt dimes, Jefferson nickels, Washington quarters. If by any strange chance you should be interested in acquiring any of these coins, let me know, and I'll give you first chance at them if I decide to sell any.) It was too late to go on to next desirable camp, so I just camped out at the place where I go carp-fishing. Next morning I caught a carp and had it for brunch, along with some tomato soup and corn meal. Started at about noon, and camped that night at an uninteresting place in

Nebraska. Next stop was in Wyoming, same place I camped on the way east. Saw three antelopes and chased them on foot. Unsuccessfully, I hardly need add. But I can't help thinking it would be fun to try to hunt them with spears by getting 4 or 5 guys in good condition for running and trying to herd an antelope toward the river, where you could corner it. That would be going right back to the

Paleolithic! But it probably would be illegal or something.

However, I suppose you could just try to hit the thing with a thrown stone. Then you could get out your picnic basket and pretend you're eating antelope meat.

Anyway, these vast open semi-desert wyoming ranges give you a tremendous feeling of freedom. But too barren. Not completely barren, though. I found 4 edible plants there; a kind of dock (greens) (but looking pretty woe-begone); Lambs-quarters - (greens - later in the year will produce edible seeds) but it was bitter. Not bitter elsewhere, maybe the bad soil here made it bitter. Probably pear (but small ones) and a kind of (UI) belonging to the mustard family.

I have (UI) the exact species etc.) but most (UI) in the Mustard family is edible, so I tried (UI) quantity of it. Raw, it was terribly (UI) practically inedible. (This is typical of the mustard family.)

Cooked, all hotness disappeared. Both the greens and the thick, turniplike taproot were tender and digestible. The root seemed nourishingly starchy. But unfortunately it was rather bitter.

(Back to Iowa, I forgot to mention; I found some great big wild cherries, at least as good as the ones in your yard; I found a pear tree with sweet but somewhat woody pears; a peach tree with two perfectly good peaches on it. I gathered a bunch of ripe acorns there, and I will try to put them through the treatment to make them edible.)

Next stop Wells, Nevada. too hot on plains, but sufficiently cool way up on the mountain, where I camped (not far from (UI) mountain). Beautiful little pond (UI) a lake) produced by dams (UI).

Some people caught some fish there. I saw a deer there. I climbed up the mountain as far as I dared (climbing looked dangerous higher up) and got beautiful panoramic view. Bet I could see 100 miles - literally. Very stimulating. Found a kind of cactus there. You can cut it open and cut out the insides with a knife - good to eat raw, but not as juicy as one might hope. Cattle grazing on mountain side. Next stop, Berkeley. Ugh. Hippies and congestion. Water shut off at my house had to go 2 days without own water supply because Water office closed on the obscure holiday of "admission day". I don't know whether that's the day Calif. was admitted to the union or the day the H2O Dept. admits it is all fucked up. When Water office finally opened Tues. morning I found out some Mr. Stoller had called and had my H2O supply put in his name, then failed to pay the deposit, so H2O shut off. The water company (UI) probably gave them wrong address, so all O.K. now. Tues I drove up to Humboldt county for deer hunting. 5 hour drive. Arrived late Afternoon. "King's range", the place is called. Federal lands, right along Pacific Ocean. Mountainous terrain. Same place I went last year. Was there about 5 days; didn't get a buck only through my own carelessness, as will be explained shortly. Place is teaming with deer; for instance

I saw 18 deer on one day. Trouble is, most of the deer you see are does or fawns. I talked to the caretaker there, who remembered me from last year. He is a guy maybe 40 years old. Cowboy boots and Western accent. More or less ignorant, but seems like a nice guy.

He said an old man and 4 boys had been running the deer with dogs and he supposed that that must "have them pretty well shook up". He also said that an awful lot of bucks had been killed there this year - about 60 that he knew of personally, and that wasn't all of them. He said probably the only ones left are the old ones that have been dodging hunters for a few years, and they are too damn smart.

Apparently these bucks are pretty hard to get, because of this reason.

This guy apparently spends all day driving around this place and working at this and that, and he keeps a much-used-looking rifle with a telescopic sight in his truck - presumably to get any bucks he might see. The deer season was open for more than a month before I got there, and yet this guy had apparently gotten at most one buck, because he was still hunting for them, and you are only allowed 2 bucks a season. He told me one day that in the morning the following had happened. He saw a buck standing up on a ridge maybe 300 yards away, too far to shoot, really but he tried a shot anyway. He hit it and it fell, but wasn't killed. He heard it "making a hell of a racket" down in the canyon, but he wasn't able to find it, so he never did get it. Then another day he told me that the preceding evening he saw some deer moving not far from his house. He went to investigate and found a buck among them. The buck was facing him 200 feet away, so he couldn't shoot him in the side. He didn't want to shoot him in the breast because that "tears 'em all apart". So he aim for the neck, apparently quite confident of hitting it, but he missed. He seemed quite chagrined about missing. "Next morning I drew up on a target and hit it dead on. Must have been just me I guess". --he said

Anyway, first 3 days I didn't see any adult bucks at all. I met some other guy hunting - young guy maybe in his middle 20's - and we hunted together for awhile. Saw lots of does but no bucks (except a young one with 2-inch horns, too young to shoot. He apparently had hunted deer a lot before, (UI) and talked as if he knew a lot, but I don't think he knew too much, actually. I didn't like him too well; but I guess he was alright. From talking to him and other people I rather get the impression that people generally are not too fastidious about observing the details of hunting and fishing laws - which is not surprizing, since the laws are kind of complicated. Anyway, I was getting kind of discouraged at not seeing any bucks, so on about the 3rd or fourth day, in the evening, when it rained, I took a walk without taking my gun along because I felt it would be too much trouble to wrap something around it to keep the water from running into the insides. I went up chemise mountain trail, and saw about 8 does on the way up. After I looked around on top,

I started down again, and just a little way down the trail (UI) see but a nice young buck grazing along the trail, with his rear end toward me. The leaves were wet, so they didn't crunch under my feet, and the sound of the rain covered any noise I might make, so it was easy to sneak up on him, even though he moved a few yards off the trail as he grazed along. I was within about 15 feet of him before he noticed me.

With the rifle, it would have been a sure thing. It was so damn frustrating not to have it. I went back down again to get it, but by the time I got back up there it was almost dark. I could hear a deer (probably him) moving around in the bushes, but I couldn't see anything.

I saw another buck (or maybe it was the same buck - don't know.) at a different place along the same trail the following evening. I was walking along the trail very slowly and quietly. First there was a doe that saw me before I saw her and bounded off. Then, a little further (UI) I saw something shaking the branches of a bush. I assumed it was a squirrel or a bird, because that's what it usually is, but when I got closer I saw a deer's face down in the bush, eating something.

I looked at it for a few seconds to see whether it had antlers (I couldn't see at first because of the leaves) and sure enough it did, but by the time I saw that it did, the deer noticed me and took off.

It was going fast through thick brush and trees, so naturally I missed when I took a shot at it. Probably I shouldn't have shot at it, because sometimes they run a little distance and then stop and look at you for a while. Then I would have had a better chance. Next time maybe I will know better. I wasn't more than 15-20 feet from that deer either before he noticed me.

Well, maybe I can get away (UI) and have another chance. Also, the squirrel season will be open by then, so I can try my luck with them, too. But for now its back to the old grind.


P.S. (crosses out When you he) (Shit on that pen) When you have the good fortune to see a buck, deer hunting is very exciting. Trouble is, seeing it in the first place depends too much on luck. Maybe if you were a real first class expert, like the Indians or something, you would be able to trace them, or know better where to find them.

But where to learn all that stuff? I have tried some of the tricks I have read in book but they don't seem to work too well.


Ted to Ma -- 5/30/1969


[Letter addressed to Kaczynski from Ted, w/out a salutation. Discusses the draft board, receiving and sending correspondence to the board; mentions receiving the Saturday Review; using parents’ address as contact point for the draft board; and one page at the end of letter re: midterm examination - Math 16A, Professor Kaczynski.]


Ted to Ma -- 5/9/1970


[Note to Ma from Ted thanking her for being a good mother.]


Ted to Ma -- 5/?/71


[Birthday card from Ted addressed to Kaczynski, w/out a salutation. Mentions wishing Dave good luck.]


Ted to Ma -- 11/30/1976


[Christmas letter addressed to Kaczynski. Ted mentions the author Francois Leydet, who was writing a book on predators. Mentions corresponding w/him, sending him personal accounts of his encounters w/predators; mentions the book The Coyote: Defiant Song-Dog of the West; and discusses preparing coyote stew.]


Ted to Ma -- 11/26/1990


[Letter to Ma from Ted. He addresses the following: no longer corresponding w/Dave; relates Dave described Joel’s personal habits as grotesque; mentions Frazer’s book Golden Bough; states he received a letter from Juan Sanchez; asks if Ma had a good trip to Florida and did she see Tyler.]


Ted to Ma -- 12/10/1990


[Letter from Ted to Ma. Ted discusses the following: story from Dave entitled El Ctbolo; mentions Hank Gathers, an athlete; medical tests he has received; needs stitches in his neck examined; asks Ma for his two Harvard yearbooks and letters of his which are more than 20 years old. There is an attachment re: Ted’s medical tests.]


Ted to Ma -- 12/21/1990


[In a letter to Ma, Ted discusses the following: states Norm Schoer is “a twerp;” says he would like to have a copy of the Dombek family history; mentions Benny and Freda; discusses his knowledge of Greek history and states he has read the following books: Thueydidsis’ History of the Peloponesian War, Oxford History of the Classical World, A Biography of Pericles, and Greek Realities, Finley Hooper. Ted mentions Skeptical Enquirer and CSICOP, which is an acronym for Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.]


Ted to Ma -- 12/?/90


[Ted’s Christmas greetings to his mother.]


Ma to Ted - 12/31/1990

Dear Ted,

Hope you're surviving your cold spell well It’s cold here, too, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed Will the car start? Will the old furnace bonk out? Will the water pipes freeze? Oh, Ted, where are you when I need you? I sure do miss Dad, although I am managing all right.

I'm going to explore libraries for the Skeptical Inquirer. I'd ... you didn't send me ... Because I would ____ too much about their ... back and forth safely ... for deal tactfully with the ... have been ... friends and I’d hate ... their feelings.

... Listing I sent you.

Ted to Ma -- 1/15/1991


[Letter to Ma. Ted mentions several articles. These are as follows: Skeptical Enquire, Vol. 13, article entitled, The Lore of Levitation, by Gordon Stein; Levitation, Miracles in India, by B. Prmanand; and Fall 1985 issue, Vol. 10, No. 1, entitled Investigation of Firewalking, by Bernard Leikind. (Ted makes a notation that “they spell ‘Inquirer’ with an ‘I.’ I spell it with an ‘E.’” Ted jokes He states he would like to have an old music book, Method for Trombone or Baritone, by Voxman. Mentions that he doesn’t want to make two trips to the post office; mentions the Schoers and Freda.]

If you haven’t read Joseph Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent, I can recommend it to you very strongly. The central character of the novel is a woman who in childhood suffered abuse from a drunken father that is very reminiscent of the kind of thing that you depict in your history. I think you would strongly identify with this woman and greatly appreciate the novel. The critics consider The Secret Agent to be one of Conrad’s greatest works, and I agree with them. The revolutionaries depicted in the novel are mere caricatures but the central figures – Mr. Verloc and his 3 dependents – are a brilliant triumph of the novelist’s.

Ted to Ma -- 1/19/1991


[Ted writes to Ma and discusses the certificate of deposit w/Ted as a joint tenant; mentions the possibility of contracting a physical ailment such as prostate cancer; says the “system increasingly interfered w/my independent way of life...;” talks about asking the state for aid; mentions to his mother “you know why I want to avoid stress.” Ted relates he doesn’t want to go into town because of the germs during flu season; thanks his mother for her generosity. The money she has given him and Dave. Ted says “it must be more difficult for you to be generous with a stormy character like me, with whom you’ve had such conflicts, than with a gentle and easy-going person like Dave.” Mentions Tyler.]


Ma to Ted - 1/23/91

January 23, 1991

Dear TJ,

The whole financial problem at this point is very simple Just state the full and honest facts ...

Ted to Ma -- 3/14/1991


[Ted writes to Ma and discusses the following: cashing in certificates and can he use this money for medical purposes such as travel, food and lodging connected w/doctor appointments; tells Ma he hopes Tyler’s leg is ok and to relay this to Freda; Ted states... “don’t send any stamps - I’m fixed for those;” mentions the book Manners and Customs of the Indians, by John D. Hunter; discusses receiving an annuity instead of a lump sum on his inheritance; and requests the following items:

1. His old letters

2 - Harvard/High year-books School

3 - Book mentioned above

4- Sheet music Ma doesn’ t want

5 - Reprints of his math papers

6 - His father’s old down coat]


Ted to Ma -- 5/7/1991


[Note to Ma wishing her a happy Mother’s Day and informing where his parcel post or UPS can be shipped.]


Ma to Ted -- 5/9/1991

Dear Son,

Here it is May 9 and I haven't heard from you about what the doctor said. Please call collect, or write right away. I’m so worried about you.


P.S. Enclosed is a little extra for your birthday. Let me know about medical expenses.


(Along Side: I'll be at Dave’s June 28-July 8)

Ma to Ted -- 5/12/1991

Dear Son.

Thank you so much for the birthday greeting It made me cheer up.

Enclosed is another $500 for medical or dental expenses. That leaves a balance of $7,032.81 to be drawn on as you need it In the meantime, it is accumulating interest, which will add to your balance at the end of the year At 8% - that's not bad."

By the way, you do not need to send me bills. You have always been strictly honest, and I trust you completely. Just tell me what the costs are

I know you are very being of this year, but I would appreciate about the ... And when that's so soon.

I will send out the other, but would keep a ... and birthday and mother's day you once sent ...

So far, Tullin's damaged growth

* If I draw out the whole thing now and send it to you , there would be a penalty and understanding of friends, before good. (On side) P S. I found the ... article hilarious!

Ted to Ma -- 5/16/1991


[Ted writes to Ma and discusses lab report re: skin growth; a personality test that Professor Murray manipulated him into taking through “psychological button-pushing;” his Harvard house master, John Finley who treated him with “insulting condescension.”]


Ted to Ma -- 5/22/1991


[Writes to Ma re: possibility of taking “echo” and “holter” tests for his heart problems; thanks Ma for the $500 check; tells Ma she can send him the 3 Harvard yearbooks, but not the book titled Fair Harvard; says he is sorry to hear about Ma’s cataract.]


Ma to Ted -- 5/24/1991

Dear TJ.

Since you have regulated your books, I sent them out before I got our letter in which you said not to send the FH book. If you didn't want it thrown out burn it or donate it to the library, but please don't be angry with me.

Thank you for telling me about the blood test. I'm so glad everything was normal. Keep me posted about further medical or dental expenses. I may be wrong but it sounds to me as if the first doctor is leaning over backwards to practice what they call defensive medcine. I think if she had doubts she would be more urgent about (?) their tests. Or is that just wishful thinking on my part? Wanting you to be well.

I take one Vitamin C caplet of 1000 mg a day I hope that's not too much but if 100 mg a day were harmful. I doubt if they would make each caplet that strong. What do you think? I also take one vitamin A (beta Carotin e) tablet a day.

The glasses I wear are treated to keep out ultra violet rays, and I wear a visor on sunny days. Also. Dave and Linda brought back from Greece a wonderful hat with a dropping wide brim that shades my whole face. The Greeks really know how to design a sun hat. Although my eyes blur from time to time, I can still read pretty comfortably and I dd well enough on my driving test to get my licensed renewed for another four years. I do have troubles with small print and have difficulty in making out street signs from a reasonable distance Hopefully the cataract is ...

Ted to Ma -- 6/18/1991


[Ted tells Ma to send him the letter from the Murray Research Center; indicates Norm Schoer sent him a photo and Ted did pick it up at the post office; says he will have to think over Ma visiting him or Ted visiting with her.]


Ted to Ma -- 6/24/1991


[Ted writes to Ma re: tests for heart irregularities; mentions writing to Dr. Goren; not being under stress lately; and inquires re: Tyler’s progress.]


Ted to Ma -- 7/9/1991


[Letter to his mother. Mother asks Ted to talk about his adolescent pain. All the psychological burden was thrown onto one person (Ted). Ted is blamed for everything. Ted harassed and dominated Dave. Mother constantly heaped insults which were not mistakes of attempted discipline. His mother never apologized for her behavior. Ted was infatuated with a Radcliffe girl and wanted moral support from his parents, but they only thought there was something wrong with him. They (parents) made him psychologically self-reliant. Blames not only parents but two teachers for all his problems. He had no social skills and was out of place at Harvard. He wanted desperately to find a girlfriend or wife.]


Ma to Ted - 8/?/1991

Dear T.J.,

Will be sending out the usual holiday gifts. Thanksgiving, Xmas, Easter, birthdays, etc.

The first one will be for Labor Day. Enjoy.


Ted to Ma -- 12/23/1991


[Note from Ted to Kaczynski, thanking parents for a gift of money.]


Ted to Ma -- 3/11/1992


[Ted asks Ma to let him know if she is claiming him as a dependent for income tax purposes. Ted doesn’t want to resume correspondence and has asked Dave about the dependent situation, but he has not responded.]


Ted to Ma -- UNK.


[This appears to be a letter from Ted to his mother. Ted responds to the statement “...truly sorry to have been such failures as parents...,” indicating his heart has softened a little bit by this statement, in that he no longer wishes she would drop dead for Christmas. Ted relates she was good to him at Christmas and his memories of the holiday are pleasant; states his root cellar is not completed, but is functional; doesn’t have enough potatoes and sugar beets for the winter; thanks mother for gift of fruit/nuts, etc., rec’d at Thanksgiving.]


Ted to Ma -- UNK.


[Letter to Ma from Ted re: not keeping in touch on a regular basis; thanks Ma for allowing him to stay “there” for so long.]


Ted to Ma -- UNK.


[Ted says although Harper’s Weekly is “disgustingly degenerate and urbanized,” he will try to have his manuscript entitled, Three Worthy Artisans, published because he needs money.]


Ted to Ma -- UNK.


[Combination Birthday and Mother’s Day card from Ted to Ma. (No date.)]


Ted to Ma -- UNK.


[First part of letter is UI. Ted mentions the Skeptical on Enquirer; discusses fat deer and how the remaining meat is lean and low in fat.]



[1] Serge Kovaleski. His Brother’s Keeper. The Washington Post, July 10, 2001.

[2] Eric Benson. Project Unabom: The Manifesto. Pineapple Street Studios, June 27, 2022.