There are some amusing letters to his "Elements of Style" editor at Macmillan, J. G. Case. They wrangled a bit, because White thought Case wanted him to soften up Strunk's words too much for modern audiences. White felt he had to draw the line.
I am used to being edited, I like being edited, and I have had the good luck and the pleasure of having been edited by some of the best of them, but I have never been edited for wind direction, and will not be now. Either Macmillan takes Strunk and me in our bare skins, or I want out. -- p. 416Later, after the book's surprising success, White's playful side comes out in a very short letter to Case.
The next grammar book I bring out I want to tell how to end a sentence with five prepositions. A father of a little boy goes upstairs after supper to read to his son, but he brings the wrong book. The boy says, "What did you bring that book that I don't want to be read to out of up for?" -- p. 447The book is a poignant reminder of what we may be losing in the analog to digital transition from dead tree books and letters to Kindles and e-mails. With a very useful index, the book is 713 pages long. And that's 713 pages that probably wouldn't be available to us, had White been writing in the age of e-mail.
Had he used e-mail, his letters would have been different and no doubt much more terse and businesslike. His style seemed to require the open space of a sheet of paper, some room on the page to roam about and play. Even if he had adapted to e-mail, most of his messages would probably have been lost. Few writers print out their e-mails, and if they select a few to save, their choices are probably different from what a future editor would select. And as for e-mails not saved on paper -- good luck.
It's a problem. Are you listening, Google? Meanwhile, we can escape from these worries to a more leisurely time when communication was less ephemeral, and the slower pace of conversation by mail allowed writers time to craft a nice turn of phrase rather than dashing off a few words on the keyboard and hitting send.