Question re frames / css from a newbie

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Situation and apologize in advance for the long description.

I have several letters (in the neighbord hood of 200) that I have  
trasncribed and want to put up on the web.

The lay out as I picture it is:

Top / banner
       some navigation (links / about / history / ... )
left column: letter date / title
right column: letter text (which also includes the picture of the letter)

footer: copyright / etc??

both the table of contents and the letter may exceed the users screen  
length and I would like to scroll them independently.  If the user selects  
a different letter, put it in the right had box, but leave the toc alone  
(no movement)

I can:
1) do it with frames
2) do it with tables and imbedded iframes <??>

Now come the ignorance questions:
banner consists of two pictures one align: left, the other align: right
with some text (Site title) inbetween.  The left hand picture sets at the  
top, the text aligns center:center (no such but I think you understand  
what I mean), the right hand picture drops down about 3em and I can't seem  
to get it to the top.  Suggestions??

Now for the dumb question:
If I do this with frames - what are the minimum specifications that need  
to be included in the html for each 'page' (toc and individual letters).

I can't point to a web site as this is still 'pie in the sky' ('let's  
learn html/css by doing something realistic???)

Thanks //al (fix the email to reply directly)

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