Illuminate Your Signature: The Story and Etiquette of Monograms

Monograms are more than just initials. It is a name stripped to its essence. A monogram tells a tale of our identity, who we are and who we want to be. The first monograms were seen on coins as early as 350 B.C. in Ancient Greece. The monograms on the coins were the first two letters of the Greek cities, which indicated where the coins came from. At the height of the Middle Ages, artisans began to use monograms as a signature to their work. A monogram became a way for an artist to take ownership of her work. The painter Rembrandt’s signed initials, RL, are iconic and ultimately allowed his work to become instantly identifiable during the peak of the Dutch Golden Age. The Victorian era propelled the use of monograms to symbolize aristocracy. Monograms were the perfect way to adorn their linens, but they were soon etched onto personal treasures, such as lockets. JF-Monogram

While monograms come in an array of typestyles and shapes, they always contain a person’s or couple’s initials. The most popular monogram for a man or a woman consists of the initials of the first and middle and that of the surname, which is always located in the center of the monogram.

  1. A 3-letter monogram captures the individual’s entire name. The first name is represented by the letter on the left and the middle name is represented by the letter on the right. The surname is always the initial located in the center.
  2. An individual can also create a 1-letter monogram, which can represent the first or last name.

Couples can get in on the fun, too. A monogram is the perfect way to capture your commitment and also create your own symbol as a couple. Today’s modern couples can choose from many variations on monograms to accommodate name changes, including a hyphenated last name, a bride keeping her family name, and brides and grooms keeping their family names.

  1. The most common monogram for a couple with a sole last name is to position the wife’s initial on the left, the husband’s initial to the right, and their last name in the middle. Same sex couples can choose the arrangement of their initials based on the aesthetic of the letter arrangement.
  2. For couples who decide to keep their given surnames, a 2-letter or 4-letter interlocking monogram is the perfect solution. Interlocking monograms are a beautiful way to capture the symmetry of the letters visually, and, more profoundly, the balance and harmony of a couple’s dedication and love.

DandC monogram

Although there is an etiquette to monogramming, monograms are an expression of one’s identity. They represent elements of your personality all while highlighting the most significant parts of your name. The monogram is a timeless expression, one that is subject to the intricacies of your personality, making it truly yours.

Madeleine Garone,

Madeleine Garone signature

Revisiting Our 14 Days of Valentines: The Chosen Love Note

This year we at Dempsey & Carroll asked ourselves, “Why does Valentine’s Day have to be only one day?” With this question in mind, we launched the 14 Days of Valentines to promote and honor the love that surrounds us. Image

We extended the opportunity to everyone to share their love notes with us. After being inspired by such moving and personal notes, we selected our favorite, a love note from Michael Buffon to his wife. He graciously allowed us to share his note, which can be found below.

I still remember the first time I met you…hours went by in what seemed like minutes.  I knew that there was something special about you and I felt an instant connection. Twelve years went by and through chance we reconnected and my life was changed forever.

My wife, best friend, and lover, you’re more than I could have ever imagined.  I love you more each day and I am yours forever.  I am truly blessed and celebrate our love with you this Valentine’s Day. 

Notes like Michael’s show us love is a profound and powerful sentiment that we can feel and experience. We thank Michael, his wife, and all who shared their letters for making this a very special Valentine’s Day for us. Though Valentine’s Day has come and gone, we can make believe it’s Valentine’s Day every day with kind actions (those “just because I love you” kind), smiles, and of course, a thoughtful handwritten note.


After the War Ends, Love is Still There: Winston and Clementine Churchill

In times of love and war, handwritten letters reigned. For Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine, their letters acted as portals into each other’s worlds while apart during their 56 year relationship. Twenty-five years before he was to become the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Churchill, who was deeply devoted to his country, joined the army to fight in World War I. As he ventured into the war zone, he wrote a letter addressed to his beloved Clementine on July 17, 1915, in an envelope marked with “To be sent to Mrs. Churchill in the event of my death.” Despite the worry that burdened Clementine’s heart while her husband was away at war, she ultimately never had to open the letter.

churchill letter to clementine

Churchill’s letter to Clementine in case of his death. Dated July 17, 1915. (Image courtesy of:


Do not grieve for me too much. I am a spirit confident of my rights. Death is only an incident & not the most important which happens to us in this state of being. On the whole, especially since I met you my darling I have been happy, & you have taught me how noble a woman’s heart can be. If there is anywhere else I shall be on the look out for you. Meanwhile look forward, feel free, rejoice in life, cherish the children, guard my memory. God bless you.

Good bye.


The couple’s correspondence acted as an avenue to the other’s hearts during an era in which the loss of life was staggering. It is because of their letters that the love between Winston and Clementine Churchill became immortal.

Winston and Clementine Churchill saluting the troops aboard the RMS “Queen Mary” in 1943. (Image courtesy of:

Winston and Clementine Churchill saluting the troops aboard the RMS “Queen Mary” in 1943. (Image courtesy of:

The Fourteen Days of Valentine’s Day: Ready, Set, Show Your Love!

The Fourteen Days of Valentine’s Day are here! At Dempsey & Carroll, we enjoy celebrating life’s major events, especially the ones that stem from love.


While love is in the air, we are inviting you to share your love letters, emails, texts, and post-its with us. All submissions should be sent to before February 2014. On February 17th, we will select one submission as our favorite. The winning submitter will receive an engraved 2014 Calendar and our Sweet Sentiments. calendar

To inaugurate the 14 days of Valentine’s Day, Dempsey & Carroll’s president Jennifer Pool shares her wedding vows.


I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;
I cannot promise riches, wealth, or gold;
I cannot promise you an easy pathway
That leads away from change or growing old.

But I can promise all my heart’s devotion;
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;
A love that’s ever true and ever growing;
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.

(inspired by This I Can Promise, author unknown)


Exchange of Rings

With every smile and touch of your hand you remind me to live in the moment
There are no second chances

We love each other every day squeezing everything we can
Out of the world around us

I’ve found myself in you
My best friend

Forever is a long time
But somehow shorter than it took to find you

I will always love you because
Somehow I always have

Thank you for loving me the way you do.


Love letters, notes, and vows are what we hold close to the heart. Our sentiments become immortal in these letters, a permanent reminder of what love is and how we can integrate it in our daily lives. Now that’s something worth celebrating!