Guide to Gracious Living: Episodes 7-10

Dempsey & Carroll has long been known as the arbiter of good taste and social graces. Now, as we near our 150th anniversary, we’re creating IGTV videos on how to live graciously in today’s world. Follow us on Instagram @dempseycarroll to stay up to date, and be sure to let us know if you have ideas for future videos! Please enjoy episodes 7-10 of our Guide to Gracious Living to learn more about #makingtraditionsmodern

 

Gracious Living: A “When-to” Guide for Wedding Paper

From save the dates to ceremony programs, we’ve provided our tips on how to have a seamless workflow for perfectly timed wedding papers.

 

Gracious Living: Calling Cards Then & Now Part 1 – Late 1800s

In the days when ladies might receive visitors during hours they were known to be “at home,” the calling card served to announce a visitor to the house. In Part 1 of Calling Cards Then & Now, we’ve shared insight into calling card etiquette from the late 1800s and how they were used when Dempsey & Carroll was founded!

 

Gracious Living: Calling Cards Then & Now Part 2 – 21st Century

Today, the etiquette guidelines for calling cards are no longer relevant! In Part 2 of Calling Cards Then & Now, we’ve made traditions modern by sharing just a few ways that calling cards can be used in the 21st Century.

 

Gracious Living: Return Address Etiquette and Inspiration

Whether you prefer a classic typestyle or custom design, we’ve shared a few thoughts on how to present your return address on envelopes!

Guide to Gracious Living: Episodes 1-6

Dempsey & Carroll has long been known as the arbiter of good taste and social graces. Now, as we near our 150th anniversary, we’re creating IGTV videos on how to live graciously in today’s world.  Follow us on Instagram @dempseycarroll to stay up to date, and be sure to let us know if you have ideas for future videos! #makingtraditionsmodern

 

Gracious Living: Thank-You Notes

Whether you are thanking a host for a lovely weekend or thanking a family member for a birthday gift, we’ve provided our pro-tips on how to write a sincere thank-you note.

 

Gracious Living: Interview Essentials 

It’s always important to put your best foot forward during the job search, so we’ve shared a few ways on how to ace your first (or next) interview.

 

Gracious Living: Gift Tags

We always love dressing up presents with a gift tag, but there are many ways that they can be used for any occasion!

 

Gracious Living: How to sign off on a letter

There truly is no right or wrong way to end a letter, but it is always important to think of your relationship with the recipient and to keep a consistent tone. We’ve compiled a few of our favorite sign offs for different situations, but the list goes on and on!

 

Gracious Living: Navigating Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

We’ve shared a few ways to graciously handle food allergies and dietary restrictions as a wedding or party guest and as a host. Communication is key!

 

Gracious Living: Escort Cards & Place Cards

What’s the difference between an escort card and place card, and what should be written on them? We’ve got you covered with different ways to use them and how to add a personal touch for your next event!

Brand Friend Spotlight: Brett Braley-Palko

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

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We are delighted to introduce you to Brett Braley-Palko as part of our Brand Friend Spotlight Series. Based in Pennsylvania, Brett works as a marketing manager while writing, baking, and tending to his farm and animals.

How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll?

Actually, it was through an Instagram rabbit hole. I have always been a huge fan of stationery, but living in in a more rural setting, I rarely get exposed to brands outside of big box stores! Now that brands are more readily accessible online, I’m able to find ones I love and stick with them, including Dempsey & Carroll. It was love at first sight! The crisp designs, the craftsmanship that’s evident, the little bit of irreverence in some of the marketing. I really loved it all.

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Do you have any favorite Dempsey & Carroll collections that helped to draw you in?

I think the collection that I first liked was the John Derian collaboration, particularly the Fly Fisher set. Derian has been a favorite store of mine (particularly the Papier-mâché animal heads and the collection of vintage Christmas ornaments they stock), and the collection was just right up my alley in classic and whimsical style. I also liked the mixed-media usage in the Lingua Franca Collection. So cute and innovative!

 

How do you make traditions modern?

I think about this a lot and I think, for me, it’s about injecting tradition into the small moments of the day. Whether it is writing a thank-you note to an old friend or taking a few hours to bake some bread instead of buying a loaf, I try to step back and appreciate what brings me joy in slow, intentional ways. I think that’s what tradition means to me these days.

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Can you recall the most memorable letter that you’ve received (or sent)?

To be honest, I don’t receive as much exciting mail as I’d like (poor me). Hardly any of my family writes, and I notice that letters tend to not act like boomerangs in that they’re almost never returned automatically. I’m going to turn this question on its nose a bit and say the most memorable letter(s) I’ve received actually came by request. I’m currently working on a project of collecting letters from literary and aristocratic figures of Early 20th Century Britain — think Nancy Mitford, Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, Heywood Hill, James Lees-Milne. As it turns out, the most exciting letters being sent my way are archival scans from Yale, Oxford, and Princeton these days.

We’d love to hear more about how got involved with this interesting project! What inspired you to start collecting these letters?

It kind of came out of nowhere! For the last couple of years, I have read quite a few books regarding the Bright Young Things and aristocracy in early/mid-20th Century Britain. I just really love that time period. When I strayed away from biographies and started reading more letter compilations, many of the prefaces would thank specific archives.

Being a lover of stationery, I was extremely curious about what their stationery was like; the paper colors, fonts, sizes. I was especially curious about the heading conventions for aristocratic figures (do they have their official title on the top? Their birth names? Just a location?). My hope now is to work with a stationer to design my own stationery in this same vein – simple, but not performatively “retro” – just to the bare bones of quality and design. Further, I’ll be pitching some ideas I have brewing of how these design elements have changed and what has stayed the same, such as the beautiful collections Dempsey & Carroll has maintained for 140 years!

 

 Where is your favorite place to write and catch up on correspondence?

Working from home means I’ve really carved a space for myself in our little house. My desk is an ancient and comically large work desk. It was my husband’s college desk and it kind of floated into our spare bedroom. It houses a scattering of iPhone cords, a typewriter, a thousand little notes to myself, and a few dozen library books that are surely overdue as I type this sentence. But it’s mine and once the door is shut, I’m able to get to get right to work while nursing my morning tea.

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 What are a few of your favorite things to do in your spare time?

Reading is a big pastime for me, so I aim to read at least a half hour before bed each night. I’m also trying to be fluent in French, so you’ll often hear Duolingo from my office. I live on a 5-acre farm in Pennsylvania, so much of my spare time goes to cleaning the house or taking care of our animals. We have 27 chickens and 3 spoiled dogs, so you can imagine most of my time goes to them. I’m also an avid baker, but just easing myself back into baking after a year hiatus (we got married in November, so most of 2018 was spent planning and staying busy with “life” things).

Tell us more about living on a farm! Is farming a main profession or just a hobby?

It’s just a hobby for now! After living in California for about five years, we were happy to move back and claim a piece of land for ourselves. My husband and I are both from this area of Pennsylvania, so once we maxed out a few credit cards and had a couple of nieces and nephews to meet, we decided it was time to return. A farm just seemed like the next step, being able to stretch ourselves out over the land versus being stuffed into another apartment (our landlord lived in our backyard at our last house).

With three dogs, I wanted them to have the freedom to run and play and exhaust themselves on the little plot that’s theirs as much as ours. I work full-time as a Marketing Manager from home, so my days are flexible enough I get to punctuate my breaks from conference calls between the barn and the yard with the dogs.

While farming for me will never be a large-scale operation, I’d love to transition into a more professional role with the farm. I’d like to write on the subject in more freelance work, and some of my work is actually being published this month in the Greenhorns Almanac. My goal is to carve out a space for myself in the farming community to speak of my experience and my philosophy behind animal rearing and stewardship.

But, alas, for now, the eggs we get are sold to librarians, my in-laws, and a select few neighbors!

 Thank you so much for sharing with us, Brett! Keep up with Brett on Instagram @brettfbraley, Twitter @brettfbraley, and brettfbraley.com!

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Learn more about being a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend!

Our Annual Sale 2019: Frequently Asked Questions

The beginning of a new year means that it’s time to start things off with a new note!  That said, we’re thrilled to share some answers to some frequently asked questions regarding Our Annual Sale (the perfect opportunity to update your stationery wardrobe with new notes of your very own).

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What is the Dempsey & Carroll Annual Sale?

Our most popular correspondence cards are offered at special pricing during the month of January.  Pricing of $295 (regularly $480) includes 100 #3 3-ply engraved correspondence cards, 100 plain envelopes, and a new one-line engraving plate.  Not sure what any of this means? Don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy-lifting for you. You’ll be sure to impress anyone with this classic choice.

 

Can I use any ink color or typestyle for my new cards?

This year, we are offering a selection 9 ink colors and 9 typestyles as part of the sale pricing. The 2019 offerings are listed below and on our website!

Correspondence Card Sale 2019 Offerings

 

What if I already have an engraving plate that I’d like to use? Is there an additional discount?

You are more than welcome to use an existing name plate for your sale order. Your existing plate can be in any typestyle.  There is no additional discount offered when you use an existing plate.

 

Can I add a return address to my envelopes?

Yes, you can certainly have your envelopes engraved with a new or existing return address plate.  The pricing for a quantity of 100 engraved cards and engraved envelopes with an existing return address is $490 (regularly $745). A new return address plate can be purchased at our normal pricing for an additional $190.

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Will I receive a proof for my sale order? 

A design proof is not included with your sale order, though you may choose to purchase a proof with your order for an additional $10.

 

I am planning on using my cards for more formal occasions like sympathy notes and professional correspondence. Do you have any ink color suggestions?

We would suggest using a more neutral ink color like Black, Regent Blue, Baron Gray, or Hunter Green for formal correspondence.

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Our Annual Sale is available through January 31, 2019
Please feel free to email us with any questions: info@dempseyandcarroll.com 

 

A Look Back at our 2018 Partnerships

As we look back at another great year at Dempsey & Carroll, our partnerships remain some of the most memorable highlights. 2018 brought several new collaborators into the Dempsey & Carroll mix, as well as some of our old friends who we were delighted to work with again. Our collaborations allow us to push ourselves in new directions – experimenting with new techniques and designs. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to work alongside these visionary and truly wonderful brands this year. 

 

Caitlin McGauley 

Having worked with Caitlin in 2017 through our partnership with The Maryn we were thrilled when she decided to introduce stationery to her own business. Her whimsical, bright, beautiful designs have been favorites of ours since we began working with her in 2017 and we absolutely adored translating some of her famous animals and animal-inspired prints into stationery. Who can resist her charming fox or a pink cheetah with red spots?!

Shop the collection here

 

Sister Parish Design 

We have been following Sister Parish Design for years now as admirers of their stunning prints, so you can imagine our delight when they approached us about developing a line of Sister Parish-inspired stationery. As the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Sister Parish herself, Susan and Eliza Crater lead their amazing brand and embody Sister’s vision. We took two iconic Parish Hadley prints, Serendipity and Desmond, and highlighted these motifs as classic stationery sets.

Shop the collection here

 

Whispering Angel 

Who doesn’t love a little something pink? We absolutely adored working on this collaboration with the winery behind our favorite rosé. Two charming angels engraved in Whispering Angel’s signature pink adorn the top of the luxurious 4-ply note cards we created for this wonderful winery. Time to drink pink!

Shop the collection here

 

Life Itself 

We partnered with the team behind Amazon Studios’ Life Itself this year to create a set of stationery reflecting two of the beautiful locations featured in this film. The stationery set showcases New York City and Carmona, Spain alongside a charming engraving of a fountain pen. The collaboration was inspired by the reasons we write, and connecting people in places thousands of miles away from one another.

Shop the collection here

 

Lingua Franca 

We could never in our wildest dreams have imagined that one day we would be selling stationery that had been embroidered and even more so,  embroidered with the coolest phrases like “booyah” and “everyday i’m hustlin’,” and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Hi, it’s us, Dempsey & Carroll, a 140-year-old stationery brand just selling cards with Rick Ross lyrics on them! How cool?! We loved every second of working with Rachelle of Lingua Franca and her truly amazing team. We are so happy to be able to offer these amazing note cards and delighted to partner with Lingua Franca, a company whose work we admire and are proud to be affiliated with.

Shop the collection here

 

J.McLaughlin

Third time’s a charm (though we loved the first and second ones too!)! This holiday season we released our third collaboration with famed ready-to-wear brand, J.McLaughlin. We shifted towards playful prints inspired by the season and created by artist John Pirman paired with cheery engraved phrases like “What a bright time,” and “Cheers.” We’re certainly cheersing a few of our friends this December with these note cards

Shop the collection here

Brand Friend Spotlight: Jon Prince

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

It is our pleasure to introduce you to Jon Prince as part of our Brand Friend Spotlight series. Based in Pittsburgh, Jon is a world traveler, candy expert, long-time Dempsey & Carroll fan, and more!IMG_4912

How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll? 

While attending boarding school in the early 80’s, I took a trip to Washington, D.C. and stumbled upon Dempsey & Carroll (Editor’s note – Our only Dempsey & Carroll store is in New York City, though we used to have a Washington, D.C store as well).  Ever the fan of the written word, I treated myself to a few boxes of beautifully made stationery – I still remember that it had a Jockey motif – and the brand has remained a favorite ever since.

 

Do you remember the first letter that you sent on your new stationery?

I recall I sent my parents a letter on my new equestrian emblazoned stationery, thanking them for letting me put the purchase on their charge. Kidding aside, if memory serves me, it was to a woman in Pittsburgh that I had a crush on who always commented that I used “beautiful stationery.”

What’s the most memorable handwritten note you’ve received? 

As a young man, I received a note from Gary Trudeau, author of Doonesbury. I also received a handwritten note from Walter Annenberg which I treasure and is tucked into the desk blotter in my office.

Where is your favorite place to catch up on correspondence?  

I enjoy catching up on correspondence at home in my study, often in the early morning hours. There is something cathartic about putting pen to paper while the house is quiet and life is at a temporary standstill

Pictured below, I have the Annenberg letter along with a letter from the chef of Tailevant Restaurant in Paris wishing me a happy 40th birthday (amazing meal). The wine vintage chart given to me by a dear friend and mentor who is deceased.

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Some of the coolest mementos on my desk include the actual diploma given to JFK when he got his honorary degree in 1963 from University of Galway, Ireland as well as a picture of my dad in basic training in the 50’s.

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We know that you have a pretty sweet job! What is your role at Candy Favorites and what are your main goals at work?

I am the President of CandyFavorites.com, the first online candy store. I am also the Vice-President of McKeesport Candy Co., which is the oldest wholesale candy company in the nation!

Robert Rauschenberg once said that his role was to “work in the gap between art and life.” I wear many hats, but my job is to bridge the gap between old world customer service and the impersonal nature of the internet to create an online experience that goes beyond selling a commodity.

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An insider look at the Candy Favorites warehouse

What does “making traditions modern” mean to you?  

Much like running my business, I love finding ways to keep old world traditions alive while embracing changes in social mores and technology. I loving sending handwritten notes to customers, and I always send notes to friends the day after a party or special meal.

Where business is concerned, most transactions occur on the “great electronic divide” and you can’t imagine the response when someone receives a well-written, witty note. It is a personal connection and bridge to a bygone era when saying “thank you” was the norm and not an exception.

I also have a stationery travel set and nothing is better, or less expected, than slipping a note under a friend or family member’s hotel room door or sharing your appreciation to a hotel, restaurant, or venue where you had a special experience.

I have received a few “thank you” notes via text and consider it a faux pas as it lacks effort or permanence. There is something intimate about choosing appropriate stationery, finding an elegant stamp, and making the effort to find a mail box.  Often, effort is as much appreciated as outcome.

What are a few of your favorite things that you do in your spare time?

I collect art and wine and I love to exercise, read, travel, and keep up with my two boys (aged 9 and 15).

My wife and I recently traveled to Cuba which we adored. It was akin to taking a step back in time and is a place where even the most mundane subjects make for beautiful photography. The colors are breathtaking and the people charming and hospitable!

Most summers, we take a family trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer in the South of France and were thrilled to see our favorite beaches emblazoned on the lining of the envelopes of your Cote D’Azur stationery.

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As an avid swimmer, I sent a note from this collection to a friend and drew a line showing where I swam across the bay! This, along with your baseball motif cards, served as a call to action for our boys to get into the habit of putting pen to paper!

 

J.McLaughlin x Dempsey & Carroll Holiday 2018

We always love collaborating with other brands to bring new designs to our paper. In some cases, our partnerships have resulted in multiple collections over the years.

We were delighted when our friends at J.McLaughlin approached us earlier this year to collaborate for the third time.  Once the design process began, we knew that we wanted to try something completely different!

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When the J.McLaughlin team showed us the geometric prints from their fabric collaboration with Florida-based artist John Pirman, we were absolutely charmed! The pops of red, gold, and blue would translate beautifully to the linings of our envelopes, and engraved holiday sentiments would tie the collection together.

 

We’re thrilled to ring in the holiday season with our J.McLaughlin Holiday card collection!

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Shop the collection: J.McLaughlin Holiday 

Brand Friend Spotlight: Tadd Casner

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

We’re thrilled to introduce you to Tadd Casner as part of our new Brand Friend Spotlight series. Based in Reading, Pennsylvania, Tadd is a Gilded Age historian, architecture enthusiast, writer, and more!IMG_4333

 

How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll?  Were there any particular products that drew you in?

I actually found your firm a couple years ago while looking for a proper engraved calling card.  I used my Emily Post etiquette book (1924 edition) as my guide!

When ordering my calling cards I knew that I only wanted my full name centered in the middle and my street address only (not city & state) in smaller font size in the lower right corner.  Very old fashioned!  I live in a city, albeit much smaller than New York!  The font style and card stock thickness were very important to me.  The calling cards that Dempsey & Carroll produced for me are perfect in every way!

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How do you make traditions modern? We’d love to hear more about the work that you do in your historic neighborhood!

My husband and I live in our 1908 Queen Anne twin townhouse here in the Centre Park Historic District here in Reading, PA.  The Centre Park Historic District, Inc. is a volunteer neighborhood organization that was established in 1982.  Its mission is “to promote architectural preservation and enhance neighborhood living.”  We have various events throughout the year including our annual Gourmet Garden Tour and Christmas House Tour.  We promote our events on our website as well as on our Facebook page.  In 2008, “This Old House Magazine” named Centre Park Historic District one of the top ten neighborhoods in America to purchase an historic fixer-upper.

I am now in my third year of serving as President of the Centre Park District. Truthfully, I became President because few people were interested in undertaking the task, though it has been a rewarding experience so far!

 

When did you know that you wanted to be a historian? Are there any particular time periods that interest you the most?

I’ve been fascinated by history and architecture since childhood. I suppose I was born with a talent for it!  My main focus is on The Gilded Age in America and Britain because I’ve always loved the style of that period. I can remember reading the same books over and over again and being obsessed with photographs taken during that era when I was young.IMG_0397

 

Are there any interesting projects that you’re working on now?

I am currently working on writing a Biography of J.H. Sternberg, a steel magnate here in Reading during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.  He was a very important pioneer in the iron and steel industry, as he patented machinery to produce nuts and bolts.  For seven years,  I actually resided in the home he had constructed.  The home, “Stirling,” sits on a five-acre property in the Centre Park neighborhood.

I am the co-host for two live TV programs at our community television station. One of the shows covers the Centre Park Historic District events, and the other show, “The Passing Scene,” is focused on local history in general.

 

Where is your favorite place to write and catch up on correspondence?

As we are restoring our home, I’m limited to writing at a small built-in desk in one of our dressing rooms. I also use the dining table in our restored dining room, though I am currently looking for an Edwardian period writing desk. IMG_1989

I love writing letters and notes. In our modern era of texts and emails, a handwritten missive seems so much more special and permanent.

Brand Friend Spotlight: Kerrie Kelly

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

Based in California, Kerrie Kelly is an award-winning interior designer, author and contributor, product designer and multi-media consultant, and more! On Kerrie’s trip to NYC last weekend, she paid us a visit at our flagship store on the Upper East Side to work on a bespoke stationery project and see our latest collections.

How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll? Do you have plans for your next set of bespoke stationery with us?

I was born in California and my husband was born on New York’s Lower East Side. When we would come to visit New York (we live in California now), we would each share our version of the city. My husband would take me to his church, his school, and Katz’s Deli. Having worked for Ralph Lauren Home Collection, my version of the city was all about Park Avenue, the Polo Bar, and MoMA. While enjoying those neighborhoods, I came across Dempsey & Carroll and fell in love with the quality, history, and brand story. That translated into creating bespoke stationery for my husband, and ultimately for myself. I am currently putting together a bespoke collection that highlights my Blonde Fox accessory collection with GO Home, Ltd. It will be a flat card with a navy blue border and a side profile of a golden fox leaping.

 

How do you make traditions modern?

I believe traditions can be made modern by adding our own personal spin to family tradition along the way; add modern glassware to a china set, cover a family heirloom in a modern looking fabric, or use an updated font or stamp on a traditionally patterned card or note.

 

Tell us more about your love of history and how you incorporate vintage pieces into your work and own home!

When it comes to history, I love to celebrate my family’s heritage. Our dining room is painted a deep navy blue and has a wall of white shelving that features my great grandpa’s trumpet, my in-laws’ wedding photos, my grandma’s old encyclopedia set,  and my grandpa’s shaving kit and camera. Being surrounded by these pieces in a place where we entertain and enjoy friends and family is so comforting. We reminisce about so many good times while creating even more!

Where is your favorite place to write and catch up on correspondence?

I love to write in my home at a secretary that I designed for one of my furniture collections. It has several letters posted with special messages from dear friends and family. It also has my stamps, beloved pens and letter openers. To be surrounded by my favorite things always makes for better letter writing.

What are a few of your favorite things to do in your spare time?

As an interior designer and product developer, I appreciate unique designs, rich experiences, and quality goods. I love practicing yoga, visiting art museums, enjoying special dinners in the city with friends, and taking weekend trips to nearby Napa Valley. These experiences will always keep my creative juices flowing while providing the opportunity to meet new people (and send more correspondence!).

 

Thank you for sharing with us, Kerrie! Be sure to check out Kerrie’s Instagram (@kerrielkelly) and website to learn more about her work and travels. 

Learn more about being a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend!

Handwritten Thank-You Notes Have Surprising Consequences

In a recent piece on Psychology Today’s site, Author Christopher Bergland asks readers:  “When was the last time you sent someone a handwritten ‘thank you’ note of gratitude or appreciation?”

Throughout the article, Bergland references a fascinating new study on the underestimated benefits of handwritten letters and the importance of putting pen to paper. This study, “Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation,” was led by Amit Kumar, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Texas, and Nicholas Epley, Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago.

One of our favorite points from the research is how the action of expressing gratitude in a handwritten letter is proven to boost positive emotions for both the writer and the recipient; it’s a win-win situation!

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“We looked at what’s correlating with people’s likelihood of expressing gratitude—what drives those choices—and what we found is that predictions or expectations of that awkwardness, that anticipation of how a recipient would feel—those are the things that matter when people are deciding whether to express gratitude or not,” Kumar said in a statement. “What we saw is that it only takes a couple of minutes to compose letters like these, thoughtful ones and sincere ones. It comes at little cost, but the benefits are larger than people expect.”

Over here at Dempsey & Carroll, we always love reading about the positive feelings associated with handwritten letters. We invite you to read Bergland’s full post, “Handwritten Thank-You Notes Have Surprising Consequences,” so that you can get inspired to put pen to paper!

#makingtraditionsmodern

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