From Dempsey, With Love

Imagine a time before it was possible to instantly connect with somebody across the country (or world) with text messages and emails.

Your letter gave me more delight than anything in the world but yourself could do; indeed, I am almost astonished that any absent one should have that luxurious power over my senses which I feel. Even when I am not thinking of you I receive your influence and a tenderer nature stealing upon me.

– John Keats to Fanny Brawne, 1819 (from “Love”)

In 1883, Messrs. Dempsey & Carroll published “Love,” a collection of love letters and sentiments from the ages. In the 14 days leading up to Valentine’s Day, we’ve been sharing some of our favorite excerpts from these historic words as a way to inspire others to put pen to paper and send the love. In our opinion, a handwritten letter will always be the most meaningful way to express deep feelings of affection.

We would love to hear more about some of your favorite love letters or Valentines. Perhaps you have a favorite quote from a famous (or not so famous) love letter that you’d like to share, or maybe you’ve written a love letter to a special person or place (we’ve written plenty of love letters to New York City, our cherished home, over the years).

Share with us on Instagram by either Direct Messaging @dempseycarroll or by posting a photo on your feed and tagging us and using the #fromdempseywithlove hashtag. We’ll be sending the first 10 submissions a card from our Love Notes Collection so that you can send the love in style this Valentine’s Day!

From Dempsey, With Love

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Vintage Valentine’s Day Greetings

The roots of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to Ancient Rome, though the modern incarnation of the Holiday didn’t begin until the turn of the 19th century.This article in Town & Country Magazine illustrates a brief history of how Valentine’s Day has evolved and why the tradition of sending greeting cards has become a fixture of the season.

We love looking back at vintage Valentine’s Day cards from the 19th and 20th centuries to see changing trends. Many of the bold illustrations and puns of the past have given way to more subtle designs, though we can’t help but smile when we look at how people have expressed their love through the ages.

Please feel free to share some of your favorite Valentine’s Day cards that you have received over the years and tag us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Love: A History

At Dempsey & Carroll, Valentine’s Day is a particularly exciting holiday.  A recent article in People highlighted the history of this holiday, and how Valentine’s Day cards came to be, with the first cards dating back to the third century. We love sweet handwritten sentiments, but for us, what’s most interesting about Valentine’s Day is the chance to go through some of the books written and published by our founders, Messrs. Dempsey & Carroll, in the late 1800s. We have compiled some of our favorite quotes about love in honor of the upcoming holiday.

“Love is the desire that good be forever present to us” – Socrates

This quote is emblazoned on the title page of Messrs. Dempsey & Carroll’s 1883 publication “Love”, a collection of love letters and love sentiments from the ages.

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In an extract of a letter from General George Washington to Miss Nellie Custis, he advises in choosing a husband.

Love is said to be an involuntary passion, and it is, therefore, contented that it cannot be resisted. This is true in part only, for like all things else, when nourished and supplied plentifully with aliment, it is rapid in its progress; but let these be withdrawn, and it may be stifled in its growth.

We see that many of the sentiments expressed in the letters express the same passion that Washington described to Miss Custis.

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How great soever may be the bounties I have received, the joy I feel in being loved by a king whom I adore, and to whom I would with pleasure make a sacrifice of my heart, if fortune had rendered it worthy of being offered to him, will ever be infinitely greater.

– Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII, 1528

 

It is the hardest thing in the world to be in love, and yet attend to business. As for me, all who speak to me find it out, and I must lock myself up, or other people will do it for me…

…Methinks I could write a volume to you; but all the language on earth would fail in saying how much, and with what disinterested passion, I am ever yours.

– Sir Richard Steele to Mary Scurlock, 1708

 

Your letter gave me more delight than anything in the world but yourself could do; indeed, I am almost astonished that any absent one should have that luxurious power over my senses which I feel. Even when I am not thinking of you I receive your influence and a tenderer nature stealing upon me.

– John Keats to Fanny Brawne, 1819

 

60 Years From Now

Will a friend, lover, colleague be able to look back upon your words with fondness and appreciation – feeling the worn texture of the paper, drinking in old sentiments now faded, catching a scent of years gone by? Today is a great day to write a letter.

We had to call out the recent clip in the December, 1 2014 issue of People Magazine.

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“I will come again to the kitchen, pretending you are not there and discover you again. And as you stand there cooking breakfast, I will kiss your neck… .”

A Love of Many Colors: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

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Image courtesy of: http://theredlist.com/wiki-2-24-224-268-view-culture-art-fashion-profile-frida-kahlo-diego-rivera.html

Imagine a love fueled by both intense devotion and tumultuous passion. This was the reality for artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. During the span of their 27 year relationship, artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exchanged numerous letters that reflect the spectrum of their love, encompassing their joy, anguish, and desire.

In 1922, Frida Kahlo met painter Diego Rivera, whose work she admired deeply. After not being in contact for several years, the artists reconnected in 1928 and Rivera began to act as Kahlo’s artistic mentor. Their relationship eventually became intimate, yielding one of art history’s most fascinating romances. The artists inspired one another, Kahlo and Rivera urging one another to explore their passion deeper in their art. Diego is cited as stating, “I did not know it then, but Frida had already become the most important fact in my life. And would continue to be up to the moment she died, 27 years later.” (Source: http://www.diego-rivera.org/quotes.html) Despite their immense love for one another, Kahlo and Rivera had multiple affairs throughout their marriage. Yet, Kahlo and Rivera remained devoted to one another because of a resilient passion that withstood even their relationship’s darkest moments.

Image and transcription courtesy of: http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/zoebrigley/entry/letter_to_diego/

Image and transcription courtesy of: http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/zoebrigley/entry/letter_to_diego/

Transcribed translation:

Diego.
Truth is, so great, that I wouldn’t like to speak, or sleep, or love.
To feel myself trapped, with no fear of blood, outside time and magic, within your own fear, and your anguish, and within the very beating of your heart.
All this madness if I asked it of you, I know, in your silence, there would be only confusion.
I ask you for violence, in the nonsense, and you, you give me grace, your light and your warmth.
I’d like to paint you, but there are no colors [sic], because there are so many, in my confusion, the tangible form of my great love.

F.

Image courtesy of: http://www.sflatinofilmfestival.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Frida-Kahlo-Diego-Rivera-19.jpg

Image courtesy of: http://www.sflatinofilmfestival.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Frida-Kahlo-Diego-Rivera-19.jpg

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.

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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.

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Churchill’s letter to Clementine in case of his death. Dated July 17, 1915. (Image courtesy of: http://www.cam.ac.uk/about-the-university/history/800th-anniversary?800redirect=page/117/winston-churchill.htm)

Transcription:

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.

W.

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: http://www.stevenujifusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/7435172.jpg)

Winston and Clementine Churchill saluting the troops aboard the RMS “Queen Mary” in 1943. (Image courtesy of: http://www.stevenujifusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/7435172.jpg)

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.

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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 info@dempseyandcarroll.com 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.

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)

 vows

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!

In Matters of Diplomacy and Love: John and Abigail Adams

When we look to the past to better understand our world, we often seek the historical documents and correspondences that shaped our governments and their institutions. Yet, romance also left behind letters that continue to shape our understanding of not only the world as it once was, but of our shared humanity.

John and Abigail Adams began their courtship in 1762, several years before the birth of the United States. The couple enjoyed using pen names with one another, John addressing Abigail as Diana, after the Roman goddess of the moon, and Abigail calling him Lysander, after the Spartan war hero. (Facts from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/adams/peopleevents/e_courtship.html) By the end of John’s political career in 1801, he and Abigail had exchanged over 1,100 letters.

Though the couple spent considerable time apart, their correspondence acted as a reminder of their dedication to one another and allowed for a rigorous intellectual exchange pertaining to the pursuit of a democratic nation.

Portrait of John and Abigail Adams. (image courtesy of http://symonsez.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/johnabigail1.jpg)

Portrait of John and Abigail Adams. (image courtesy of http://symonsez.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/johnabigail1.jpg)

In perhaps one of Abigail’s most famous letters to John, she showcases her both her assertiveness and commitment to democratic values as she reminds him that he needs to “remember the ladies” in an age where women were taught to remain in the domestic sphere.

Braintree March 31, 1776

I wish you would ever write me a Letter half as long as I write you; and tell me if you may where your Fleet are gone? What sort of Defence Virginia can make against our common Enemy? Whether it is so situated as to make an able Defence? Are not the Gentery Lords and the common people vassals, are they not like the uncivilized Natives Brittain represents us to be? I hope their Riffel Men who have shewen themselves very savage and even Blood thirsty; are not a specimen of the Generality of the people…

I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for Liberty cannot be Eaquelly Strong in the Breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs. Of this I am certain that it is not founded upon that generous and christian principal of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us.

I feel very differently at the approach of spring to what I did a month ago. We knew not then whether we could plant or sow with safety, whether when we had toild we could reap the fruits of our own industery, whether we could rest in our own Cottages, or whether we should not be driven from the sea coasts to seek shelter in the wilderness, but now we feel as if we might sit under our own vine and eat the good of the land.

I feel a gaieti de Coar to which before I was a stranger. I think the Sun looks brighter, the Birds sing more melodiously, and Nature puts on a more chearfull countanance. We feel a temporary peace, and the poor fugitives are returning to their deserted habitations.

Tho we felicitate ourselves, we sympathize with those who are trembling least the Lot of Boston should be theirs. But they cannot be in similar circumstances unless pusilanimity and cowardise should take possession of them. They have time and warning given them to see the Evil and shun it.-I long to hear that you have declared an independancy-and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness.

Every one of your Friend[s] send their Regards, and all the little ones. Your Brothers youngest child lies bad with convulsion fitts. Adieu. I need not say how much I am Your ever faithfull Friend.

Excerpt courtesy of: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/adams/filmmore/ps_ladies.html

One of John Adams’ many letters to his wife Abigail. Image courtesy of: http://media.npr.org/assets/artslife/books/2010/10/first-family/letter-c4814ef7a4f1466e8d7a456d7692ba7e643cdcec-s6-c30.jpg

One of John Adams’ many letters to his wife Abigail. Image courtesy of: http://media.npr.org/assets/artslife/books/2010/10/first-family/letter-c4814ef7a4f1466e8d7a456d7692ba7e643cdcec-s6-c30.jpg

There is truth in saying that the power of the written word continues to challenge and mold our conceptions of what love is. The correspondence between John and Abigail Adams showcases a unique egalitarianism that existed in their relationship—it was that egalitarianism that they had hoped would one day transcend their letters into what would become American democracy.

 

Madeleine Garone,

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Chemistry Seals the Bond: The Story of Marie and Pierre Curie

Although scientists Pierre and Marie Curie are most well-known for their discovery of the radioactive elements polonium and radium, the story of their romance is one that continues to echo outside the scientific community. Marie, originally from Poland, met French physicist Pierre when she came to Paris to pursue her studies in the physical sciences and mathematics at the Sorbonne.

In addition to being scientific pioneers, the Curies were bicycle enthusiasts. They used the money from their wedding to purchase bicycles to use on their honeymoon. (Photo courtesy of : http://0.tqn.com/d/womenshistory/1/0/Q/z/2/Marie-Curie-Honeymoon-3208447a.png)

In addition to being scientific pioneers, the Curies were bicycle enthusiasts. They used the money from their wedding to purchase bicycles to use on their honeymoon. (Photo courtesy of : http://0.tqn.com/d/womenshistory/1/0/Q/z/2/Marie-Curie-Honeymoon-3208447a.png)

Though we know that Marie decided to stay in France and marry Pierre, there was once a moment of uncertainty that overshadowed their commitment to one another. In a letter to his beloved Marie, he writes:

“…

We have promised each other — haven’t we? — to be at least great friends. If you will only not change your mind! For there are no promises that are binding; such things cannot be ordered at will. It would be a fine thing, just the same, in which I hardly dare believe, to pass our lives near each other, hypnotized by our dreams: your patriotic dream, our humanitarian dream, and our scientific dream.

Of all those dreams the last is, I believe, the only legitimate one. I mean by that that we are powerless to change the social order and, even if we were not, we should not know what to do; in taking action, no matter in what direction, we should never be sure of not doing more harm than good, by retarding some inevitable evolution. From the scientific point of view, on the contrary, we may hope to do something; the ground is solider here, and any discovery that we may make, however small, will remain acquired knowledge.

See how it works out: it is agreed that we shall be great friends, but if you leave France in a year it would be an altogether too Platonic friendship, that of two creatures who would never see each other again. Wouldn’t it be better for you to stay with me? I know that this question angers you, and that you don’t want to speak of it again — and then, too, I feel so thoroughly unworthy of you from every point of view…

Believed me your very devoted,

Pierre Curie”

Letter excerpt credited to The Gaggle http://the-gaggle.com/2012/01/famous-love-letter-marie-and-pierre/

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A letter from Marie Curie to one of her colleagues at the Sorbonne (Image courtesy of: http://atozhandwriting.com/marie-curie/).

Sometimes one can best express his or her thoughts in writing. In our writing, we are candid, allowing our emotions to flow into the pen and onto paper. It is through this letter that he expressed to Marie that which he wished to articulate to her—that not only does he adore her, but he regards her as his intellectual equal.

The couple married in 1895 in Sceaux, France. In an era when men and women were expected to abide to society’s gender roles, Marie and Pierre worked together as a team, imagining a world where their scientific contributions bettered society. Shortly after Pierre was killed in an accident in 1906, a devastated yet determined Marie vowed to continue the work she and Pierre began. The Sorbonne appointed to her husband’s academic position, making her the first female professor at the university. Marie went on to become the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, an achievement rooted in the couple’s work together.

 

Today, there are infinite possibilities of how couples come to be. Here at Dempsey & Carroll, our passion is paper, and we would love to learn about your own personal love story and the letters and notes exchanged that helped to cultivate that love. If you are interested in sharing your story on our blog, please email madeleine@dempseyandcarroll.com.

 

Madeleine Garone,

Madeleine Garone signature