140 Years of Dempsey & Carroll

In honor of Dempsey & Carroll’s 140th Birthday, our CEO, Lauren Marrus, wanted to share a few words on how we are continuing the legacy of our founders while making traditions modern. Cheers to 140 years! 

140 years ago today, two men, John Dempsey, a talented engraver, and George Carroll, a savvy businessman came together to found Dempsey & Carroll.  Their mission still remains at the core of our business today:  to provide luxury writing papers along with advice on etiquette and proper decorum in a variety of social settings.  To the founders, the social institutions of correspondence and etiquette were inseparable, and they saw Dempsey & Carroll as the ideal marriage of the two.

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Today, we celebrate both how far the business has come in these 140 years, and how dedicated we remain to our craft – many of our presses from the early 20th century are still in use today.  And, while, we are no longer on 14th Street in Union Square, we still call New York City our home.

Our team today uses the core values that John Dempsey and George Carroll put in place over fourteen decades ago to work together with our clients to make traditions modern.  The calling cards of John Dempsey and George Carroll’s time meant to announce a visitor are now used to share Instagram handles.

Formal dinners, once a regular event, are now more relaxed and seating arrangements and place cards are more about lively conversation and table adornment than matchmaking and social status.

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The impression of the handwritten note on the finest engraved paper has never been more meaningful.

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We thank you for being a part of our history and we invite you to join us in making traditions modern for many years to come.

— Lauren Marrus, CEO of Dempsey & Carroll

Making Traditions Modern: Summer Entertaining

Summer is a time to enjoy the weather and move the party outside, whether for a backyard barbeque, seaside soirée, or rooftop cocktail hour. Earlier in August, we worked with five of our partners to showcase how they would style their ideal summer dinner party.

First, they set the scene by sharing their handwritten invitation on one of our Destination: Seaside note cards– Capri, Côte d’Azur, or the Hamptons. The following week, they styled their corresponding place cards (Lemon, Compass Rose, or Lobster) in the context of how they would use them for a party. We loved seeing how everyone put their own twist on entertaining!

With that, we hope you’re inspired to close out your summer in a noteworthy way! Share your entertaining favorites on Instagram by tagging @dempseycarroll and #makingtraditionsmodern.

Dempsey Carroll x Jackie Greaney - Summer Entertaining Post 1Dreaming up the perfect backyard lobster party with Dempsey & Carroll’s adorable lobster & lighthouse Destination note cards– checkered tablecloths, buoy centerpieces, lots of sunflowers, and a build-your-own-lobster roll station! Anything I’m missing? Let me know if you’ll be in Maine on August 14th!

Jackie Greaney for Dempsey Carroll Entertaining Post 2Crack em! Fill em! Roll em! Every backyard soirée needs a Build-Your-Own Lobster Roll station, don’t you think? Dempsey & Carroll place cards make it easy to mark out the station’s steps, and I love the little engraved lobsters on these! 

— Jackie, @jackiegreaney

 

harlowejames post 1These Capri inspired note cards from Dempsey & Carroll make the perfect invite for a summertime soiree. The engraved lemon detail on the card paired with the print on the inside of the envelope will get guests excited about the theme before they even get to the party! 

harlowejames post 2Instead of using standard place setting cards, switch it up by writing little notes to your guests. These lemon place cards from the Dempsey & Carroll Destination: Capri collection are the perfect addition to the table and tie the whole theme together!

— Chrissy, @_harlowejames

 

meaghanmurray 1“I couldn’t be shellfish and not share this with you” -said my Dempsey & Carroll party invitation 

meaghanmurray 2What the shell! Let’s eat some oysters. Thanks to my Dempsey & Carroll place cards for hooking up my oyster situation. Long Reach or Shore Island, anyone?

–Meaghan, @meaghanmurray

 

Traditions are everything and whenever I travel abroad I love collecting unique stamps to send notes, postcards and in this case invitations back home to my friends and family. A few weeks ago my family and I traveled up the Coast of Italy and on the way, I purchased stamps at Pompeii, Rome, or to sum it up, basically each stop. Once we arrived at our final destination, Florence, I had accumulated enough stamps to send out my annual Lobster Boil invitations to my friends far and wide. I figured this was a fun way for my guests to receive a little piece of Italy straight to their mailbox, along with a piece of New England thanks to these Dempsey & Carroll Seaside Correspondence Cards. I mean, you couldn’t find a more fitting invitation card for a lobster broil even if you tried. Now I want to hear from you all, does anyone else love writing letters back home when they travel 

A New England Summer isn’t complete until you’ve eaten your weight in dock & dine lobster rolls. Each summer I’m in charge of creating a unique lobster-themed table setting, for when my family and I head down the river, to our favorite dockable lobster joint. This year’s setting was designed around these Dempsey & Carroll Lobster place cards! Originally, I took inspiration from the bright red lobster featured on the place cards by incorporating similarly shaded napkins for a pop of color, amongst the natural tones of cream and brown. Creating these tablescapes is an annual tradition I adore, and while I do love seeing how excited our guests get when they dock up and find their names written on a place card, I’m really just going the extra mile in hopes of winning the annual table setting contest. Fingers crossed, this could be my year! 

— Aubrey, @thecoastalconfidence

 

post 1aWe don’t know about you, but one thing that we look forward to at dinner parties is the appetizers. Our dream dinner party would consist of a happy hour with different charcuterie boards and a variety of apps. What’s your dream dinner party? 

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Can’t resist oysters, especially while at a dinner party. What’s your favorite thing to eat during cocktail hour? 

— R’el and Marcus, @theplaceiwastellingyouabout

Spotlight on Sister Parish Design

In honor of our new collaboration with Sister Parish Design, we had the pleasure of interviewing its President and Co-Founder, Susan Crater. We learned about her decorating style, inspirations, and the lasting influence of her grandmother, legendary Designer Sister Parish.

We are thrilled to bring the Parish-Hadley design legacy to paper with the launch of our Desmond and Serendipity correspondence card sets!

What inspired you to revive your Grandmother’s work and start Sister Parish Design in 2000? Did you always know that you wanted to work in the design field?

The truth is that I did not always know that I wanted to work in the design field. I did always know that I appreciated a beautifully decorated room, and especially appreciated and loved the rooms that my grandmother and Albert [Hadley] designed. It is these rooms that inspired me to create this collection.

Many of your patterns are from the Parish-Hadley archives, though you have also launched new patterns along with a home accessories collection. How do you find a balance between honoring the Parish-Hadley tradition while continuing to update your offerings?

We look to the rooms that Parish-Hadley decorated and we look to the rooms that inspired Parish-Hadley to guide us in building our collection. How are textiles being used and what types of textiles are being used in these rooms?  Will decorators today want to use these textiles in the same way or will they want to use them differently? These are the types of questions we ask ourselves in order to build a collection that will continue to honor the Parish-Hadley legacy.

What is your favorite piece of decorating advice that you like to share with friends and clients?

“Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is beautiful, what is useful, what is lasting.”  -Sister Parish

Photo: Horst P. Horst/Condé Nast Archive

Sister Parish, 1974

What do you think that everyone should avoid when decorating a home? Do you have any design-related pet peeves?

One thing my grandmother taught me was the importance of scale. Overly large and overstuffed furniture will ruin a room.

 You have a gorgeous house up in Bedford, New York!  How would you compare your personal design aesthetic to that of your Grandmother’s? Do you have any favorite pieces of hers that you have out in your home (furniture, decorative pieces, etc)?

I’ve always wanted to create the same comfortable and beautiful rooms for my family that my mother and grandmother created for theirs.  I’m particularly in love with a green velvet Lawson style sofa designed by Billy Baldwin. Baldwin was small in physical stature and would use the Lawson sofa as his bed in his studio apartment. The same green velvet has been on the sofa since the 1980’s and it has only gotten better with time!

We’d love to hear a bit more about the Desmond and Serendipity patterns that are featured as part of our collaboration. How did you end up choosing these particular designs?

Both Desmond and the Serendipity are small all over prints that make a big impact. They are tried and true patterns that have added depth and sophistication to many rooms over the years. We knew they would have the same effect on stationery as they’ve had on rooms.

You have priceless handwritten letters from First Lady Jackie Kennedy to your grandmother in your archives—a perfect tie-in with our partnership. Why do you think that handwritten correspondence is still important in 2018?

A beautifully handwritten letter is like a beautifully decorated room. If properly cared for, it will last forever!

Where is your ideal place to sit down and write a letter?

My porch in Maine.

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Susan and her daughter, Eliza, at the Dempsey & Carroll office during the photo shoot for our collaboration

Many thanks to Susan for taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to shop our collaboration on our site here!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is right around the corner, but there’s still time to find a noteworthy gift from our collections.  Follow along to see a few of our top suggestions to fit any Dad’s style!

 

John Derian Fly Fisher

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Lure one in with our John Derian Fly Fisher Set. Go Fish! $65 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Caitlin McGauley Fox

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Dapper style can continue from the closet to the desk with all of the colorful patterns by Watercolor Artist Caitlin McGauley. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Happy Hour

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Most Dads know that a well-crafted cocktail is often the perfect punctuation mark at the end of the day. Say cheers to Dad with the engraved silver bar set from our Happy Hour set! $65 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Handsome Notes

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Keep it classic with the stately motifs from our Handsome Note Collection, a must-have for the Dad who knows less is more. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Personalized #7 Monarch Cards

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At 7-1/4” x 3-3/4”, the Monarch Card is wider than our standard correspondence card and is sure to make an impression. Pricing begins at $405 for a set of 100 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Personalized Jotter Notes

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These 3” x 5” sheets can be personalized with a name or monogram and are perfect for quick notes on the go or at the desk. Helpful Hint: All bespoke stationery orders are completed within our standard 4-6 week timeline, though you can gift your dad one of our Leather Jotter Note Holders as a preview of the delights to come!  Pricing begins at $305 for 100 engraved jotter notes, shop here.

 

Gifts for Grads

With graduation season in full swing, we wanted to share our top gift picks from our collections in celebration of a noteworthy life event. A recent graduate could be starting a new job, traveling around the world, continuing their education, or taking time to figure out the next step. No matter what the “real world” holds, fine stationery is something that can be put to use for any occasion!

 

Initial Note Cards

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Initial Note Cards

These engraved correspondence cards are perfect for sending thank you notes with a personal touch. A portion of the proceeds from the Initial Note Cards benefits Jumpstart, a national organization that is working toward the day that all children enter kindergarten- their “initial” school experience- prepared to succeed. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

The Jet Set Collection

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The Jet Set Collection

Sometimes a semester abroad can inspire a greater adventure, whether it involves a job in a new city or a gap year overseas. Graduates will be ready to take on the world with inspiration from our Jet Set collection! $60 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here for Paris, London, Los Angeles, and New York.

 

Personalized Correspondence Cards

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Our #3 Correspondence Cards

A recent graduate will always make an impression when they send handwritten notes on personalized correspondence cards. Pricing begins at $480 for 100 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

The Write Away Collection

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The Write Away Collection with matching leather enclosures 

They can take their correspondence on the go with one of our Write Away sets.  Our handsome leather envelopes are paired with five bordered correspondence cards and five envelopes hand-lined with colorful tissue paper to make for stylish travels. $105 for 1 leather envelope and 5 cards and 5 envelopes, shop here.

Want the House? Write a Letter!

As our CEO Lauren Marrus was catching up on her reading over the weekend, a headline in the Wall Street Journal caught her eye: “Want a House? Write a Letter.” As it turns out, a writing a letter might just be the key to securing real estate in a bidding war.

In a bidding war, penning a note to the seller can dramatically boost a buyer’s odds of success. Leigh Kamping-Carder’s article goes on to present quantitative evidence about the importance of adding a note to your offer to purchase a home.

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Kamping-Carder continues, “ In addition to flattering a seller’s ego—or assuring him or her the home will be cared for—a letter can also signal that the buyer is serious, which translates into a willingness to follow through even if hurdles come up in the sales process.”

I promise that we do not have a direct line to the Journal, but I can say that it’s still a real thing to write a note or letter to make a point.  Now in the time of instant messages, text messages, and email, a handwritten or personalized note or letter rises above the noise more than ever.

If you’d like to write this note on Dempsey & Carroll papers,  we’re here to help! If not, we still encourage you to pick up a pen and #writeitreal.

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A Note From Our CEO

We always think that it’s important to start the New Year on a new note. Our CEO Lauren Marrus shares a few of her thoughts from Bob Greene’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal about the importance of making a meaningful resolution for the New Year.DSC_6428

Over the holidays I had lots of time to relax with my family and read books, magazines and lots of newspapers.  On December 29th as I was trying to come up with a meaningful resolution – beyond the usual – I found Bob Greene’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.  Mr. Greene discusses the value to be found in generosity of spirit and quotes frequently from a speech made by Chief Justice John Roberts at his son’s ninth grade graduation. Worth repeating here, I am quoting directly from the speech.

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Chief Justice Roberts says, “Once a week, you should write a note to someone.  Not an email.  A note on a piece of paper.  It will take you exactly 10 minutes.”

He goes on to say that if you do this, for 10 months, “40 people will feel a little more special because you did, and they will think you are very special because of what you did”.

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Many of us already practice this habit – a quick note after a dinner party; a thank you for the business meeting; and a sympathy note all too frequently.  What if we all added in a few more notes to make those around us feel just a little more special?  I, for one, wouldn’t mind feeling just a little bit special every now and then.

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Spotlight on Tessler Events

Eyal Tessler of New York City-based Tessler Events knows exactly what makes an important day a most memorable one. Recently, Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked him to reveal some of the secrets of his successes.

 

AA: What should fill our heads when we think of Tessler Events?

ET: When thinking of “Tessler Events” I would like people to think of us as more than just event or party planners. I want you to think about us as your partners in creating memories for life and making dreams come true. We don’t just look at the end result because we like to think of ourselves as your event architects; we take you through the journey of the planning so you can enjoy and learn every step of the way.

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AA: Is there a venue in New York that you long to design for but have not yet had the chance?

ET: One of my dreams is to do a midsummer night alfresco dinner in Central Park.

 

AA: You’re capable of beautifully expressing a variety of aesthetics and I’ve seen you do very clean and modern spaces that are still very lush and opulent in mood. Your work seems so new, but where in your journeys do you find inspiration?

ET: I love just walking around the city and getting ideas and inspiration from theater, movies, fashion, architecture, art and more.  It’s not always about the big things — the right small element that can sometimes deliver the biggest impact.

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AA: To you, what makes or breaks a dinner party?

ET: I think a dinner party should be a reflection on the hosts, together with the art of entertaining. It’s all about putting together the right group with the right menu in the right atmosphere and with the right seating scheme. If you don’t have all of these elements, you can unwittingly create a recipe for disaster.

 

AA: How large can a dinner party be until place cards are necessary?

ET: I think any size dinner party can have place cards. Part of the art of entertaining is making sure the right people sit next to each other to fuel conversation and, sometimes, new relationships.

 

AA: And how large can a dinner be before escort cards are needed?

ET: I think any dinner party with more than two tables should have escort cards so it’s easy for your guests to find their seat.

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AA: Do you care to share any pet peeves about tablescapes? What are you fussy about and most relaxed about?

ET: I don’t like tabletops that are too crowded and fussy because a table setting should be comfortable and welcoming. I don’t think you need five different glasses for each place setting at all times; you can always reset silverware and glassware. A big no-no for me is to have a centerpiece that prevents conversation between people across the table. I think for small dinner parties, sometimes less is more.

 

AA: When the day is done, how do you like to wind down?

ET: I like to exercise, listen to music and just separate the work day from the private life. Disconnecting is a very hard task as a business owner, but I try my best!

 

AA: And when you’re traveling for pure pleasure, what kind of adventure are you hoping to find?

ET: My happy place is the ocean, so the best adventures for me include a beautiful beach with lots of time to relax and recharge.

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For the Love of Script: The Importance of Teaching Cursive Writing in Schools

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles shares his thoughts on the importance of script and how cursive writing should always be taught in schools.

I know there’s a lot of debate about teaching cursive writing in schools, but studies have shown that when notes are taken by hand (versus notes typed into a device), the information is much better retained. Furthermore, writing in cursive is fast and efficient, while block printing tends to take more time.

I can’t imagine someone not having a cursive signature. Though digital signatures are now legally binding when necessary, something important like a condolence letter should always be handwritten and sent through the post. A Facebook message or email is never acceptable for serious, life changing matters.

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When I was searching for my last two jobs, I would apply electronically and then send a printed hard copy in the mail. I know that the electronic applications to several companies were completely overlooked while the printed ones got me in the door. At the bottom of those printed cover letters, you must have a cursive signature to finish it off. Following a job interview, a handwritten thank you note will be noticed and remembered far longer than an email.

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Dempsey & Carroll always gets busy in the early fall with parents ordering engraved correspondence cards for their children. It’s school application time and those kids will all be following up with handwritten thank you notes after interviews. Cursive writing is a must if you’re looking to impress admissions at prestigious schools.

reply-card-1.jpgWhile a few of our clients do send digital save the dates, everyone sends a printed wedding invitation. As the recipient, you will need to send back a reply card, and a cursive signature is going to look very appropriate after that “M” prompt on many R.S.V.P cards.

 

 

If my child’s school did not teach cursive writing, I would teach it to her myself. Good social skills and dexterity never go out of fashion!

 

 

National Handwriting Day 2017

Our handwriting’s just one of the many facets of ourselves.

January 23rd is officially known as “National Handwriting Day” as it falls on the birthday of John Hancock, the first person to sign The Declaration of Independence. The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association started this holiday in 1977 to acknowledge the history of penmanship and to recognize the importance of handwritten notes.

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We continue to celebrate the art of the handwritten note and the individuality of each person’s handwriting. We hope that this holiday inspires you to put pen to paper and join the tradition! We’ve included a few of our favorite quotes about writing below, though we look forward to hearing from our followers as well.

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“And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.” – J. K. Rowling

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Isaac Asimov

“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those who move easiest have learned to dance.” – Alexander Pope

 “Writing gives a sort of immortality to all other things.” -Richard Herring

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course.” – Graham Greene 

Please feel free to share your handwritten notes on social media by tagging @dempseycarroll on instagram or twitter and using the #NationalHandwritingDay hashtag to celebrate with us.