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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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

 

The 70th Anniversary of D-Day: Honoring our Heroes

On the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, we celebrate our American heroes and the sacrifices they made, and continue to make, for our freedom. We must never forget the bravery and selflessness of our men and women in armed service; their stories are ones that must be preserved, passed on from one generation to the next.

Image courtesy of USA Today

Image courtesy of USA Today

During World War II, letters from family, friends, and romantic interests were the key to maintaining the morale of the men and women in combat. “Mail was indispensable,” one infantryman said, “It motivated us. We couldn’t have won the war without it” (PBS: http://www.pbs.org/thewar/at_home_communication_letters_diaries.htm). Soldiers wrote letters to their loved ones back home to update them about the war and alleviate their worries.

Private Sid Phillips was deployed to Guadalcanal Island to fight on the Pacific front. In a letter from Phillips to his family, he writes in response to a letter he received from them on September 3, 1942, the day after his 18th birthday:

September 3, 1942
Guadalcanal Island

Dear Mother, Dad, Katharine, and John:
Yesterday we got our first mail, the best birthday present possible for me. … After mail call everybody would be nice and quiet when suddenly somebody would curse in a loud voice and shout, “Alice got married.” It really was funny. Cherokee got word that he is out in the cold and really surprised us all. One fellow in our squad got a box of cookies that had been reduced to dust and the dust was soon reduced leaving an empty box…. Daddy! You absent-minded prof. When you write to mother, you better mail it to her and not accidentally put it in my letter. I destroyed it and didn’t show it to the boys though, just to show what a sport I am…
Tell everybody hello for me…

Love
Sid

Remembering the Monarchs: A Look at Rachel Carson’s Correspondence

This week, we celebrate Rachel Carson as one of the most influential advocates for environmental conservation. Her groundbreaking work Silent Spring, published on September 27, 1962, eventually led to the American government’s ban on DDT for agricultural use and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Throughout her life, Carson exchanged letters with her friend and confidante, Dorothy Freeman. In these letters, Carson and Freeman describe their love and wonder of the natural world– the way it constantly surprises us with its patterns and workings and how mankind’s hubris acts as constant threat to the world’s delicate ecosystems. It is through their letters that Carson went on to write Silent Spring and ultimately expose the dangers of pesticide use for wildlife and humans alike.

On February 1, 1958, Dorothy received a letter from Rachel that reveals her inner most thoughts and ideas for what was to become Silent Spring:

Excerpt:

“About the book. It was comforting to suppose that the stream of life would flow on through time in whatever course that God had appointed for it. Without interference by one of the drops of the stream, man, and to suppose that, however the physical environment might mold life, that life would never assume the power to change drastically or even destroy the physical world. These beliefs have almost been part of me for as long as I have thought about such things. To have them even vaguely threatened was so shocking that as I have said, I shut my mind, refused to acknowledge what I couldn’t help seeing. But that does no good, and I have now opened my eyes and my mind. I may not like what I see, but it does no good to ignore it. And it’s worse than useless to go on repeating the old eternal verities that are no more eternal than the hells of the poets. So it seems time someone wrote of life in the light of the truth as it now appears to us, and I think that may be the book I am to write. Oh, a brief one, darling, suggesting the new ideas, not treating them exhaustively. Probably no one could; certainly I couldn’t.”

signed book Signed title page in Silent Spring. Image courtesy of: www.ehistorybuff.com

Signed title page in Silent Spring. Image courtesy of: http://www.ehistorybuff.com

 

 

Madeleine Garone,

Signed title page of Silent Spring. Image  courtesy of: www.ehistorybuff.com.