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all things else, when nourished and supplied plentifully with aliment, it is rapid in its progress; but let these be withdrawn, and it may be stifled in its growth.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

 

A Spotlight on Joan Straus

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness  Month, a disease that affects millions of people and families worldwide. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles sat down with Joan Straus, after reading her book The Alzheimer’s Diary: One Woman’s Experience from Caregiver to Widow.

AA: In your new book, The Alzheimer’s Diary, there is the invaluable chapter: Eight Steps to a Healthy Brain. I’m pleased to say, here at Dempsey & Carroll, our Madeleine leads meditation twice a week. Later, there is a chapter about the importance of early detection. Given that there is no treatment, why would someone want jsto know? What would be the benefits of an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease?

JS: It is only in the last few years that we have been able to make an early diagnosis and the earlier Alzheimer’s  is discovered, the better.  The patient can then make lifestyle changes – give up alcohol, check vitamin B and D levels, for example (that might slow the progress of the disease).  Early diagnosis also would make it possible for many to take part in clinical trials – a necessary step to finding better treatment and/or a cure.  Knowing, one can put one’s life in order, not just make out a living will, but say the things to loved ones that need to be said.  When I moved to New York, 34 years ago, my husband introduced me to Dempsey & Carroll, where he, and his mother were customers.  In German, straus means Ostrich, so the Straus family have an ostrich as their signature.  If I was diagnosed with AD, I would write to all my grandchildren on that beautiful stationery, to tell them how much I loved them and to remind them that long before the internet, there was a graceful elegant way to correspond with each other.IMG_1680

AA: Do you have any words of advice for families and caregivers with loved ones recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s?

JS:  There is a sharp learning curve for family members and caregivers, as they must take over all the responsibilities of the patient’s life, as well as learn about the stages of the disease and how to meet the challenges that come with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Nancy Reagan described caring for someone with Alzheimer’s as “the long goodbye”.  It is that, but there can also be great beauty in the duty.

To purchase Joan’s book please click here. 100% of proceeds from the sales of this book go to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. 

A spotlight on Lauren Sozmen

Dempsey & Carroll event curator Austin Ackles sat down with Lauren Sozmen of Loli Events to discuss her events between New York & Paris.

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AA: We just worked together on a wedding that had mountains of paper and everything went so smoothly! What was your secret weapon for keeping those clients so perfectly on schedule?

LS: I believe it was a mix of using the excellent timeline that you gave me at the beginning, and then sending gentle yet firm reminders to the client for each deadline throughout the process. Don’t give the client a whole list of due dates, this will overwhelm them. Tackle each project and tell them exactly when you need answers and decisions by.

AA: You’re working a lot in France. What’s the biggest difference you find when working abroad as opposed to NYC?

LS: We started Loli Events in France about two years ago.  One of the biggest differences is the pace.  Here in NYC we expect today’s answers yesterday, its go go go everyday.  In France, vendors know how to slow down a bit more and will get the work done but not in a NY minute.

AA: What’s easier in New York City? What’s easier in Paris?

LS: In New York City there’s a huge resource of vendors. You can literally find a great service or product for anything & everything. Working in Paris, you have so much built in decor and beauty everywhere that even if you were on a random little street, photos would be exquisite and transporting.

AA: You have a fine arts background. What’s your favorite museum in New York? Your favorite in Paris?

LS: In New York, The Frick Collection!  It is a magical place in the most beautiful part of the city.  The nineteenth-century paintings are my favorite. In Paris, my favorite is Le Musee de l’Orangerie. It is located in the Tuileries Gardens (also a favorite part of town) and I could spend hours just staring at Claude Monet’s Water Lilies.

AA: Has Loli’s mascot, Truffle, strolled along the Seine?

LS: Alas no…. Truffle has never even been on a plane.  When Loli is in Paris… Truffle usually stays in Brooklyn with his dad. That being said, I am sure he would love Les Rue de Paris.

AA: Finally, is there a particular piece of wedding paper that you really love, but most of your clients don’t usually include for their wedding dapacecardy?

LS: I wish everyone did place cards not just escort cards… think it is such a personal touch to any great event no matter how big or small.

 

 

A spotlight on Bizia Greene

Dempsey & Carroll event curator Austin Ackles sat down with Bizia to discuss etiquette and her recent wedding.bizia1

AA: Most of our clients have their thank you cards printed at the same time as their wedding invitations. Occasionally, I get panicked phone calls as gifts start arriving far in advance of the wedding. When should the thank you cards be sent?

BG: Ideally thank you notes should be sent as gifts arrive but you can allow up to three months after the wedding. Give yourself a head start by ordering stationery, selecting beautiful postage and addressing envelopes in advance of your wedding date. After the whirlwind of the celebrations and honeymoon you’ll be glad to come home to part of the task complete. Make writing your notes a relaxing ritual with a well lit, comfortable space accompanied by a cup of tea or glass of bubbly. Share the task with your partner and write a few a day.

AA: With the holiday season approaching, we’ll all be attending too many wonderful parties. What should every gracious thank you note include?

BG: When thanking your host, reference something unique about the event that moved you i.e. the beautiful decor, the delicious trifle like your grandmother used to make or the new friends you made. By making it personal your host will know the event was a success and you’re sure to get an invite to the next soirée.

.AA: What thank you card have you received that left you with the most lasting impression?

BG: Thank you notes that expressed the impact of our attention to detail and effort stand out. My husband and I received a few shortly after our wedding complimenting our weekend events, decor, catering and seating arrangements to name a few. It made us feel like all the hard work we put into curating a memorable and warm celebration was recognized and appreciated.

AA: Your own wedding was just about two months ago. In terms of planning, what was your biggest worry that simply evaporated on the big day?

BG: The weather, of course! Our wedding ceremony and reception were supposed to be outside. Although we had a rain plan, most of our energy wabizia2s spent on the outdoor vision. We began the ceremony outside and midway through thunder and lightning moved in quickly. Guests rallied and began carrying their chairs indoors where we finished the ceremony. I got to arrive at my own wedding twice and was relieved to see what good sports they all were. We dined by candlelight because the power went out. In fact, everyone thought the evening was very memorable and laughed about it. In the end, guests are there to celebrate you rain or shine.

 

 

A Spotlight on Haute So Sweet Cake Creations

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Dempsey & Carroll event curator Austin A sat down with Michelle Apiar, owner of Haute So Sweet to discuss her beautiful creations.

AA:A lot of brides are asking for very classic and timeless engraved invitations. Your range is amazing but are you seeing a similar trend developing in requests for cake designs?

 MA: I find that Manhattan couples are interested in classic designs for cakes with a modern edge, a “new classic”, if you will.  They are moving away from cakes with abundant flower sprays and choosing designs that are textural and structural.  So many venues feature the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop for the wedding, so they choose cakes that work with it.  Another shift that I’ve noticed is the groom being very involved in the cake process.  He is usually in charge of choosing the flavor!

AA: Your cakes are works of art. Do you ever title them?

 MA: Thank you for the compliment!  I currently do not title them, as each cake is designed specifically for an individual client and are generally not exactly replicated.  However, each cake does tell a story, which serves as my inspirat20120607_ma_481ion for creating them.  For example, a client of mine wanted to surprise her best friend with a Manolo Blahnik shoebox cake for her 40th birthday.  What was wonderful about this is her friend was battling breast cancer, and she vowed that if she made it to her 40th birthday, she would buy a pair of Manolos to celebrate. Well, she made it to age 40 and she got the shoes and the cake!  Contributing to beautiful celebrations like this is truly why I do this for a living.

AA: What is the most far fetched inspiration a client has showed you and then asked for it to be translated into cmaake?

MA: I went into this business because I love challenges, and Haute So Sweet specializes in making the impossible possible.  This past season, a wedding planner introduced me to a bride who wanted a chandelier cake, which is a hot trend right now.  We chose a beautiful crystal chandelier and designed the cake to match the chandelier.  The wedding planner and I worked together with the venue to install the new chandelier that was rigged to hang the wedding cake from.  It was an impressive centerpiece to the wedding and wowed all the guests.  The bride contacted me weeks after the wedding and said the guests were still talking about the cake!

AA: Corporate events or weddings? What is the biggest difference and what do you loveabout each?

MA: Artistically I love doing wedding cakes because they have the “pretty” decorations like flowers and intricate piping, you know, the fun stuff.  I also love working with the couple and often their family members to create a beautiful cake and dessert presentation.  I’ve built lasting relationships with many families though this.  The interaction is much more personal.

Corporate events are great because they demand high volume, and at Haute So Sweet we love making hundreds of something.  It’s exciting and challenging to produce 500-1000 cake pops for a trade show, for example.  Also, being a business owner and formerly in PR, I understand what companies are trying to accomplish with a promotional mailing or event. They want to gain brand awareness or retain their clients’ attention, and we create a delicious and unique product to accomplish that goal.

Michelle is the featured guest for our October 9th showroom event.