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


Letter Writing Day 2016

The art of the handwritten note is something that we have cherished here at Dempsey & Carroll since our founding in 1878. In celebration of December 7th being declared “Letter Writing Day”, we wanted to share our thoughts on what inspires us to write letters.

Megan: “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”  – Phyllis Theroux width=

Carolyn: I love seeing other people’s handwriting! It’s your very own style–no one else can write the same way–To me, that’s one of the coolest things ever!

Austin: Perhaps my favorite thing about receiving a handwritten note comes years later when looking through a shoe box filled with them and having a special moment come back alive.

Ariel: I have always cherished the art of the handwritten note as it serves as a means to make sentiments tangible. Every letter I receive serves as a keepsake that I will forever appreciate.

Emma: There’s a wonderful quote by Haruki Murakami that speaks to my love of the handwritten note: “How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen,
to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”

Umara: For my contribution, I join Megan in citing the wise words of Phyllis Theroux: “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” In a day and age where technology has taken over and everything is done instantly, the art of taking the time to write a letter is something that really does require deep thought and care from one’s heart.

Marina: Hand writing letters brings back some of the fondest memories of my childhood. I loved sitting at the dining room table with my mother, eating snacks while she wrote letters to our friends and family overseas while we discussed what to write.

Chandra: With all of the alternative forms of communication that exist today, it’s easy to think that letter writing may eventually become a lost art. On account of that, I’ve found the significance of written correspondence has increased, becoming that much more unique, genuine, beautiful and appreciated.

Leo: My father and I spent an afternoon in the store selecting these note cards for him. It was great fun not least because they suit him perfectly and were hardly a first choice. Notes from him on these cards will always remind me how much I admire him.leo

We now invite you to reflect upon your favorite things about handwritten notes. Please feel free to share your own anecdotes with us on social media and be sure to tag our accounts!

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An Excerpt from “Diamonds from Brilliant Minds”

An Excerpt from “Diamonds from Brilliant Minds,” published by Messers. Dempsey & Carroll in 1881.

In Twos

Somewhere in the world there hide,

Garden-gates that no one sees

Save they come in happy twos-

Not in ones, nor yet in threes.-W.C.GannettIMG_1539IMG_1545


In 1883, Messrs. Dempsey & Carroll published LOVE


Then, more than blest I fondly swear,

“No power can with Love’s power compare!

None in the starry court of Jove

Is greater than the god of Love!

If any can yet greater be,

Yes, my Neaera! Yes, ‘tis thee!”



A Love Stemmed from Letters: The Story of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning

It all began when she read the words, “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett …”

R. Browning's first letter to E. Barrett

Robert Browning’s first letter to Elizabeth Barrett, dated 10 January 1845. Photo courtesy of Geni Blog (

In 2014, it may seem impossible to imagine that a romance can begin with a simple letter, but it is something that the Victorians certainly got right. The English poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning exchanged some 573 love letters over the duration of their courtship, which all began after Browning wrote Barrett a letter praising her poetry. Although Barrett was afflicted by a chronic illness, she and Browning continued to exchange letters, which allowed the two poets to gain a deeper understanding of one another. After their fifth month of correspondence, Barrett and Browning finally met face to face, but continued to explore their relationship through writing letters. In 1864, just over a year after they began corresponding, Barrett and Browning married and moved to Italy in an effort to alleviate Elizabeth’s illness in the country’s warmer climate. Barrett’s father, who wished her to never marry, disowned her after she ran away with her new husband.

It was through their habitual letter writing that the two poets revealed their sentiments for one another, ultimately allowing their love to grow. Their souls were embedded in their handwriting, lying exposed for the other to see. They shared poetry and philosophy, sealing their devotion to one another upon the sealing of each envelope. For these poets, their letters acted as a means for them to plunge into the other’s world, to learn what it is like to be Elizabeth Barrett, to be Robert Browning. Their story, one that evolved through letters, is one that will continue to withstand time. As their eyes scrolled over each delicately written word, their intimacy blossomed into something that no one else in the world could touch.


Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning

Portraits of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. Photo courtesy of Geni Blog (

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 Garone,

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