Brand Friend Spotlight: Tadd Casner

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

We’re thrilled to introduce you to Tadd Casner as part of our new Brand Friend Spotlight series. Based in Reading, Pennsylvania, Tadd is a Gilded Age historian, architecture enthusiast, writer, and more!IMG_4333

 

How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll?  Were there any particular products that drew you in?

I actually found your firm a couple years ago while looking for a proper engraved calling card.  I used my Emily Post etiquette book (1924 edition) as my guide!

When ordering my calling cards I knew that I only wanted my full name centered in the middle and my street address only (not city & state) in smaller font size in the lower right corner.  Very old fashioned!  I live in a city, albeit much smaller than New York!  The font style and card stock thickness were very important to me.  The calling cards that Dempsey & Carroll produced for me are perfect in every way!

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How do you make traditions modern? We’d love to hear more about the work that you do in your historic neighborhood!

My husband and I live in our 1908 Queen Anne twin townhouse here in the Centre Park Historic District here in Reading, PA.  The Centre Park Historic District, Inc. is a volunteer neighborhood organization that was established in 1982.  Its mission is “to promote architectural preservation and enhance neighborhood living.”  We have various events throughout the year including our annual Gourmet Garden Tour and Christmas House Tour.  We promote our events on our website as well as on our Facebook page.  In 2008, “This Old House Magazine” named Centre Park Historic District one of the top ten neighborhoods in America to purchase an historic fixer-upper.

I am now in my third year of serving as President of the Centre Park District. Truthfully, I became President because few people were interested in undertaking the task, though it has been a rewarding experience so far!

 

When did you know that you wanted to be a historian? Are there any particular time periods that interest you the most?

I’ve been fascinated by history and architecture since childhood. I suppose I was born with a talent for it!  My main focus is on The Gilded Age in America and Britain because I’ve always loved the style of that period. I can remember reading the same books over and over again and being obsessed with photographs taken during that era when I was young.IMG_0397

 

Are there any interesting projects that you’re working on now?

I am currently working on writing a Biography of J.H. Sternberg, a steel magnate here in Reading during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.  He was a very important pioneer in the iron and steel industry, as he patented machinery to produce nuts and bolts.  For seven years,  I actually resided in the home he had constructed.  The home, “Stirling,” sits on a five-acre property in the Centre Park neighborhood.

I am the co-host for two live TV programs at our community television station. One of the shows covers the Centre Park Historic District events, and the other show, “The Passing Scene,” is focused on local history in general.

 

Where is your favorite place to write and catch up on correspondence?

As we are restoring our home, I’m limited to writing at a small built-in desk in one of our dressing rooms. I also use the dining table in our restored dining room, though I am currently looking for an Edwardian period writing desk. IMG_1989

I love writing letters and notes. In our modern era of texts and emails, a handwritten missive seems so much more special and permanent.

Brand Friend Spotlight: Kerrie Kelly

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

Based in California, Kerrie Kelly is an award-winning interior designer, author and contributor, product designer and multi-media consultant, and more! On Kerrie’s trip to NYC last weekend, she paid us a visit at our flagship store on the Upper East Side to work on a bespoke stationery project and see our latest collections.

How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll? Do you have plans for your next set of bespoke stationery with us?

I was born in California and my husband was born on New York’s Lower East Side. When we would come to visit New York (we live in California now), we would each share our version of the city. My husband would take me to his church, his school, and Katz’s Deli. Having worked for Ralph Lauren Home Collection, my version of the city was all about Park Avenue, the Polo Bar, and MoMA. While enjoying those neighborhoods, I came across Dempsey & Carroll and fell in love with the quality, history, and brand story. That translated into creating bespoke stationery for my husband, and ultimately for myself. I am currently putting together a bespoke collection that highlights my Blonde Fox accessory collection with GO Home, Ltd. It will be a flat card with a navy blue border and a side profile of a golden fox leaping.

 

How do you make traditions modern?

I believe traditions can be made modern by adding our own personal spin to family tradition along the way; add modern glassware to a china set, cover a family heirloom in a modern looking fabric, or use an updated font or stamp on a traditionally patterned card or note.

 

Tell us more about your love of history and how you incorporate vintage pieces into your work and own home!

When it comes to history, I love to celebrate my family’s heritage. Our dining room is painted a deep navy blue and has a wall of white shelving that features my great grandpa’s trumpet, my in-laws’ wedding photos, my grandma’s old encyclopedia set,  and my grandpa’s shaving kit and camera. Being surrounded by these pieces in a place where we entertain and enjoy friends and family is so comforting. We reminisce about so many good times while creating even more!

Where is your favorite place to write and catch up on correspondence?

I love to write in my home at a secretary that I designed for one of my furniture collections. It has several letters posted with special messages from dear friends and family. It also has my stamps, beloved pens and letter openers. To be surrounded by my favorite things always makes for better letter writing.

What are a few of your favorite things to do in your spare time?

As an interior designer and product developer, I appreciate unique designs, rich experiences, and quality goods. I love practicing yoga, visiting art museums, enjoying special dinners in the city with friends, and taking weekend trips to nearby Napa Valley. These experiences will always keep my creative juices flowing while providing the opportunity to meet new people (and send more correspondence!).

 

Thank you for sharing with us, Kerrie! Be sure to check out Kerrie’s Instagram (@kerrielkelly) and website to learn more about her work and travels. 

Learn more about being a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend!

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.

 

Spotlight on Caitlin McGauley

In celebration of our brand new collaboration, we sat down with Watercolor Artist and Illustrator Caitlin McGauley to learn more about her work and how she gets inspired. We first met McGauley through our friend Michelle Adams, founder of The Maryn. In fact, the artwork from our collection in partnership with The Maryn was also designed by McGauley!

We are excited to launch the whimsical Caitlin McGauley Animal Collection featuring the Cheetah and Fox motifs and envelope finishings customized by McGauley. We hope that you are as charmed by this collaboration as much as we are! #caitlinmcgauleyxdempsey

 

How did you get started with watercolor?

I was constantly drawing as a kid, so my parents signed me up for group watercolor lessons at 9 years old. I had a great teacher who was in her mid-eighties, and we would sit at card tables in her dining room and copy pictures of landscapes that she tore out of magazines. My next painting teacher was a friendly hippie who taught in a 70’s A frame cottage on a lake. I really loved watercolor and I never pursued any other medium.

 

What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on recently?

Custom projects with interior designers are always fun and diverse, and it’s nice to collaborate with fellow artists. Currently, I am designing a wallpaper with repeating feathers for the ceiling of a restaurant, and I’m in the sketch phase for an animal-themed wallpaper mural that will span a massive playroom without repeating itself.

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What inspires you the most?

Spending time at book stores and antique/secondhand shops! My daughter and I like to go and ‘look for treasures,’ and I keep my eyes peeled for weird or beautiful objects and vases that can be incorporated into my paintings. If I have an hour or so to kill, I would probably spend it at Books of Wonder on 18th street looking at children’s books. I am a picture book fanatic and I always attend the Children’s Book show at the Society of Illustrators, where they show the original work from all of the best picture books from the previous year.

 

Your two young children must have so much fun when they get to visit you in the studio! Do they share your creativity?

Yes, they definitely have the art bug! My six-year-old daughter stays up later at night than I do I presume, since in the morning she has all kinds of new ideas and drawings in the sketchbook that she keeps on her bedside table. My son is a perfectionist and asks me to put white-out on any of his coloring pages where he’s gone outside of the lines.

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Are there any places that you’ve traveled that have had the most influence on your work?

I worked at a small textiles company in my 20’s and was lucky to travel to Asia several times to source fabrics and visit factories. India and China have such a rich textile history and I am so grateful that I got to soak it all up in person. I still reference fabrics and pictures from my trips for inspiration. Time to go back, I think!

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What inspired this collaboration? We’d love to hear a bit more about the colorful prints that are featured!

I love to paint animals, so I started with the pink cheetah and orange fox, and the prints evolved from there. The fox felt masculine and preppy so I looked at vintage ties on eBay, which resulted in stripes and an abstract collegiate-feeling crest print in primary colors. For the cheetah, I drew from animal prints and foliage, but I used colors not necessarily found in nature.

 

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

In the peace and quiet of my studio. I always send a hand-written note with paintings– it shows a kind of appreciation that cannot be conveyed over email!

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Where else can people find your work (aside from our stationery, of course!)?

I have a collection of wallpapers available through the showrooms Studio Four in New York, James in Austin and Dallas Texas, and Nicky Rising in Los Angeles. I also have a shop on my website which I consistently update with original paintings, mostly florals and animals.

Shop the Caitlin McGauley x Dempsey & Carroll on our site here!

 

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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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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National Handwriting Day 2018

Each year, National Handwriting Day falls on January 23rd as a reminder to put pen (or pencil) to paper and bring awareness to the importance of writing.

As noted in this article on Forbes.com, “Handwriting allows us to be artists and individuals during a time when we often use computers, faxes and email to communicate. Fonts are the same no matter what computer you use or how you use it and they lack a personal touch. Handwriting can add intimacy to a letter and reveal details about the writer’s personality.”

We’re celebrating the individuality of our penmanship by writing down our unique goals for the New Year in our distinct writing styles. There’s no better way to start the New Year on a new note!

How will you be celebrating National Handwriting Day? Share your thoughts with us on social media by using the #NationalHandwritingDay hashtag!

 

Megan’s thoughts: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

 

Come from a place of YES! – Carolyn

 

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Read more novels. Nourish my body. Cherish the small things. Create beautiful things. Master a new skill. Write down my dreams. – Chandra

 

Watch more sunsets. Live in the moment. Try something new. – Ariel

 

Explore new places and document everything in handwritten letters to friends and family. – Emma

 

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For 2018, all of my social media will be pen to paper. – Austin