Remember the days before people needed a Hallmark card to say “I love you?” Yeah, we don’t either. As an antidote to what commercialization has rendered the least romantic day of the year we’ve decided to post the most romantic thing we can think of: a selection of hand-written love letters.
All the missives above come from Letters of Note, editor Shaun Usher‘s excellent blog of “fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.” We raided Usher’s archives to find all sorts of mushy talk straight from the pen of historically significant people, from teen-aged Michael Jordan’s hangdog apology to his high-school girlfriend to King Henry VIII’s tenacious pursuit of Anne Boleyn (while he was still married to Catherine of Aragon) to Marlon Brando’s predictably creepy romantic overtures to a stewardess.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
6 July, morning
My angel, my all, my own self — only a few words today, and that too with pencil (with yours) — only till tomorrow is my lodging definitely fixed. What abominable waste of time in such things — why this deep grief, where necessity speaks?
Can our love persist otherwise than through sacrifices, than by not demanding everything? Canst thou change it, that thou are not entirely mine, I not entirely thine? Oh, God, look into beautiful Nature and compose your mind to the inevitable. Love demands everything and is quite right, so it is for me with you, for you with me — only you forget so easily, that I must live for you and for me — were we quite united, you would notice this painful feeling as little as I should…
…We shall probably soon meet, even today I cannot communicate my remarks to you, which during these days I made about my life — were our hearts close together, I should probably not make any such remarks. My bosom is full, to tell you much — there are moments when I find that speech is nothing at all. Brighten up — remain my true and only treasure, my all, as I to you. The rest the gods must send, what must be for us and shall.
Monday evening, 6 July
You suffer, you, my dearest creature. Just now I perceive that letters must be posted first thing early. Mondays — Thursdays — the only days, when the post goes from here to K. You suffer — oh! Where I am, you are with me, with me and you, I shall arrange that I may live with you. What a life!
So! Without you — pursued by the kindness of the people here and there, whom I mean — to desire to earn just as little as they earn — humility of man towards men — it pains me — and when I regard myself in connection with the Universe, what I am, and what he is — whom one calls the greatest — and yet — there lies herein again the godlike of man. I weep when I think you will probably only receive on Saturday the first news from me — as you too love — yet I love you stronger — but never hide yourself from me. Good night — as I am taking the waters, I must go to bed. Oh God — so near! so far! Is it not a real building of heaven, our Love — but as firm, too, as the citadel of heaven.
Good morning, on 7 July
Even in bed my ideas yearn towards you, my Immortal Beloved, here and there joyfully, then again sadly, awaiting from Fate, whether it will listen to us. I can only live, either altogether with you or not at all. Yes, I have determined to wander about for so long far away, until I can fly into your arms and call myself quite at home with you, can send my soul enveloped by yours into the realm of spirits — yes, I regret, it must be. You will get over it all the more as you know my faithfulness to you; never another one can own my heart, never — never! O God, why must one go away from what one loves so, and yet my life in W. as it is now is a miserable life. Your love made me the happiest and unhappiest at the same time. At my actual age I should need some continuity, sameness of life — can that exist under our circumstances? Angel, I just hear that the post goes out every day — and must close therefore, so that you get the L. at once. Be calm — love me — today — yesterday.
What longing in tears for you — You — my Life — my All — farewell. Oh, go on loving me — never doubt the faithfullest heart
Of your beloved
The way I thought was wrong, having not known, it was right. Here is the proof of my feelings, Don’t hate me, love me forever: — — — —
Beautiful is the world, slow is one to take advantage. Wind up the world the other way. And at the start of the turning of the earth, lie my feelings for thou.
Shame on me.
I love you.
Diego, my love,
Remember that once you finish the fresco we will be together forever once and for all, without arguments or anything, only to love one another.
Behave yourself and do everything that Emmy Lou tells you.
I adore you more than ever. Your girl, Frida
4: From President Gerald Ford (and his children) to his wife Betty Ford shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer (1974)
No written words can adequately express our deep, deep love. We know how great you are and we, the children and Dad, will try to be as strong as you.
Our Faith in you and God will sustain us. Our total love for you is everlasting.
We will be at your side with our love for a wonderful Mom.
Darlyng thowght I haue scant laysor yet remembryng my pmes I thowthe it go covenyent to certefy yow brevely in what case oure affaires stande as tochyng a loggyng for yow we haue gotton won by my lord cardinall menys the hafe weroff colde nott haue bene fond her abowght for all causys as thys berar shall more shew yow as tochyng oure other affayres I ensure yow ther can be no more done nor more diligente usyd nor all maner off dangers better bothe forsene and unintelligible for so thatt I trust it shall be heraffter to bothe our comforte the specialltes weroff wer bothe to long to be wryttyn and hardly by messenger to be declaryd wherfore tyll your repayre hyder I kepe suyynge in store trusty it shall nott be long to for I haue causyd my lord your fader to make hys prisions wt spede and thus for lake off tyme derlyng I make a nende off my letter wryttyn wt the hand off hym whyche I wolde wer yours
Nenmoins il nappertiente pas a vng gentylle home pur prendre sa dame au lieu de suivante toute foyse ensuyvant vos desires volen tiers le vous ont royroy si per cela vous puisset revere moins ingrate en la plase per vous choysye qavez este en la plase par moy donee en vous marciant tres cordiallement quel vous plete encors avoire quelque sovenace de moy. B.N.R.I. de R.O.M.V.E.Z.
Click here for a modern translation.
happiness is within you….so unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow—
like the sweet flower you are…..
I know the answer—
Just spread your wings and set yourself
Love to you forever
That’s really nice June. You’ve got a way with words and a way with me as well.
The fire and excitement may be gone now that we don’t go out there and sing them anymore, but the ring of fire still burns around you and I, keeping our love hotter than a pepper sprout.
Frances! I am so lonely I can hardly bear it. As one needs happiness so have I needed love; that is the deepest need of the human spirit. And as I love you utterly, so have you now become the whole world of my spirit. It is beside and beyond anything that you can ever do for me; it lies in what you are, dear love — to me so infinitely lovely that to be near you, to see you, hear you, is now the only happiness, the only life, I know. How long these hours are alone!
Yet is good for me to know the measure of my love and need, that I may at least be brought to so govern myself as never to lose the love and trust that you have given me.
Dear Frances, let us make and keep our love more beautiful than any love has ever been before.
Forever, dearest one.
Dear Lady —
There is something not quite definable in your face — something lovely, not pretty in a conventionally thought of way. You have something graceful and tender and feminine (sp). You seem to be a woman who has been loved in her childhood, or else, somehow by the mystery of genetic phenomena you have been visited by the gifts of refinement, dignity and poise. Perhaps you cannot be accredited with all that.
Irrespective of your gothic aspects, you have passed something on in terms of your expression, mien and general comportment that is unusual and rewarding.
It’s been a pleasant if brief encounter and I wish you well and I hope we shall have occasion to cross eyes again sometime.
10: An apology from 18-year-old Michael Jordan to his then-girlfriend Laquette for making her “look pretty rotten”
My Dearest Laquette
How are you and your family doing, fine I hope. I am in my Adv. Chemistry class writing you a letter, so that tell you how much I care for you. I decide to write you because I felt that I made you look pretty rotten after the last night. I want to tell you that I am sorry, and hope that you except my apologie. I know that you feelings was hurt whenever I loss my necklace or had it stolen.
I was really happy when you gave me my honest earn money that I won off the bet. I want to thank you for letting me hold your annual. I show it to everyone at school. Everyone think you are a very pretty young lady and I had to agree because it is very true. Please don’t let this go to your head. (smile) I sorry to say that I can’t go to the game on my birthday because my father is taking the whole basketball team out to eat on my birthday. Please don’t be mad because I am trying get down there a week from Feb. 14. If I do get the chance to come please have some activity for us to do together.
I want you to know that my feeling for you has not change yet. ← (joke) I am finally getting use to going with a girl much smaller than I. I hope you my hint. Well I have spent my time very wisely by write to you. I hope you write back soon. Well I must go, the period is almost over. See you next time around, which I hope comes soon.
With my Best Love
Michael J. Jordan
GEE!! I WISH MYRT WAS HERE
I SURE AM THINKING OF YOU, AND I’M DOGGONE LONESOME. THINK I’LL JUMP OFF THE CLIFF AND END IT ALL. “LOVE SICK EH?”
ALL I GOTTA DO DOWN HERE IS SHAKE HANDS AND TELL ‘EM HOW I MAKE A COMIC.
HOPE YOU’RE WELL. ALSO HOPE YOU’RE THINKING OF ME.
YOUR “LIL” BOOB
12: Sid Vicious lists off his girlfriend Nancy Spungen’s best attributes, just months before he allegedly stabs her to death (1978)
What Makes Nancy So Great By Sidney
3 Beautiful figure
4 Great sense of humour
5 Makes extremely interesting conversation
7 Has beautiful eyes
8 Has fab taste in clothes
9 Has the most beautiful wet pussy in the world
10 Even has sexy feet
11 Is extremely smart
12 A great Hustler
[Image: Arthur Hidden/Shutterstock]