I miss my biggest heart

It wasn’t until her death, in 1886, that the true scale of Emily Dickinson‘s profound poetry was both discovered and appreciated by family and friends, many of whom had only glimpsed her talents in the numerous poem-filled letters that she wrote. She found an even wider audience in 1890 with the posthumous publication of a

There was a war, a great war, and now it is over

On November 11th of 1918, the First World War effectively came to an end with the signing of the armistice—an agreement between Allied and German forces to end, with immediate effect, all hostilies and withdraw troops from the battlefield. Peace, at last, after four years of fighting and more than 16 million deaths. Shortly after the armistice

Brown is as pretty as white

W. E. B. Du Bois accomplished more than most during a lifetime rich with admirable achievements. In 1895, he became the first African American to earn a Ph.D at Harvard; he co-founded, in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, an organisation that has fought tirelessly for racial equality since its inception;

Oh God for one more breath

On the morning of May 19th, 1902, a huge explosion ripped through Fraterville Coal Mine in Tennessee, its devastating power instantly killing most of the 216 miners who were below ground. For the 26 who survived the initial blast, a side passage of the mine proved to be a safe haven, but not for long—when

Always Yours

On November 27th of 1875, the great Samuel Clemens—known to most as Mark Twain—wrote the following love letter to his dear wife of almost 6 years, Olivia, on the occasion of her 30th birthday. They remained married until her death, 29 years later. (Source: Complete Letters of Mark Twain; Image: Olivia and Samuel Clemens, via

Your Loving Mother

On January 22nd of 1919, during her freshman year at college, 19-year-old Margaret Mitchell received word that her mother had fallen ill as a result of a deadly flu pandemic that was sweeping the globe, along with instructions from her father to return home. A few days later, she did just that, only to be greeted

I embrace you with all my heart

On November 7th 1913, in French Algeria, author Albert Camus was born. The second son of Lucien and Catherine Camus, he was just 11-months-old when his father was killed in action during The Battle of the Marne; his mother, partially deaf and illiterate, then raised her boys in extreme poverty with the help of his heavy-handed

I am there in the sunset

There are more than 90,000 people buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery, a beautiful and sprawling garden cemetery in Massachusetts that was first opened in 1831. Beside one of the graves sits the following letter, written by a lady to the love she left behind. Much needed transcript follows. Larger image here. Huge thanks to Rosie. (Kindly

Don’t feel bad that I’m gone

In 1936, Jim Henson was born—a creative genius whose wide-reaching and positive influence on the population is rivalled by few in the world of entertainment, due to an incredible career that began in the 1950s when he created the now-adored Muppets. Henson passed away far too early, in 1990, aged just 53. Some time before, he wrote two letters

My Dear Son

The following heartfelt letter of fatherly advice was written in 1908 by novelist and screenwriter John D. Swain as his son began student life at Yale, the same university from which John himself had graduated. His wonderful, poignant letter was subsequently reproduced in the Yale Alumni Weekly and proved so popular amongst both students and parents

My husband is not a common man

In 1905, George Bernard Shaw received a piece of fan mail from an aspiring playwright initially known only as “Miss Charming” that would ultimately result in the following unique letter. Miss Charming was in fact a 24-year-old lady named Erica Cotterill, and Shaw was so intrigued by her approach that he replied with advice, thus beginning

She was the music heard faintly at the edge of sound

Detective novelist Raymond Chandler‘s wife of 30 years, Cissy, died on December 12th, 1954 after a long and painful battle with pulmonary fibrosis during which the author wrote The Long Goodbye. As can be seen in the following touching and affectionate letter, written to friend Leonard Russell shortly after Cissy’s passing, Raymond was deeply affected by the loss

It’s a strange and confusing world

In October 1974, as he lay on his death bed at the end of a battle with cancer and reflected on his past, Clyde S. Shield (pictured above) wrote the following heartfelt letter to his 3-week-old grandson and offered some poignant advice for the road ahead. 30 years previous, Clyde had played a significant role in

You’re off, by God!

Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton (United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo) Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were both already married when they fell in love on the set of Cleopatra in 1962 – she to fourth husband, Eddie Fisher, a singer, and he to actress Sybil Christopher. In 1964, with divorces finalised, they wed and

A squeal of pain

Prominent English novelist Vita Sackville-West’s marriage to Sir Harold Nicolson was the very definition of an open one, with both partners happily enjoying extramarital relationships for much of the 49 years they spent together. In the early-1920s, Vita began what was to be her most famous affair, with Virginia Woolf, the hugely influential author responsible

Grow up as good revolutionaries

In 1955, Argentinean-born Che Guevara met Fidel Castro and quickly joined his efforts to oust Fulgencio Batista as leader of Cuba — a revolution in which he would go on to play a major role and which would lead to Guevara becoming Finance Minister under Castro’s rule. By 1965, Guevara was keen to spread his

Sleep well my love

The following heart-rending love letter was written by American World War II veteran Brian Keith to Dave, a fellow soldier he met and fell in love with in 1943 while stationed in North Africa. It was penned on the occasion of their anniversary and reprinted in September of 1961 by ONE Magazine, a groundbreaking pro-gay magazine first published in

Don’t expect me to be sane anymore

In 1932, months after first meeting in Paris and despite both being married, Cuban diarist Anaïs Nin and hugely influential novelist Henry Miller began an incredibly intense love affair that would last for many years and, along the way, generate countless passionate love letters. Below, in my humble opinion, is one of the most powerful examples, written

I am sorry for your loss

In December of 2012, shortly after his wife passed away at the NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, a local gentleman was sent a touching, eloquent letter of condolence in the mail by the doctor who had treated her in the emergency room. Such a lovely gesture, and I imagine an incredibly comforting note to receive at such a

I love June Carter, I do

On March 1st of 1968, 13 years after first meeting and just a week after he proposed to her on stage during a concert, the great Johnny Cash married fellow country singer June Carter. They remained together until her death, 35 years later. Shortly after June passed away, Johnny wrote the following note. He died two months later,

With deepest sympathy, Fido

On April 12th of 1945, a few months before the end of World War II, the U.S. President of 12 years, Franklin Roosevelt, passed away after suffering a brain haemorrhage. He was 63-years-old. Nine days later, the following letter of condolence was printed in various newspapers, addressed to his beloved dog, Fala. It was written by Bob

I’ll be watching over you

On January 12th of 1997, 41-year-old astronaut Jerry Linenger kissed his pregnant wife and 14-month-old son goodbye, boarded Space Shuttle Atlantis, and headed for Space Station Mir where he joined two Russian cosmonauts. He then remained in Space for a record-breaking 132 days. Below are just three of the dozens of letters he wrote to

She is my best friend

In November of 2012, in a heartbreaking, handwritten letter addressed to “a few thousand friends I have not met yet,” Fiona Apple announced that she was postponing the South American leg of her tour due to the ill-health of her beloved pit bull, Janet — a 13-year-old rescue dog suffering from Addison’s disease and, more worryingly, a tumor

I will always be there with you

On May 1st of 2003, just weeks after being deployed to Iraq, Army Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, of Springfield, Missouri was killed when his tank fell into the Euphrates river. He was 34-years-old. Shortly after his death, the following farewell letter was delivered to his bereaved wife, Melissa, and his 6-year-old stepson, Dakota (“Toad”). Melissa and

For your first Christmas

In December of 1915, as his infant grandson began to enjoy his very first Christmas, 60-year-old American journalist and diplomat Walter H. Page decided to mark the occasion by writing him the following letter — a wonderful, heartwarming celebration of their common interests which, as a result of its charm, was later published for wider consumption.

Our differences unite us

In 2012, 10-year-old Sophia Bailey-Klugh wrote and illustrated an endearing letter to U. S. President Barack Obama and, as the daughter of a gay couple, thanked him for supporting same-sex marriage. Her letter, and the reply she soon received, can be seen below. Transcripts follow each letter. (Huge thanks to Sophia’s family for allowing us to

Our Frank

On the night of December 21st, 1988, a bomb exploded on board New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 and ripped the aircraft apart, its wreckage then raining down on the sleepy Scottish town of Lockerbie below. All 259 passengers and crew perished, as did 11 local residents. One of the passengers, 45-year-old Frank Ciulla (pictured above), had been travelling

Everything comes to an end

On November 9th of 2004, Stieg Larsson — journalist and author of the posthumously published Millennium series of novels, the first of which was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — passed away after suffering a heart attack. He was 50-years-old. The next month, Stieg’s long-term partner, Eva Gabrielsson, found the following letter amongst his

I was meant to be a composer

In 1919, at which point he was just 9-years-old, Samuel Barber wrote the following letter to his mother and left it on his desk for her to find. She did, and a year later Barber began to compose his first opera, “The Rose Tree.” He was still only 26 years of age when, in 1936, he

I’m still someplace

In his wonderful book, Chuck Reducks, the late-Chuck Jones — a true legend in the world of animation who, amongst countless other achievements, created characters such as Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, and also directed what is widely considered to be one of the best cartoons ever made: What’s Opera, Doc? — credits his beloved “Uncle Lynn” with

What a world

One icy morning in January of 1984, as the University of Oregon‘s wrestling team headed to their next tournament in Pullman, Washington, the driver of the bus on which they were travelling lost control of the vehicle on a mountain road and could do nothing to stop it tumbling through the guardrail and over a

How could you go ahead of me?

In April of 1998, shortly after excavating an ancient tomb in Andong City, South Korea, archaeologists were stunned to find the coffin of Eung-Tae Lee — a 16th-century male, now mummified, who, until his death at the age of 30, had been a member of the ancient Goseong Yi clan. Resting on his chest was

I shall always be with you

On June 8th of 1950, nine months after being arrested by the Czech secret police on suspicion of leading a plot to overthrow the Communist regime, 48-year-old socialist politician Milada Horáková was found guilty of “high treason” following a show trial that was broadcast on national radio, and in which she remained defiant. On the 27th of that

Shall we go together & look for her?

In April of 1948, having recently watched and been mesmerised by Open City and its sequel, Paisà, Oscar-winning actress Ingrid Bergman wrote a fan letter to the filmmaker responsible, Roberto Rossellini, and offered her acting services. That note can be read below, as can three passionate replies from Rossellini — the first an excited telegram sent in

Come here father

In August of 1966, following years of controversy and multiple arrests for his “obscene” stand-up routines, pioneering comedian Lenny Bruce was found dead at his home after a morphine overdose. He was 40-years-old. Approximately a year and a half before he passed away, as he faced jail following a drug conviction, Bruce wrote a letter to his

What did you say? I can’t hear you…

On June 10th of 1967, Spencer Tracy — a Hollywood star who was nominated for nine Best Actor Oscars during his career, two of which he won — passed away after suffering a heart attack at the home he shared with his partner, Katharine Hepburn. Eighteen years later, Hepburn wrote him a letter. The clip above shows Katharine

Think always of me

In the early hours of October 16th, 1793, nine months after the execution of her husband, Louis XVI, the 37-year-old former Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, wrote the following tear-stained farewell letter to her sister-in-law, Madame Elisabeth, and her children. Just eight hours later, Marie Antoinette was beheaded. Her letter never reached Elisabeth. Transcript and

Must be raining in this old bunkhouse

Shortly after renowned “cowboy artist” Charles Russell passed away in 1926, his friend of many years, the popular American entertainer, Will Rogers, wrote him the following farewell letter. It was sent to Charles’s widow, Nancy. (Source: Dear Wit; Image: Horse of the Hunter, by Charles Russell, via.) Dear Charley, I bet you hadn’t been up there three days

Sex does not thrive on monotony

In the 1940s, at which point she — along with a collective of other writers that included her lover, Henry Miller — was earning $1 per page writing erotic fiction for the private consumption of an anonymous client, author Anaïs Nin wrote the following passionate letter to the “Collector” and made known her frustrations — frustrations caused by his repeated insistence

I shall be waiting for you

In 1615, having successfully commanded an army at the Battle of Imafuku some months before, 22-year-old Japanese samurai and “peerless hero of the nation” Kimura Shigenari once again prepared to lead his men at the Siege of Osaka, despite his troops being heavily outnumbered. His young wife, Lady Shigenari, feared the worst and, having decided not

He’s here, living and vivid and unforgettable forever

On September 30th of 1955, less than a month before his most celebrated turn as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause graced the screens, 24-year-old James Dean died shortly after his Porsche collided with another car at high speed. His funeral was held nine days later in Fairmount, not far from the farm on which he

The most beautiful work of all

Punk pioneer Patti Smith and influential photographer Robert Mapplethorpe enjoyed a close, often intense relationship that began in 1967 when 20-year-old Patti moved to New York City. The pair hit it off immediately, and for the next seven years they lived together in Manhattan. In 1989, 22 years after first meeting and by which time

My dungeon shook

Early-1963, 100 years after Abraham Lincoln called for the release of all Confederate slaves by way of the Emancipation Proclamation, renowned author James Baldwin wrote the following moving letter to his 14-year-old nephew, James, and offered some advice. The letter later featured in Baldwin’s book, The Fire Next Time. (Source: The Fire Next Time; Image:

Love, Dad

In June of 1971, 26-year-old Michael Reagan married his 18-year-old fiancée in a beautiful ceremony that took place in Hawaii, but which sadly couldn’t be attended by his dad, the future President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. A few days before the ceremony, however, Michael did receive something invaluable that would be treasured for

The real heroes are the parents

In July of 1918, whilst serving as an ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, Ernest Hemingway was seriously wounded in a mortar attack that resulted in both legs being “riddled” with shrapnel and a six month stay in a Milan hospital. Three months after the incident, as he recuperated, 19-year-old Hemingway wrote the following letter

DO NOT be so bloody vulnerable

It was in 1935 that movie stars Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich first spoke, thanks to an unexpected phone call from Dietrich in which she complimented him on his starring role in The Scoundrel. For the next 38 years, until Coward’s death, they remained close friends and wrote regularly, the topic of discussion often Dietrich’s

I refuse to be cheated out of my deathbed scene

In 1912, after she called him “the Old Maid of novelists” in a scathing review of his new book, Marriage, journalist and author Rebecca West met and fell in love with H. G. Wells. The often-explosive affair that resulted lasted for some months, until, in March of 1913, Wells — 26 years her senior and already a

Greetings Worm

From the pages of Diane Keaton‘s memoir, Then Again, come four brief and unsurprisingly entertaining letters from the inimitable Woody Allen. Says Keaton: I was his endearing oaf. He was my “White Thing.” […] We thrived on demeaning each other. His insights into my character were dead on and—duh!—hilarious. This bond remains the core of our

I do not like scolding people

Author Katherine Mansfield and editor John Murry met in 1911 and had a turbulent relationship by anyone’s standards: by the time they wed in 1918, they had split several times and seen other people; indeed, the pattern continued through their marriage. Three years after marrying, Mansfield wrote a stern letter to fellow author Princess Elizabeth

Love is love, and there will never be too much

Back in 2000, a teenage Fiona Apple fan named Bill Magee decided to approach the singer after a gig and hand her a letter. In it, the 16-year-old spoke of his school’s gay-straight alliance — of which he was a member — and asked if she could possibly reply with a sentence or two in its support. The next week,

With all my heart and soul

On their fourth wedding anniversary in April of 1996, just eleven months after the riding accident that saw him paralysed from the neck down, Christopher Reeve‘s wife, Dana, gave him the following letter. They remained married until his death in 2004, by which point the Superman actor had lent his name to the American Paralysis

Things to worry about

When he wasn’t busy writing some of the most critically lauded and enduring novels of the 20th Century, The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald could often be found penning the most fascinating of letters to such famous characters as his good friend, Ernest Hemingway; editor extraordinaire, Maxwell Perkins; and his wife and fellow author,

Remember the Ladies

As you read the following letter, in which Abigail Adams boldly asks her husband — future U.S. President, John Adams — to “remember the ladies” when drafting new laws or else fear rebellion from the female population, bear in mind that it was sent over 200 years ago, at the start of the American Revolutionary War — a time when women had very

Jelly-boned swines

June of 1912 was a bad month for D. H. Lawrence. His lover, Frieda — a married woman with whom he had recently fled to Germany — was being begged to return to the family home in England by her husband (and Lawrence’s former professor), Ernest Weekley. In addition, publisher William Heinemann had just decided to

I love my wife. My wife is dead.

Richard Feynman was one of the best-known and most influential physicists of his generation. In the 1940s, he played a part in the development of the atomic bomb; in 1986, as a key member of the Rogers Commission, he investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and identified its cause; in 1965, he and two colleagues

I feel happy tonight

On July 2nd of 1944, as she travelled by train from Chicago to San Francisco, author and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote the following beautiful letter to her husband, Charles Lindbergh — an aviation pioneer who, 17 years previously, in 1927, flew from New York to Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis to much acclaim. They remained

The love of a parasite is worth nothing

In May of 1948, author Ayn Rand received a letter from a fan named Joanne Rondeau. In it, she asked Rand to explain a sentence in her bestselling 1943 novel, The Fountainhead, which reads: To say ‘I love you’ one must first know how to say the ‘I’. Rand responded with the following letter. (Source:

I shall always be near you

In 1861, as the American Civil War approached, a 32-year-old lawyer named Sullivan Ballou left his wife of five years and two sons at home, and joined the war effort as a major in the Union Army. On July 14th of that year, acutely aware that particularly perilous times were ahead, he wrote, but didn’t

“Our little baby is dead”

On April 14th of 1851, Dora Dickens, the ninth child of Charles Dickens and his wife, Catherine, died unexpectedly after suffering convulsions. She was just 8-months-old. The next morning, Charles wrote the following letter to Catherine — miles away from home recuperating from an illness, oblivious to the situation  —  and, in an effort to break the news

Dear Son

In May of 1962, 37-year-old Malcolm Scott Carpenter became just the second American to orbit the Earth, as he piloted the Aurora 7 into space. On the eve of this historic journey, his father, Marion, proudly wrote him the following wonderful letter. (Source: For Spacious Skies; Image: A photo of Earth, taken by Scott Carpenter

I know what love is

In 1936, in the midst of an unrelenting workload and the near-demise of his marriage, legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams suffered a nervous breakdown. After a stay in hospital, desperately in need of escape, Adams then returned with his family to the one place where he could find solace: Yosemite, California. Some months later, as

I know, Mother, I know

In 1969, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anne Sexton wrote the following, overwhelmingly heartfelt letter to her 15-year-old daughter, Linda, after battling mental illness for much of her adult life; a battle, in fact, that saw her take up poetry on the advice of her therapist. Sadly, just five years after this emotional missive was penned, Anne

Nothing good gets away

John Steinbeck, born in 1902, was one of the most acclaimed authors of his generation, responsible for a body of work that boasts, most notably, The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men—all classics which have been read and adored by many millions in all corners of the globe, and which

Don’t say it

Back in the mid-1980s, a young man in his early-20s named James Harmon began writing to a huge number of notable people — authors, academics, actors, thinkers; all of whom he admired — and asked, “If you could offer the young people of today one piece of advice, what would it be?” Over the coming

Thanks for being my Dad

Today marks a decade since the death of George Harrison; with that in mind, here are two endearing handwritten letters from the late-Beatle. The first was written in 1968 to a fan who, having previously been advised by Harrison to learn the sitar, had then cheekily asked him for the money needed to purchase one.

I am so lonely I can hardly bear it

American artist Rockwell Kent wrote the following love letter to his wife, Frances, in 1926. It’s a masterclass in romantic writing. Much-needed transcript follows. Image courtesy of the Archives of American Art. Large version here. Image: Archives of American Art Transcript Frances! I am so lonely I can hardly bear it. As one needs happiness

Good Bye, Son

Christopher was just 3 years of age and largely oblivious to the impending tragedy when, on August 11th of 1991, his dad wrote him this heartbreaking farewell letter. The next year, his father passed away after losing a battle with leukemia. He was 38-years-old. Transcript follows. (Source: Christopher; used with permission. Many thanks to Alec

The ring of fire still burns around you and I

Today we have two endearing pieces from the hand of Johnny Cash, a musical legend who needs no introduction. The first is a poetic, undated love note to his wife, June; the second, an utterly charming to-do list. Transcripts follow. First image taken from the forthcoming book, “House of Cash“; second image courtesy of Julien’s

I am gratefuler than ever before…

From 1888, a simple love note from the hand of Samuel Clemens — better known to most as Mark Twain — to his wife, Olivia. Transcript follows. Image courtesy of The Mark Twain House & Museum. Image: The Mark Twain House & Museum Transcript Hartford, Nov. 27/88 Livy Darling, I am grateful — gratefuler than ever before — that

Thank you for the dream

One rainy Sunday afternoon in 1989, with encouragement and much-needed help from her father, a 7-year-old girl named Amy decided to send something to Roald Dahl. Taking inspiration from her favourite book, The BFG, and using a combination of oil, coloured water and glitter, Amy sent the author a very fitting and undeniably adorable gift: one of her

Sweetheart come

On February 7th of 1909, a 30-year-old mother of two by the name of Emma Hauck was admitted to the psychiatric hospital of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, having recently been diagnosed with dementia praecox (schizophrenia). The outlook improved briefly and a month later she was discharged, only to be readmitted within weeks as her condition deteriorated

Many times I have kissed and cryed over this

Here’s a fascinting missive written to Charles Darwin in 1839 by his wife, Emma, shortly after the inception of his theory of evolution, in which she openly worries about his dwindling faith and, midway through the letter, asks him not to be blinded to the possibilities of things “which if true are likely to be

Our total love for you is everlasting

Following a routine mammogram on September 26th of 1974, just a month after becoming First Lady of the United States, Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer. Below is a loving letter of support from Betty’s husband — then-U.S. President Gerald Ford — and her children, written shortly after the diagnosis. Betty Ford’s decision to be entirely open about her illness

Please don’t let this go to your head

Early-1980, whilst sitting in an Advanced Chemistry class at Laney High School in North Carolina, a clearly smitten, 18-year-old Michael Jordan wrote the following cheeky letter of apology to then-girlfriend Laquette, after recently making her “look pretty rotten.” Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Lelands. Image: Lelands Transcript Michael Jordan My Dearest Laquette How are you and your

Immortal Beloved

After his death in 1827, the following love letter was found amongst the personal papers of Ludwig van Beethoven, penned by the composer over the course of two days in July of 1812 while staying in Teplice. The letter’s unnamed recipient — Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved” — remains a mystery, and continues to generate debate. Below are images of the

I’m 82 and hate it!

Despite suffering quite heavily from emphysema and Parkinson’s disease during his final years, horror legend Vincent Price still kept up with his correspondence. Below are three postcards written by Price in the early-’90s to friend Bob Miller. Each touch on the declining health of both himself and his wife, Coral, who died in May of 1991 after

Your happiness means my happiness

On August 6th of 1962, a day after 36-year-old Marilyn Monroe passed away, the following unsent letter, addressed to ex-husband Joe DiMaggio, was discovered at her desk, folded up in her address book. It is thought they were planning to remarry. Transcript follows. (Source: MM-Personal: From the Private Archive of Marilyn Monroe; Image: Joe DiMaggio &

It’s better to burn out than to fade away

On April 8th of 1994, an electrician discovered the body of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain at the musician’s home in Lake Washington with a shotgun resting on his chest, a bullet wound to his head, and the following handwritten letter on a nearby table. Addressed to “Boddah”—apparently the name of Cobain’s imaginary childhood friend—the letter is

A library is many things

Early-1971, in an effort to attract as many youngsters to the premises as possible, Marguerite Hart — children’s librarian at the newly-opened public library in Troy, Michigan — wrote to a number of notable people with a request: to reply with a congratulatory letter, addressed to the children of Troy, in which the benefits of

To my family — from Dad

At approximately 12:15pm on February 26th, 1993, Carl Selinger entered elevator number 66 on floor 43 of the World Trade Center in New York and began the ascent to his office. Almost immediately the elevator came to an abrupt halt, and within minutes the confined space began to fill with smoke. Unbeknownst to Carl, at

The romantic Mr Carlin

It was in June of 1998 that legendary comedian George Carlin married Sally Wade. Tragically, just two days before their tenth anniversary, he passed away. Below is just one of countless love letters he wrote to his wife during their time together, many of which feature in her memoir, The George Carlin Letters: The Permanent Courtship

Jim is fundamentally a respectable citizen

Two letters today, both of which concern Jim Morrison, frontman of The Doors, but each at different stages of his tragically short life. The first was lovingly penned by Morrison in 1954, then just 10 years of age, and is an incredibly sweet letter of thanks to his mother for having helped him “face all the

The tracks sound terrific so far, especially King Bee

December, 1964. An 18-year-old aspiring musician called Roger writes an endearing illustrated letter to his girlfriend, Jenny Spires, in which he describes his band’s first recording session. It was, in fact, the first of many, and before long both Roger and his band, The Tea Set, would become known by different names: he, as Syd Barrett; his band, Pink

What Makes Nancy So Great, by Sidney

[Do not read the following if easily offended] 1978. Hugely troubled punk rocker Sid Vicious was 20 years of age when he penned the following affectionate note – a love letter of sorts that simply listed his girlfriend’s best qualities – and gave it to Nancy Spungen. Just months later Spungen was stabbed to death, and Vicious

Darling Goodnight and Goodbye

In 1918, aged just 18, Rattanbai ‘Ruttie’ Petit converted to Islam and married a man 24 years her senior: then-president of the All-India Muslim League and eventual founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The following few years were blissfully happy for the newlyweds, but a rift soon developed as Jinnah’s hectic political life took hold. In

Written with the hand of him who wishes he were yours

From the hand of King Henry VIII in 1527 we have a letter (the first part of which was written in English, the second part in French) to the second of his six wives, Anne Boleyn. At this point, Henry was reluctantly still married to his wife of 18 years, Catherine of Aragon, and still

It’s all too exciting

23rd August, 1957: With his wife, Felicia, currently many miles away visiting family in Chile, an overjoyed Leonard Bernstein writes her a letter and reports on the successful trial run of West Side Story in Washington, D.C. The composer’s relief is almost palpable, his genuine excitement infectious, as he recalls positive reviews; the regular attendance of dignitaries;

A true Lovers Knot to thee my Dear I send

Popular amongst a small section of Pennsylvania Quakers in the late-18th and early 19th century, the ‘True Lover’s Knot’ is both an undeniably romantic form of love letter and an impressively intricate, labyrinthian work of art of which very few examples still exist. Handcrafted using quill, brush and compass, the stunning knot seen below was

I sure am thinking of you

On October 8th, 1916, seven months after his first comic strip debuted in the Chicago Herald, 24-year-old cartoonist Elzie Segar took out a sheet of his employers’ letterhead and wrote and illustrated the following love letter to then-girlfriend, Myrtle Johnson. Three years later, by which point he had married his sweetheart, his third comic strip – Thimble

Wind up the world the other way…

From the pen of the late-Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker – a veritable musical genius and one of the world’s greatest, most innovative saxophonists – comes an apologetic but undeniably poetic handwritten love letter, penned to long-term lover Chan Woods. Parker’s adult life was a turbulent one, his musical brilliance often affected by his addiction to both

Wow! Am I fucked up

On April 8th of 1954, less than two years before his untimely death at the age of 24, promising young actor James Dean left New York and headed for Los Angeles in order to prepare for his first starring role in a Hollywood movie, as Cal Trask in East of Eden. The change of scene was

Wills are subject to change

During his final fourteen years, actor W. C. Fields enjoyed an oft-turbulent relationship with Carlotta Monti, a minor actress who became his mistress in the early 1930s. In 1939, midway through their affair and with marriage out of the question (Fields, although separated, still had a wife), Monti informed Fields of her intention to marry another

I can’t remember ever being without you

In 1952, Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis married. In 1972, prior to their 20th anniversary, Reagan — then Governor of California — wrote the following letter to his wife. Transcript follows. Source Transcript State of CaliforniaGOVERNOR’S OFFICESACRAMENTO 95814 RONALD REAGANGOVERNOR My Darling Wife This note is to warn you of a diabolical plot entered into

You must know again my reluctance to marry

In May of 1932, 34-year-old pioneering aviatrix Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean following a 14 hour, 56 minute flight from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland in her single engine Lockheed Vega 5B—just one of many aviation records that she broke during a lifetime fuelled by ambition. Earhart was

Beloved Father

Wishing for some form of acknowledgment from her estranged father in 1702, twelve-year-old Jahanna wrote the following heartbreaking letter to Peter Besallion, a French Canadian who at the time was a successful Indian trader living in newly-formed Philadelphia. Unfortunately any response that may have been sent is yet to be unearthed, but it is known that young

The most beautiful death

Brave New World novelist Aldous Huxley was diagnosed with cancer in 1960, at which point his health slowly began to deteriorate. On his deathbed in November of 1963, just as he was passing away, Aldous — a man who for many years had been fascinated with the effects of psychedelic drugs since being introduced to mescaline

Happiness is within you…

Please excuse me while I exhibit another music-related letter, again courtesy of the near-bottomless Hard Rock Memorabilia vaults. Today’s poetic gem was penned rather beautifully by the late Jimi Hendrix on an unknown date, to a girlfriend he affectionately called ‘little girl’. It’s all at once exceptionally sweet, gently encouraging and yet another example of

I hadn’t any idea that I talked about my guitar so often

Saul was just 14 when he wrote and illustrated the following letter to Michelle Young — an ex-girlfriend who had just recently ended their relationship and, in a previous letter, blamed the decision on Saul’s unending talk of his guitar. The guitar obsession never ended and Saul soon became Slash, one of the world’s most admired

I painted you a letter

Russian-born artist Moses Soyer wrote a number of letters to his teenage sons; nearly all replete with fantastic illustrations as charming as those seen below. This particular work of art was sent to David in the late 1930s while he attended summer camp miles from home, and must’ve been a perfect remedy for homesickness. Similar

I am Adam and I’m alone again with all my ribs intact

The following letter, written by Jack Kerouac in 1962 following an apparent escape from New York’s many temptations, is predictably fascinating and equally saddening. Over the course of just three pages addressed to Jacques Beckwith, Kerouac manages to touch on his general ill-health, his many troubled relationships with women (most notably then-girlfriend Lois Sorrell), the