The Letter

toile border

Vintage letters

As I walked through one of my favorite shops in Concord called Nesting On Main , my attention immediately went to the stacks of old letters. They were in baskets, on tabletops and in interesting containers in the back room. I purchased a few to use in some canvas designs and to entertain my imagination as I fancied the stories that might be behind these little treasures.

Is there anything as thrilling as going to the mailbox and receiving a letter from a friend or loved one? Letters are an amazing gift. Little treasures to be read over and over again. They are written in such a short time, yet they live forever, as evidenced by this letter written eighty-two years ago. We can carry a message in our bag or place it next to where we enjoy a cup of tea. Wherever we stash these little beautiful keepsakes, they are a welcome sight that lives and brings us back to another time, or delights our fancy knowing what others are doing in their lives today.

The Gift of a Letter

All over the world these precious papers are stored in special boxes. Lovers sent letters in envelopes marked S.W.A.K. (sealed with a kiss) decorated with lipstick kisses during WWII. I am sure that this tradition continues today in letters to and from Iraq and Afghanistan and other parts of the world. Letters that children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will cherish for a lifetime because it records their family’s history during such a vulnerable time in their lives.

matted letter

Beautiful envelopes hosting intricate design and boasting postage with equally beautiful graphics have been sent for centuries. Letters holding memories that deserve to live forever:
Vignettes of life,
snippets of adventures,
invitations to dinners, parties,
and holiday gatherings,
announcements of births,
weddings and family

The letter

Pieces of memoirs held in place by embossed raised monograms and closed with sealing wax. Pens and inks of every color and design created little masterpieces for a friend or loved one to hold. Romantics placed letters underneath their pillow at night to feel the closeness of the distant lover. Letters were placed into Hope Chests for the betrothed, jewelry boxes and desk drawers, night stands and books. Boxes filled to the brim with letters were tied in ribbons and heart strings. At Christmas a letter was tucked inside the greeting cards to update the addressee of the sender’s adventures.

vintage stationary, stacks of old stamps, an antique pen and a Louisa May Alcott treasure

The letter, a cherished memoir to read from a vintage store, or old love letters sent to you long ago, or a dear note that your little one wrote to you. These are such sweet reminders of how important words and expressions of feelings are to all of us.

toile border
january 31 post 3

A small package of history and love to cherish. Sweet memories to hold in your hand or place in your pocket or perhaps underneath your pillow. Words that strung together stories of a person’s life...too important to discard. Works of art,..the art of lovely words and sentiments we all love to read.

The song for this post isTime After Time

The Letter
Alison Gibbs said...

I love reading old handwritten letters from my mother who passed away 16 years ago. It makes me feel so close to her and brings back such wonderful memories.

KarenHarveyCox said...

I know Alison, I love to read old notes and letters from my grandmother. I feel like she is right with me in the room as I reflect on the beautiful memories that we shared. So much beauty to cherish, angel inspired. Blessings, Karen

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I was just thinking today how I need to write a couple of friends. One who is no longer online (so I must keep up through snail mail and I rarely do).

The other a dear friend living in another state, once my best friend when we lived there for my husband's job.

I love the pictures. :)

the feathered nest said...

I loved these pictures! I too love reading old notes and letters. I was recently given some old cards and my daughter and I had a lovely time pouring over them and wondering about the people who wrote them.


Mary Isabella said...

I love to write letters. I always have.I also love to recieve them. It is so much fun to get them in the mail...Smiles

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. Love letters from soo long ago. Memories that mean the world to so many. Wonderful post!

Mrs.B said...

This post was so lovely and sweet. I love letters...I love to write them and I love to receive them. Sadly in this day of e-mail, letter writing has fallen to the wayside a bit (even in my own life). But I think most people enjoy receiving something they can actually hold in their hands.

E-mails are deleted and poof they're gone-the words forgotten quickly. But letters written on paper in someone's hand seems so personal and warm.

I do think it's a bit sad that someone's personal correspondence ended up in a shop for sale. At least they're now with someone who will treasure and appreciate them. (o:


Anonymous said...

lovely collection!

Natasha Burns said...

Wonderful post Karen. I used to write letters all the time, before emails. I used to sit in class (it was usually Maths or Geography!) and write letters to friends in other classes. We would spend lunch together then go home, talk on the phone for an hour then write more letters to each other. Don't know what on earth we could write but we wrote pages and pages. I am so glad I kept these letters - I went through them one day with one of the friends who wrote them and we laughed and laughed.

Hubby and I started our relationship with letters, him being a fair distance from me - I cherish those ones the most!

Kathleen Grace said...

Hi Karen,
Wonderful post! I have a beautiful decorated box filled with the cards and letters that my husband sent me during our college days. He wrote me every day! We also found an old suitcase full of WW2 letters between a husband in the army and his wife, hundreds of letters, that I sometimes read. The suitcase has v-mail, old greeting cards, and all kinds of interesting papers in it. I wish that I wrote more letters, but it is so much faster to pick up the phone or email that it seems very time consuming to sit down and write.

Mo'a said...

A wonderful post. Letters can be a work of art...beautiful handwriting...well constructed sentences...and sincere sentiments.
I sometimes feel like a voyeur...I have a feeling that these were not meant for my eyes. Then again I also feel that I am preserving a piece of the persons soul.
I love your photos they are art pieces in themselves.

Teresa @ PlumWater Cottage said...

What a beautiful post. The penmanship in those letters is just remarkable; it's such a shame they don't emphasize that in our schools today. Once people start keyboarding, they forget the lost art of the handwritten treasures.

Gabriela said...

Hello Karen,

My mother died when I was a little girl...dont' have much left from and white photos {which I love to look at over and over again!} and also her very own handwritten cooking recipes. They are treasures to me.

Warm regards,


Tara said...

The part I love best? The handwriting...people do not write like that anymore! Gorgeous!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Hi Karen, This was a gorgeous post and you have such a lovely way with words. Wish I did. I almost bought a book the other day that gave you suggestions on what to say or write when your mind is blank. I put the little hummingbird on my slide show but yes indeed Jacqui created my banner for me. That banner is my backyard. She went back through my entire blog to capture elements of me to create that banner. I just love it. ~ Lynn

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, this is such a gorgeous post! I have to tell you I love letters, writing them , receiving them, and I actually buy and collect old letters!! I have some gorgeous ones you would love in Fench as well. Shame today's email is taking that away. And My prized letter is a letter written my Dad to me when I was about four, he went away with work for a long time I recall and I treaure it :) Thank you for your lovely comments on our Blog Karen, we will miss you! We promise to pop by one of our fave ladies, and not lurk too much!! lol Blessings and hugs Karen, Jenn and Jacqui xo

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

What a wonderful post! Really beautiful photos. I love the idea of letter writing and am sad that it has fallen out of vogue. I've been bringing it back in my own life and starting to write personal letters again. I love the process of slowing down and putting the pen to paper. Yes, an email would be faster, but it is just not the same.
Thanks, so lovely! (PS I saw a header on another blog that is of your artwork! It is SO BEAUTIFUL! I really loved it!)

Happy day!

Grand Life said...

This posting is beautiful. I to am knee deep in old letters. 5 years ago my aunt loaned my Grandfathers WW I letters to me, between he and my grandmother before they were married. Also photo's and vintage postcards. She had them in two boxes and cried when I ask her if I could transcribe them. She was so afraid they would be thrown out when she dies. We made copies for all my 15 cousins. Shortly afterwards I started on my parents and grandparents correspondence during WWII. I've been working on it for 2 1/2 years. They wrote almost every day for 2 1/2 years. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it to be a Christmas gift for my Mother, brothers, and children. My Dad passed away 8 years ago.

windy angels said...

Wow! such treasures. I love this post. I love old letters.

Looks like such a wonderful place to visit.

dabrah said...

What a lovely blog you have, and how talented too. I so enjoyed reading your two latest posts. Her in the UK they take driving lessons at 17, and as a parent you're expected to give them almost daily practice between their lessons. I've done it three times, and I have the grey hairs to show for it.

Mary said...

Dear Karen,
This is such a lovely post! In a way, letter writing, and even penmanship, is fast becoming a lost art. Thank you for preserving a piece of it, and for sharing it with us!