Sunday, February 15, 2009

Presidential Love Letters

For Valentine's Day, I thought it would be clever to write my wife a love letter/poem using the words from some of our greatest couples. So I did some research to see what I could come up with. I was pleased to find a variety of resources online that had primary sources and transcripts of letters written from soldiers, presidents and first ladies.

John and Abigail Adams
The first letters I attempted to find were those from John and Abigail Adams. As was the custom in those times, both John and Abigail chose pen names. John was Lysander, a Spartan war hero. Abigail at first was Diana, the Goddess of the moon, but later used the name Portia, the wife of Brutus a great Roman politician. Below is a letter from Abigail to her "Dearest Friend" John, from December 23, 1782.

…should I draw you the picture of my Heart, it would be what I hope you
still would Love; tho it contained nothing new; the early possession you
obtained there; and the absolute power you have ever maintained over it; leaves
not the smallest space unoccupied.

See more letters and more information about John and Abigail below:
My Dearest Friend, Letters of Abigail and John Adams

Abraham Lincoln

Next I found Lincoln. Lincoln is a curious case because unlike Adams, he didn't marry his true love. He missed that opportunity and settled for Mary Todd. His true love was Mary Owens. Here's an excerpt from a letter written to the woman he really wanted to marry, from August 16, 1837. But Lincoln has a strange way of expressing his feelings in this one.

Nothing would make me more miserable than to believe you miserable – nothing
more happy, than to know you were so... ...If it suits you best to not
answer this farewell – a long life and a merry one attend you.
Harry Truman
And though these are not transcribed and tough to read, here are some letters from Harry Truman courting his love.

Other Presidents
And finally... a Who Said it? Presidential quiz featuring love letters from some our nation's great leaders.
And on a final note concerning The Kennedy's. It is reported that Jackie had burned her letters from celebrity suitors so that her secret affairs would remain a secret.

I'm sure there are plenty more out there, so if this has peaked your interest. Off you go... find more. And please share them here... Happy Valentine's!

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1 comment:

Pam Walter said...

Neat post; a side of the presidents we rarely see.

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