Monday, February 13, 2012

Love in the Archives #loveheritage

In honor of Valentine's Day, archivists and librarians on Twitter are using #loveheritage to showcase romantic materials from their collections. Many are writing blog posts about collection finds related to love. It's a great collaborative endeavor with a few fun things already posted and presumably much more to be posted tomorrow.

Today, the North Carolina State Archives warmed us up with their fabulous post "Love in the Archives" .

Last year I shared a couple of themed cards from antique shops to celebrate the day:

This year, I want to share a book with you that was given to me by my thoughtful friend and fabulous dance teacher, Amanda. The book Love Letters Lost by Babette Hines includes what archivists would call an "artificial collection" of individual orphan letters including "Hine's treasure trove of love letters and vintage photographs devotedly at collected at flea markets and auctions..." Each letter gives us a glimpse into the life and loving relationship highlighted by its writer. The letters leave room for the romantic to imagine the full lost story of devotion (and sometimes heartache) between lovers, friends, and family.

The book consists of original copies as well as typescripts of some letters. Despite being puzzled by how they decided which letters needed typed versions and which did not, I am thoroughly enchanted with this volume and the idea behind it. The language in these letters pulls my heartstrings and makes me warm up to what I might sometimes see as overly gushy sentiment. Here is a sample:

                                                       August 26th 1890
Dear Miss Ada,

You will think strange of me for writing these few lines, but I get to see you alone so seldom, I cannot resist.
And besides I cannot half express my love for you in words.
Had I the eloquence of Cicero, or the pen of burns, it would be impossible for me to tell you half the love I have for you.
I love you better than any living creature, and no one knows, save the One above, how happy I would be if you could return my love.
When you seem to treat me cool, my life is a misery to me; and when you are the reverse, my happiness knows no bounds. 
Oh please don't turn from me coldly.
Will you not give me some encouragement? Can I not yet have some hopes?

I am yours most devotedly,
J.L. Slagle

Poor lovesick fellow!

I am looking forward to following #loveheritage to see what my fellow archivists share from their archives. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


  1. J.L. Slagle certainly prompts me to express to my true love how much he really means to me and to my life. While I feel I can only express portions of my love at times, it warms me to know my true love has given me all of that and more in return. Ahhhh, sweet love... And if some of us need Valetine's Day to be reminded to take extra attention to shower love on your love, then I love this holiday all the more.