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Lovely Letters | Les Belles Lettres

6.28.2012
Wax Seal, Stationary

Wax Seal, Stationary

Vintage French postcards

Vintage French postcards

Vintage Madame de Sevigne book of letters

Vintage Madame de Sevigne book of letters


In light of recent emails I received—with neither a greeting nor a closing—I turned to some vintage postcards and the writings of 17th century France's Madame de Sévigné to reflect on handwritten messages and formal letters, with proper salutations and polite closings. Not that I want to return to an era without email and borderless communication—but to romanticize a bit. I guess I just find some electronic messages curt and disagreeable (please tell me if you feel the same way)...

At the end of the day, do you sometimes long for a handwritten note (wax sealed perhaps)—a page of elegant or messy and never uniform lines and curves that come together to form words of poetic prose...

6 comments

  1. Dear Catherine,

    As much as I enjoy the ease and convenience of email and social media, I do miss handwritten correspondences that seems to have been reduced to annual birthday and holiday cards. I find myself searching for hidden tone and meaning behind abrupt emails, Tweets, etc. I also miss the subtle revelations about a writer's personal style that are often revealed in her penmanship and choice of stationery.

    Yours truly (with sincere admiration of your lovely writing and beautiful photographs),

    Melinda

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    1. Dearest Melinda -

      Thank you for indulging me ;) I appreciate your kind and thoughtful comments very much,...

      There was even a recent article about how/why/when to use emoticons— if they add lightness to what could be perceived as a cold message or detract from the message altogether ... it was an interesting read; people tend to be on opposite ends of that subject. I too miss seeing the writer's penmanship and stationary choice. You said it beautifully—how they speak volumes. It's unlikely we'll go back to handwritten letters as the norm, but fortunately (hopefully) we'll always have the written word and admirers of des belles lettres...

      Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts Melinda (insert wax seal here).

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  2. LOL, I love Melinda's comment! These photos are so, so beautiful. I too long for bygone days of formal correspondence. Even greeting cards are being placed by efficient e-cards, sigh.

    (I enjoyed your comment re: yearning to have explored Princeton more. I also wish that of many places I've been!).

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    Replies
    1. Me too Londonlulu,... and I love your comments too, thank you so much! It's a consolation to believe we're all romantics after all.

      It's a loss that I never explored the lively and historic town of Princeton enough...but I'm so glad I can do that now through your blog! With sincere gratitude :) ...

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  3. I agree, Catherine. It is nice to receive handwritten letters or cards in the mail. I love your collection of vintage postcards and writings. The perfect muses to bring pen to paper. Hmm, might be a good idea to start a little penpal society, complete with wax seals:)

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    Replies
    1. Ahhh you have the best ideas Charmaine! A little penpal society would be so lovely...

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