As a culture, we’re taught that actions speak louder than words, especially in the romance department, where suitors only seem to succeed with grand gestures or at least stirring speeches.
Forget about writing a love letter, right? To Hollywood, this method of sharing one’s sentiment on paper isn’t just old school, it’s downright old!
But maybe there’s something to this: there’s something sweet yet simple about written messages professing affection: something that a wink emoji or a LOL can’t duplicate.
He or she can save letters for years or show them off to peers. If things go well, they can be handed down as examples of how to woo properly, and if they go wrong, they can make a lovely fire.
To prove this claim and maybe inspire you to create your own, here are some memorable famous letters from the past:
1. “Immortal Beloved,” from Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven’s correspondence showed that around 1812, when he was in his 40s, he shared something special with a mysterious woman who there’s little historical evidence of. These unsent letters seemed more than simple messages between friends; they shared something special and romantic including his nickname for her. Biographers believe she might have been a diplomat’s daughter, Antoine Brentano, who he dedicated his piece “Diabelli Variations Opus 120” to. Although he acknowledged they could never be together, he promised to remain faithful in his heart to his angel.
2. Anne Boleyn, from King Henry VIII
Most of us have learned about this couple mainly in terms of his failings as a king and her death on charges of adultery. But prior to their relationship ending badly and permanently, England’s king tried very much to woo Ann Boleyn for several years. True, he was already married to his first wife but thought there was a special connection with Anne. He made many promises in these famous letters if she would consider being at least a mistress and a friend. Of course, he was already married but his verbose letters showed he always yearned for more.
3. Diego Rivera, from Frida Kahlo.
The noted artist Frida Kahlo was full of passion, as her paintings and personal life suggest. Diego Rivera was an important part of her life for 27 years. They were married twice and divorced once. He also was an artist. It wasn’t always the most stable relationship but early on she wrote him many letters expressing her view of love and why specifically she loved him. Like her art, these were quite descriptive, including talking about the power of his hands or the green-gold of his eyes. But she also used vivid imagery to describe her physical, mental and spiritual connection with him.
4. Marlene Dietrich, from Ernest Hemingway
One of the most noted American authors corresponded with the German-American actress for about a 10-year period until 1959. Though her daughter maintained they were nothing beyond close friends, the tone of these letters suggested a certain intimacy and familiarity. Interestingly, many of Hemingway’s characters were quite masculine in their personalities and actions, but in these famous letters, Hemingway suggested that he had a little-seen softer side, at least where his interpersonal relationships were concerned.
5. Nancy Reagan, from Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan, who served as U.S. president and previously governor of California, is remembered for many of his political accomplishments. His wife Nancy also joined him in haring was in the public spotlight. But they also had a special relationship that he alluded to in his letters. Even after they were married, he still liked to share messages of warmth and love.