Valentine Letters & Presidential Love Letters

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Great men have shared much common wisdom over the years when it comes to romance. From our forefathers to modern heroes, respected leaders have mastered the power of the written word when it involves persons near and dear to them. For example, Martin Luther King Jr., known for his liberating and powerful speeches, was also adept at romantic prose. On Valentine’s Day, in the summer of 1952, he wrote a love letter to Coretta Scott, who would become Coretta Scott King a year later. Martin and Coretta were married for fifteen years and had four children.

Remembering Valentine’s Day bears mentioning George Washington and his love letters to the first, First Lady of the United States, Martha Washington. Correspondence was a little more formal in June of 1775 when he explained to “Patsy,” her nickname, why he had to go away to war and would take care of her needs remotely until his return from battle. Here is an example of her response with a description of the muslin fabric she would use to make the special gown for his return. Martha Washington penned this suggestive reply.

“P.S. Since writing the above, I have received your Letter of the 15th and have got two suits [popular 18th-century term for any fabric used to make tailored garments] of what I was told was the prettiest muslin.” Truly, Martha wanted to look good for her husband, George, when he came back from battle. Muslin to muskets, the British didn’t stand a chance. It is good to be the President.

President Abraham Lincoln wrote a love letter to Mary Owens, his future wife, on August 16, 1837. In his reserved manner, he described, “I want in all cases to do right, and most particularly so, in all cases with women. I want, at this particular time, more than anything else, to do right with you, and if I knew it would be doing right, as I rather suspect it would, to let you alone. I would do it.” Although the response from Mary Todd was not available in the “Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln” reference, It seems like “Honest Abe” wanted to do right by Mary.

For your next Valentines Day Gift, try taking pen to paper and drafting up a “Love Letter” for your honey. It might be more well-received than a handful of those heart-shaped, chalk-tasting, multi-colored message candies. And don’t forget the flowers, they always work!

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