Below is a transcription of the letter in the photographs published here from artist Elmer MacRae to Constant Holley, dated February 14, 1898. MacRae was an artist, and boarder at the Holley House, which Constant helped run with her parents. Elmer and Constant fell in love, married in 1900, had twin girls in 1904, and ran the boarding house together.
Our curator Karen Frederick described the letters as such in a recent article in The New York Times: “Their letters are so lovey-dovey I can only stand reading them for a little while.” 🙂
Holley-MacRae Family Papers Box 6/96
Monday before dinner
[New York, February 14, 1898]
My darling Constant—
Monday and Tuesday have come and gone!—Saturday will soon come, my precious, then will we see each other again, and have each other for some time; until Saturday darling we must try to be patient and make the best of our time, so that by doing this each week, it will shorten the time when we can see each other and have each other for good and all time!
Sweet girl, you pass the time doing good to everybody when the opportunity offers, by making something pretty or whatever you might choose to improve your timing (Ed. ?), anything shall; keep occupied darling, and in this way the days, between our being together, won’t seem so long. There is hardly much use of me telling you this, sweetheart, I know you are always busy, always useful, always putting your time to some good account, but in this way I find the time isn’t quite so hard to bear.
In doing this both together, we are building the foundation stones of our union upon something solid. By that time we will be able, if necessity calls, to stand separation or any trial that might possibly come to us.
It will make us better men and better women.
Our beautiful and all powerful love, my darling, will carry us through everything and crown us with success and happiness to the end.
You sweet, loving girl, I worship and adore you—you’re my own true love!
Elmer sends his love to enrich her and stay by her all the time during his absence, and loves her constant companion wherever she goes or where she is.
Let me kiss you darling and put my arms around you—
[6 circles of kisses]