Some Old Puritain Love Letters

From: American literature: a study of the men and the books that in the earlier and later times reflect the American spirit , William Joseph Long, (1913)

“As a supplement to the public records of the Colonists, we venture to present here a few old letters — dearer, and perhaps more significant, because they were never intended for publication. Here is life indeed, life that retains its sweetness and serenity in the midst of peril and hardship, as a flower retains its perfume though beaten by the wind and the rain. A fragrance as of lavender greets us as we open them, and their yellow pages seem to treasure the sunshine of long ago. Reading them, we forget the narrowness and stern isolation of the Puritans; we remember that ideals are eternal; that the hearts of men have not changed since the first settlers landed at Jamestown and Plymouth Rock; and that in their log cabins, as in our modern homes and workshops, love, faith and duty were the supreme incentives to noble living.

These letters, with many others, may be found in the Appendix to Winthrop’s History of New England (edition of 1853), in Robert C. Winthrop’s Life and Letters of John Winthrop (1864-1867), and in Some Old Puritan Love Letters (1894). In our selections we have abridged the missives and slightly modernized the spelling, keeping enough of the old forms, however, to preserve the flavor of the original.”

{Nov. 26, 1624)

My sweet Wife, — I blesse the Lorde for his continued blessings upon thee and our familye; and I thank thee for thy kinde lettres.But I knowe not what to saye for myself. I should mende and prove a better husband, havinge the helpe and example of so good a wife; but I growe still worse. I was wonte heretofore, when I was longe absent, to make some supplye with volumes of lettres; but now I can scarce afforde thee a few lines. Well, there is no helpe but by enlarging thy patience, and strengtheninge thy good opinion of him who loves thee as his owne soul and should count it his greatest affliction to live without thee. . . . The Lorde blesse and keepe thee, and all ours, and sende us a joyful meetinge. So I kisse my sweet wife and rest

Thy faithful husband

Jo. Winthrop


My most sweet Husband, — How dearely welcome thy kinde letter was to me I am not able to expresse. The sweetnesse of it did much refresh me. What can be more pleasinge to a wife than to heare of the welfayre of her best beloved, and how he is pleased with her poore endeavors. I blush to hear my selfe commended, knowinge my owne wants; but it is your love that conceives the best and makes all thinges seem better than they are. I wish that I may be allwayes pleasinge to thee, and that those comforts we have in each other may be dayly increased, as far as they be pleasing to God. I confess I cannot doe ynough for thee, but thou art pleased to accept the will for the deede, and rest contented.

I have many reasons to make me love thee, whereof I will name two: first because thou lovest God, and secondly because that thou lovest me. If these two were wantinge, all the rest would be eclipsed. But I must leave this discourse and goe about my household affayers. I am a bad huswife to be so long from them; but I must needs borrowe a little time to talke with thee, my sweet heart. It will be but two or three weekes before I see thee, though they be longe ones. God will bring us together in his good time, for which time I shall pray. Farewell my good Husband; the Lord keep thee.

Your obedient wife

Margaret Winthrope


Published in: on January 13, 2011 at 12:27 am  Leave a Comment  

My Collection of Antique Books

I just thought I’d share with you some of the neat little antique books I have in my collection, how I came by them, any particular comments I might have concerning them, with names and inscriptions or writing found inside.

The New Select Speaker  by Josephine W. Stratton, Jeannette  M. Stratton (1902) –  “Containing directions for expresing written thought in a correct and pleasing manner together with rules and exercises for physical culture and elocution.”  This book is filled with illustrations and photographs featuring poses for the orator.  It is a treasure trove of materials that were useful for recitation, including decorum for such occasion, and included instruction on proper writing.   It would behove individuals of days gone by to become and  eloquent speaker and steward of the writtnen word.  As a writer and speaker I found this fascinating compilation  enlightening and quite enjoyable.
Original owner, Lilla A. Marr, N. Bridgeton, ME
I purchased this from a used book store in Waterville, ME.

Bright Ideas for Entertaining by Mrs. Herbert B. Linscott (1905) ~ “Two hundred forms of amusement or entertainment for social gatherings of all kinds:  larger or small parties, clubs, sociables, church entertainments, etc. with special suggestions for birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Hallowe’en, All Fools’ Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and other holidays.”
Back in the days before television, movies, the internet, and our compulsive busyness set in folks gathered together for social occasions.  Perhaps the original owner purchased this little book for such times as these.  It would be important for a good hostess to provide entertainment in the form of planned activities for her guests.  The compact book is a compilation of about 175 activites including games, themes, recitations, and party ideas.   I found this book entertaining in itself just reading it.  It will also become a good resource for my novels when characters are in need of leisure occupation.

Original owner:  Laura B. Elliott
I purchased this from a used book store in Waterville, ME.

The One Hoss Shay by Oliver Wendell Holmes with its Companion Poems How the Old Horse Won the Bet and The Broomstick Train (1898) ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay about a buggy which belonged to a deacon. It is said that the buggy
was crafted so well that in needed no repairs for over 100 years. The problem with the buggy was that it wore out completely, all at once and fell apart while the deacon was on a journey. Holmes satirizes the deacon’s position, pointing out that taking “logic” to the extreme can make a situation worse instead of better.

Read Online

I purchased this from a thrift store in Waterville, ME.  The old book, is like new.

Don’t: A Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties more or less prevalent in Conduct and Speech by Oliver Bell Bunce (1884) ~ A victorian handbook of etiquette, very entertaining.

I ordered this on ebay from an antique dealer in Belfast, ME.

See my blog post on this book with excerpts

Dreams by Olive Shreiner ~ A little book of the author’s dreams.

Inscription of original owner:  “A book I have loved.”

Read online

This is from a little used bookstore in Waterville, ME.

A Thousand and One Gems of English Poetry: Forming a complete Dictionary of the Most Admired Passages of the Brittish Poets (1869) ~ This could be a later publication, though prior to 1882. I found this at the same little used bookstore in Waterville, ME.

Book’s original owner and inscription: Addie C. Ames, Jefferson, December 25, 1882

Read online

Sweden and the Swedes by W. W. Thomas, Jr. (1892) ~ Written by William Widgery Thomas, Jr. – Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Sweden and Norway. This book belonged to my grandparents who emmigrated from Sweden. It is one of my most treasured books, an exceptional volume providing all information on the history and culture of Sweden including the country’s affiliation with Norway.

Gipsy Smith, An Autobiography (1909) ~ His Life and Work. Rodney (Gypsy) Smith, 1860-1947, was born in a tent, raised on a Gypsy camp, never attended a school – not even for a day! – yet he influenced the lives of millions of people for God through his powerful preaching. He was converted in 1876 and, the next year, was invited by General William Booth to join him in evangelistic work. He served as an officer with the Salvation Army until 1882. He then began ministering as an itinerent evangelist working with a variety of organisations all over the world, but particularly in Britain and America.

I picked this book up while doing novel research on Gypsy’s.  This man has a fascinating life.

Ellen’s Idol by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward (1864) ~ a Sunday School story, children’s morality book. The first in a series, we meet Ellen, Tiny, and their brother Fred, following six-year old Ellen’s struggle to overcome selfishness.

Book’s original owner and inscriptions: Grace Townsend, Barnard, Vermont, Windsor County. “This book is what Mrs. Walker gave me when I was nine years old.”

I found this at a yardsale on Dedham St., Wrentham, MA.

Sequel Online – Tiny

Mrs. Marshall’s Key, and What it Unlocked by “the author of the New Commandment” (1870) ~ A religious morality book about Johnny Whadley who is adopted by Captain and Mrs. Marshall. I found at same yardsale in Wrentham, MA.

Book’s original owner and inscriptions: May Martin. “Though many miles apart we be please see these lines and think of me.”, “My pen is poor, My ink is pale, But my love for you, Will never fail. My pen is poor, My ink is pale, But my love for you, Will never fail.”

Live and Learn of The Woodbine Series by Mrs. Madeline Leslie (1871) ~  Inside quote: “Perseverance is the surest road to success.”

Prefatory Note inside cover: “The facts narrated in this volue, were communicated to the author by the subject of the story,a nd contain many valuable lessons to the young of our age and country.

Certainly the struggle with the spirit of reenge: the sweet peace that rewards forgiveness; the joy of victory over temptation, the unsatisfactory nature of sinful indulgence, and the blessedness of virtue and piety should warn youth against the broad road to death, and allure them into the path of life and peace.” – the author.

This is from a little used bookstore in Waterville, ME.

Pigs is Pigs by Ellis Parker Butler (1906) ~ An adorable little children’s book I found at that yardsale in Wrentham, MA. My children got a real kick out of this one!

Frontispiece “Pets thim animals may be, but pigs, I’m blame sure they do be.”

The Bunny Twins by Harrison Cady

The Gingerbread Boy told by Eunice Tietjens

The D. L. Moody Year Book, A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody, Selected by Emma Moody Fitt (1900) ~ Written by his grandaughter.

Inside cover Mr. Moody’s Favorite Texts:

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

The Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded, therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know I shall not be ashamed. Isaiah 50:7

Love – The Supreme Gift; The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond (1887)

Read online

The Three-Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit by James H. McConkey (1897) & (1899)

Read online

The Mansion by Henry van Dyke (1911) ~ The book had belonged to my great aunt.

Read online

St. George and the Dragon, Bedtime Wonder Tales by Clifton Johnson (1919) ~

Book’s original owner: Judy M. Packard

The Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz (1941)


American Catalog of Books – published in the United States 1861 – 1866.

American Catalog of Books – published in the United States 1866 – 1871.

19th century girls series Sunday School stories

Google Book Search

Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 5:48 am  Comments (6)  

My Collection of Antique Books


I just thought I’d share with you some of the neat little antique books I have in my collection, how I came by them, any particular comments I might have concerning them, with names and inscriptions or writing found inside.

Please view this post on My Media Meanderings blog.

Published in: on February 20, 2007 at 1:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Don’t: Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties More or Less Prevalent in Conduct and Speech


I have recently acquired an original copy of a little book of manners written in 1884. The 4 1/2 x 6 inch handbook is packed full of etiquette for those seeking to improve their manners in the late 19th century. The book is entitled, “Don’t: A Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties More or Less Prevalent in Conduct and Speech”. The author’s psuedomymn is Censor, though a later publication tells his true name as Oliver Bell Bunce. ” The inside cover reads:

“I’ll view the manners of the town.”

Comedy of Errors

@ D. Appleton & Company, New York, 1884


Now in the public domain, I will be recording a few excerpts from this little book here for your entertainment and reading pleasure.

You and I both will be thankful that we no longer must confirm to these rules of ettiquette, although today’s society could stand to conform to a few “dont’s” such as which follows: Don’t let your g-string show above your jeans, don’t let small children watch TV commercials (for many reasons), don’t forget to take your hat off at appropriate times, don’t forget to ask a blessing on your meals, don’t forget to have manners while driving, and girls, why do you have to be the aggressor in a relationship – don’t! you are worth being wooed.

And now, to the don’ts of the 19th century. Please feel free to post your comments.

Here are a few vignettes from the book:

At the Table

In Dress and Personal Habits

The book is now available online at Google Books for your perusal where you can view the book in its entirety.

In the Drawing-Room –In Public –

In Speech –

In General –

Affectionately addressed to Womankind –

Published in: on February 7, 2007 at 6:45 am  Comments (6)