The Quote Garden
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Quotations about Letters

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To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.  ~Phyllis Theroux

It seems a long time since the morning mail could be called correspondence.  ~Jacques Barzun, God's Country and Mine, 1954

I am tired, Beloved,
of chafing my heart against
the want of you;
of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
~Amy Lowell, "The Letter"

Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.  ~Lord Byron

Such a sweet gift — a piece of handmade writing, in an envelope that is not a bill, sitting in our friend's path when she trudges home from a long day spent among wahoos and savages, a day our words will help repair. They don't need to be immortal, just sincere. She can read them twice and again tomorrow. ~Garrison Keillor, "How to write a personal letter," 1987, from Power of the Printed Word advertising campaign by Billings S. Fuess, Jr. at Ogilvy & Mather for International Paper Company

The inside of a mailbox should always be kept clean in case you get a love letter… ~Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts, 2000  [Charlie Brown to Sally —tg]

      Some, when they write to their friends, are all affection, some are wise and sententious; some strain their powers for efforts of gayety, some write news, and some write secrets; but to make a letter without affection, without wisdom, without gayety, without news, and without a secret, is, doubtless, the great epistolic art.
      In a man's letters, you know, Madam, his soul lies naked. His letters are only the mirror of his breast, — whatever passes within him is there shown undisguised in its natural progress; nothing is inverted, nothing distorted; you see systems in their elements, you discover actions in their motives.
      ...This is the pleasure of corresponding with a friend, where doubt and distrust have no place, and everything is said as it is thought.... I have indeed concealed nothing from you, nor do I ever expect to repent of having thus opened my heart. ~Samuel Johnson, letter to Mrs. Thrale, 1777 October 27th

Oh, I can't bother to write. If it's too long to telegraph I just let it go. ~Anonymous, c. 1904

A written note, a letter, a simple line of sympathy or writing loving phrases is like a warm, human hand-clasp to some one lonely or in the midst of an attack of the blues. A letter means many pleasant things and can keep the far-distant together. ~"On Writing Notes," The Crescent of Gamma Phi Beta, 1904  [a little altered —tg]

Dear Rose — this letter is a handclasp. ~Dorothy Thompson, letter to Rose Wilder Lane, 1928, edited by William V. Holtz

It takes two to write a letter as much as it takes two to make a quarrel.  ~Elizabeth Drew

And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

The best time to frame an answer to the letters of a friend, is the moment you receive them.  Then the warmth of friendship, and the intelligence received, most forcibly cooperate.  ~William Shenstone

What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters.  You can't reread a phone call.  ~Liz Carpenter

Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, thus friends absent speak.  ~John Donne

Or don't you like to write letters.  I do because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something.  ~Ernest Hemingway

A strange volume of real life in the daily packet of the postman.  Eternal love and instant payment!  ~Douglas Jerrold, The Postman's Budget

The one good thing about not seeing you is that I can write you letters.  ~Svetlana Alliluyeva

We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverable for ourselves and for others.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Correspondences are like small clothes before the invention of suspenders; it is impossible to keep them up.  ~Sydney Smith

I have received no more than one or two letters in my life that were worth the postage.  ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.  ~Emily Dickinson

I dipped my pen in gall and it composed a foolish, bitter letter, for which I beg a thousand pardons. ~Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné, 1670

Never write a letter while you are angry. ~Chinese proverb

Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them. ~James Fallows

When a man sends you an impudent letter, sit right down and give it back to him with interest ten times compounded, and then throw both letters in the wastebasket. ~Elbert Hubbard

I consider it a good rule for letter-writing to leave unmentioned what the recipient already knows, and instead tell him something new.  ~Sigmund Freud

Your letters, dear Rose, I can always remember — even those you wrote very long ago, but I never can remember my own. ~Dorothy Thompson, letter to Rose Wilder Lane, 1928, edited by William V. Holtz

The letters marked "personal and confidential" are the ones the private secretary opens first. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Excuse this letter's being like a hotch-potch. It's incoherent, but I can't help it. Sitting in an hotel room one can't write better. Excuse its being long, It's not my fault. My pen ran away with me—besides, I wanted to go on talking to you. It's three o'clock in the night. My hand is tired. The wick of the candle wants snuffing, I can hardly see. ~Anton Chekhov (1860–1904), letter, 1890 May 16th, translated by Constance Garnett, 1920

The age of technology has both revived the use of writing and provided ever more reasons for its spiritual solace.  Emails are letters, after all, more lasting than phone calls, even if many of them r 2 cursory 4 u.  ~Anna Quindlen

A woman seldom writes her Mind, but in her Postscript.  ~Richard Steele, Spectator

When a man sends you an impudent letter, sit right down and give it back to him with interest ten times compounded, and then throw both letters in the wastebasket.  ~Elbert Hubbard

Anything you are ashamed to have the postmaster or postmistress read, and therefore seal up, is known as first-class matter. Also, postal cards, where you're only allowed to argue on one side. If you think your letter should travel slowly, invest ten cents in a Special Delivery Stamp. This will insure a nice, leisurely journey, lasting from one to two days longer than by the cheap two-cent route. ~Charles Wayland Towne, "Postage and Postal Information: How to Mail a Letter, First-class Matter," The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

The talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female.  ~Henry Tilney

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When he wrote a letter, he would put that which was most material in the postscript, as if it had been a by-matter.  ~Francis Bacon, "Of Cunning," Essays

It consisted of a half-sheet of letter-paper, folded in the fashion of those days when as yet the envelope was undiscovered... ~J.C. Atkinson, "Witch Stories and Witch Antidotes," Forty Years in a Moorland Parish: Reminiscences and Researches in Danby in Cleveland, 1891

Letters are above all useful as a means of expressing the ideal self; and no other method of communication is quite so good for this purpose.  In letters we can reform without practice, beg without humiliation, snip and shape embarrassing experiences to the measure of our own desires... ~Elizabeth Hardwick

This is a dreadful letter. My eagerness to talk with you runs away with my typewriter. Forgive me. ~Dorothy Thompson, letter to Rose Wilder Lane, 1921, edited by William V. Holtz

Without 'tis autumn, the wind beats on the pane
With heavy drops, the leaves high upwards sweep.
You take old letters from a crumpled heap,
And in one hour have lived your life again.
~Mihai Eminescu (1850–1889), translated from Romanian by Corneliu M. Popescu

Then there's the joy of getting your desk clean, and knowing that all your letters are answered, and you can see the wood on it again. ~Lady Bird Johnson, quoted in Ruth Shick Montgomery, Mrs. L.B.J., 1964

[Y]our letter—your dear, warm, true-hearted letter — was put in my hand. I kissed it how many times before breaking its envelope! ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

In old age we are like a batch of letters that someone has sent.  We are no longer in the passing, we have arrived.  ~Knut Hamsun

My dear Sir,—Before you read any more, I wish you would take those tablets out of your drawer, in which you have put a black mark against my name, and erase it neatly.... I have again and again and again said, "I'll write to‑morrow," and here I am to‑day full of penitence—really sorry and ashamed, and with no excuse but my writing-life, which makes me get up and go out, when my morning work is done, and look at pen and ink no more until I begin again.... This is a poor return (I look down and see the end of the paper) for your letter, but in its cordial spirit of reciprocal friendship, it is not so bad a one if you could read it as I do, and it eases my mind and discharges my conscience.... If you can spare me a scrap of your handwriting in token of forgiveness, do; if not, I'll come and beg your pardon [later]. ~Charles Dickens, letter to Edward Tagart, 1847 January 28th

A woman's best love letters are always written to the man she is betraying.  ~Lawrence Durrell

All a good letter has to do is make you feel special. ~Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo video game) written by Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata

Friends will write me letters.  They run out of room on the front of the letter.  They write "over" on the bottom of the letter.  Like I'm that much of a moron.  Like I need that there.  Because if it wasn't there, I'd get to the bottom of the page:  "And so Kathy and I went shopping and we..."  That's the craziest thing!  I don't know why she would just end it that way.  ~Ellen DeGeneres

I am sorry.. Can only say time accelerated and skidded.... When my correspondents reproach me for tardiness, I can only say that I give as much attention to a letter as I do to anything I write, and I work at least six and sometimes sixteen hours a day. ~William S. Burroughs, letter to Mother and Dad, 1959

One of the pleasures of reading old letters is the knowledge that they need no answer.  ~Lord Byron

There must be millions of people all over the world who never get any love letters... I could be their leader.  ~Charlie Brown

Poetry books and love letters
Sparkling, sweet, beloved
Everyday magic hidden in thought
~Terri Guillemets, "Love & poesy," 2018, blackout poetry created from Danielle Steel, Fairy Tale, 2017, pages 238–239

In a man's letters you know, Madam, his soul lies naked, his letters are only the mirror of his breast, whatever passes within him is shown undisguised in its natural process.  Nothing is inverted, nothing distorted, you see systems in their elements, you discover actions in their motives.  ~Samuel Johnson

The post office has a great charm at one point of our lives.  When you have lived to my age, you will begin to think letters are never worth going through the rain for.  ~Jane Austen

My songs are just little letters to me.  ~Ani Difranco

Chain letters are the postal equivalent of intestinal flu:  you get it and pass it along to your friends.  ~Bob Garfield

If you are in doubt whether to write a letter or not, don't.  And the advice applies to many doubts in life besides that of letter writing.  ~Edward Bulwer Lytton

A letter is an unannounced visit, the postman the agent of rude surprises.  One ought to reserve an hour a week for receiving letters and afterwards take a bath.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Never write a letter if you can help it, and never destroy one!  ~John A. MacDonald

[M]y eyes moistened yesterday with your dear, dear letter in my hand. Was it foolish to kiss the senseless paper, to clasp it with the involuntary laugh of uncontrollable emotion? Don't you think one could go mad of pure longing?... ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

Love letter: an inky heartprint. ~Terri Guillemets

I wonder if Eve could write letters in Paradise!  But, poor Eve, she had no one to write to - no one to whom to tell what Eden was, no beloved child to whom her love traveled through any or all space.  Poor Eve!  ~Catharine M. Sedgwick

I hold that the parentheses are by far the most important parts of a non-business letter.  ~D.H. Lawrence

I sometimes think one of the great blessings we shall enjoy in heaven, will be to receive letters by every post and never be obliged to reply to them.  ~Washington Irving

A Letter is a Joy of Earth –
It is denied the Gods
~Emily Dickinson, 1885

But it was your letter within, dear heart, my first love letter, and sweeter to me than the subtlest love-lyric Sappho ever penned in Aeolic gold. ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

His sayings are generally like women's letters; all the pith is in the postscript.  ~William Hazlitt

O ay, letters - I had letters - I am persecuted with letters - I hate letters - nobody knows how to write letters; and yet one has 'em, one does not know why - they serve one to pin up one's hair.  ~William Congreve, The Way of the World, spoken by the character Mrs Millamant

Mr Witwould:  "Pray, madam, do you pin up your hair with all your letters?  I find I must keep copies."
Mrs Millamant:  "Only with those in verse.... I never pin up my hair with prose."
~William Congreve, The Way of the World

In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass, I find letters from God dropped in the street, and every one is signed by God's name.  And I leave them where they are, for I know that wherever I go, others will punctually come for ever and ever.  ~Walt Whitman

Politeness is as much concerned in answering letters within a reasonable time, as it is in returning a bow, immediately.  ~Lord Chesterfield

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.  ~Walt Whitman

In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people's lives.  ~Anatole Broyard

To acknowledge the receipt of letters is always proper, to remove doubts of their miscarriage.  ~George Washington

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Last saved 2021 Jan 15 Fri 21:04 PST

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