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Aspects of Love

Associated Press

Excerpts from presidential love letters on exhibit, along with other first-couple artifacts, at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda:

While assistant secretary of the Navy from 1913 to 1920, Franklin Delano Roosevelt also wrote for various publications. On Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday in 1915, he sent his literary earnings and this admonishment:

“This little birthday gift is the first earnest of Hubby’s efforts as an author--and he hopes you will use at least a little part for something really and truly your own, and not all for household linens or baby’s didies.”

On July 17, 1917, Roosevelt wrote during wartime, obsessed with their home and her safety:

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“It seems years since you left and I miss you horribly and hate the thought of the empty house. . . . Write me all about the Half Moon [the family sailboat] and the house and the place. The chief thing I worry about is fire, and you must see that the extinguishers are filled . . . and that no large fire is left when you go to bed.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower, as commander of Allied forces during World War II, wrote to his wife, Mamie, on their 27th anniversary, with instructions that the letter be sent only if he was killed:

“Darling Girl:

“I hope you never have to read this note--because it’s kept in an envelope that is to be opened only in case of accident to me. But if such should happen you will receive, this way, at least one more assurance that I love you only--that I have been the most fortunate of men in having you for my wife, and that I’m proud of our son. I love him so much that I follow every word he writes to me with curious intensity. He is what he is, only because he had you for a mother. So do not grieve--if I go out in this war. I hope I will have left a name of which you need not be ashamed, and that it will be universally acknowledged that I did my duty to the best of my ability.

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“Spend no time mourning--you can still make a number of people happy in this world--and that’s the surest road to your own happiness. With all my love always--Your lover, for all these years.”


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