The Greatest Love Letters From History

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In early March, author Amy Krouse Rosenthal brought the world to tears with the last thing she would ever write – a moving love letter to her husband. In it, she mourns her impending death and expresses her regret for robbing herself and her husband Jason of the rest of the lives they had promised each other.

But in its sadness, the unconventional letter is also a glowing job reference for Jason. The position? Someone else’s future husband.

“He is an easy man to fall in love with,” she writes. “I did it in one day.”

And so, Amy recounts how they met, how easy it was to fall and stay in love with her husband. She talks about him lovingly, in the way a person can only after years of love. No detail about Jason – from his clothes to his art and his quirks – is too small or mundane for her attention. She remembers it all – and loves it all. Captured in her letter, a portrait of a person deeply beloved takes shape.

She closes the letter with the earnest hope that “the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.”

When The New York Times published her letter on a quiet Saturday morning, the strangest thing happened. Throughout the day, it appeared all over my Facebook feed, shared mainly by stoic, reserved men who rarely, if ever, shared anything to do with matters of the heart. Something about Amy’s letter must have resounded with these men. Perhaps it was the selflessness of her wish for her husband to find happiness and a future after her, or perhaps it was a yearning to be wholly and completely loved as he was.

Amy succumbed to her cancer ten days later, on March 13th. In honour of Amy’s love, here are more wonderful love letters from history that capture love, in all its forms.

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