Great Loves: Nellie and Coach Wooden

14/02/2012 § 3 Comments

After she passed away in 1985, Coach Wooden wrote his wife Nellie — his first, last and true love — a love letter every month.

Interviewer: How do you make love last in a marriage?
Coach: There’s only one way.  Truly truly truly love.  Most powerful thing there is.  It’s true, it’s true.  It must be true.

For more of my Great Loves posts, head here.

Great Loves: Clementine and Winston

12/02/2012 § 1 Comment

In the month of February,
my mind always turns to great love stories…

Engagement photo of Winston Churchill and Clementine Hozier, 1908.

[12 August 1908]

Blenheim Palace

My dearest,

How are you? I send you my best love to salute you: & I am getting up at once in order if you like to walk to the rose garden after breakfast & pick a bunch before you start. You will have to leave here about 10:30 & I will come with you to Oxford.

Shall I not give you a letter for your Mother?



{Winston’s letter to Clementine the morning after she accepted his proposal.  He inquires if he should write a letter of engagement to present to her mother.}

(The morning after my engagement August 1908)

Blenheim Palace

My dearest

I am very well – Yes please give me a letter to take to Mother– I should love to go to the rose garden.

Yours always

During their 56 year marriage, Clementine and Winston wrote frequently to each other when they were apart — and even when they were home together — usually calling each other by pet names and including drawings.
He was her “pug,” she was his “cat”

15 September 1909 Kronprinz Hotel


My darling, We have been out all day watching these great manoeuvres. . . .

I have a very nice horse from the Emperor’s stable, & am able to ride about wherever I chose with a suitable retinue. As I am supposed to be an ‘Excellency’ I get a vy good place. Freddie on the other hand is ill-used. These people are so amazingly routinière that anything the least out of the ordinary – anything they have not considered officially & for months–upsets them dreadfully….I saw the Emperor today & had a few mintues’ talk with him. He is vy sallow–but otherwise looks quite well. . . . .

We have had a banquet tonight at the Bavarian palace. A crowd of princes & princelets & the foreign officers of various countries. It began at 6 p.m. & was extremely dull. . . .

This army is a terrible engine. It marches sometimes 35 miles in a day. It is in number as the sands of the sea–& with all the modern conveniences. There is a complete divorce between the two sides of German life–the Imperialists & Socialist. Nothing unites them. They are two different nations. With us there are so many shades. Here it is all black & white (the Prussian colours). I think another 50 years will see a wiser & gentler world. But we shall not be spectators of it. Only the P.K. will glitter in a happier scene. How easily men could make things much better than they are–if only all tried together! Much as was attracts me & fascinates my mind with its tremendous situation–I feel more deeply every year–& can measure the feeling here in the midst of arms–what vile & wicked folly & barbarism it all is.

Sweet cat–I kiss your vision as it rises before my mind. Your dear heart throbs often in my own. God bless you darling keep you safe & sound.

Kiss the P.K. for me all over

With fondest love



This is the galloping pug–for European travel.

{P.K. meant “puppy kitten” — their first child}

Your loving Puss Cat.

This is the cat…not so good as your dog, but her eyes are flashing so that she is obliged to turn her back.


Images via Life Archives, Library of Congress.  Letters via Daily Mail, Library of Congress.

More great love stories:

Kate and Spencer
Joanne and Paul
Elizabeth and Richard
Marilyn and Joe
Bacall and Bogart

Great Loves: Kate and Spencer

02/02/2012 § Leave a comment

In the month of February,
my mind always turns to great love stories…

“It was a unique feeling that I had for [Tracy].
I would have done anything for him.”

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn first appeared onscreen together in Woman of the Year (1942).  Soon thereafter they began a relationship that was to last over twenty years, until Tracy’s death in 1967.  Tracy and Hepburn did not live together until the final years of Tracy’s life and were never married, due to the fact that Tracy already had a wife, Louise Tracy, who he married in 1923 and never divorced.  He supported Louise, and their two children, but he almost always lived separately from the household.   The romance between Tracy and Hepburn was hidden from the public, but in Hollywood it was an open secret.

Spencer was a troubled soul, a sometimes alcoholic, a lapsed Catholic,
a philanderer,
and Kate completely devoted herself to him.

More great love stories:

Joanne and Paul
Elizabeth and Richard
Marilyn and Joe
Bacall and Bogart

LIFE Archives: Joanne and Paul

24/02/2011 § 2 Comments

In the month of February,
my mind has been turning to great love stories…

There’s not much I can say about Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.  Married for 50 years, and ended only by Paul’s death in 2008, they were an amazing couple that set the gold standard for Hollywood romances.  At the time of Paul’s death, it was the longest lasting marriage between two working actors.  They were so in love and it shows in almost every photo of them.

As actors, passions ran hot and cold:
“I’m all in favor of a good screaming free-for-all every two or three months. It clears the air, gets rid of old grievances and generally makes for a pleasant relationship. Joanne has a habit of rationalizing, and when she starts that, that’s when I turn ugly! But when she tells me what she instinctively feels, I pay very close attention.”
Via Vanity Fair.

Can we pause to note how awesome Paul looks here, with his rolled cuff, natty overcoat and leather folio embossed with his own name?

This is the very moment Joanne won her Best Actress Oscar in 1957 for the “Three Faces of Eve.”  Can you see how happy Paul is?  How lovely…

If you can’t get enough of Joanne and Paul, I wander over to this darling Tumblr —  fuckyeahpaulandjoanne — whenever I am in need of a little love moment.  J’adore!
Further reading: “The Newman Chronicles
Patricia Bosworth for Vanity Fair

LIFE Archives: Bacall and Bogart

21/02/2011 § Leave a comment

In the month of February,
my mind has been turning to great love stories…

A true May-December romance, Lauren Bacall was only nineteen when she first met Humphrey Bogart. He was forty-five, and married.  He would soon divorce his third wife — a drinker who once stabbed Bogart — to marry the statuesque former model whose real name is Betty Joan Perske.

Bogart preferred to call Baccall “Baby.”

The pair was married for over ten years and had two childern.  They were separated by Bogart’s untimely death from cancer in 1957.  Bacall buried with her husband a small gold whistle, inscribed with a line from their first movie together: “If you want anything, just whistle.”
The couple on the set of The African Queen.
Further reading: “To Have and Have Not
Matt Tyrnauer interviews Lauren Bacall for Vanity Fair

LIFE Archives: Elizabeth and Richard

14/02/2011 § Leave a comment

In the month of February,
my mind has been turning to great love stories…
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were drawn to each other with a force that would not be denied.  Actually married twice, their romantic liaisons proved to be irresistible fodder for the gossip pages while their film performances garnered accolades, nominations, and awards.

Richard was so taken with Elizabeth that he showered her with the most extravagant jewels in the world.  Most notable was the 69 carat “Taylor-Burton” diamond, which was auctioned after the couple divorced for the second time.

Images via LIFE
Further reading: “A Love Too Big To Last”
by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger for Vanity Fair

LIFE Archives: Marilyn and Joe

10/02/2011 § Leave a comment

With Valentine’s Day approaching,
my mind has been turning to great love stories…

The marriage of film siren Marilyn Monroe and Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, which lasted less than a year, has always stood out to me as one of most passionate affairs in history.  The joining of these two superstars proved too explosive to sustain, but the love they shared was to endure forever.

For twenty years after Marilyn’s death,
Joe continued to send roses to her grave twice a week.
All images via LIFE
Channel a bit of Marilyn for your Joe (or while looking for your Joe) with these lovely Garbo earrings by DANNIJO — that feel just a bit mid-century modern.
Image via Shopbop

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