Posts Tagged ‘Lesbian Love Letters’

These love- letters  – from women such as Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf –  represent a legacy of our lesbian past which does not receive very much prominence. So much correspondence of this type simply does not survive, because of its private and ephemeral nature. Letters are lost, destroyed, and frequently ignored by publishers, even when the writers are famous women.

These few examples serve to show the variety and the intensity of feeling these women felt for each other. Times may change, and the hand-written love letter may go the way of the Dodo – and who knows, even the love -letter itself – but we can hope that they will not disappear entirely, and that the originals of these missives survive safely in someone’s archive.

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Richard Outram (April 14th 1930 - January 21st 2005)













Love Letter








Still sheathed in ardour, Sweetheart, in this night,

Though continents apart, I would not write;

The body of my thought can never be,

However subtle, half the mystery

Of one embrace; and naked phrases prove

Pale triths to those, who sometime died in Love

Beyond all bonds, all grasp of given names,

To surface speechless within living flames;

Reduced to words, you cannot understand

My crabbed, distracted, unfamiliar hand,

Except that you might read between these lines,

Where tongue to touch you never will be found,

And see a white sheet as our common ground.

Richard Outram










An exchange of letters between the sculptor Beatrice Fenton (1887 -1983) and her lover the painter Marjorie Martinet (1886 – 1981).

Fenton and Martinet were romantically involved for 50 years. They first met when they were both students at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.























Beatrice Fenton






















Facsimiles of Fenton’s and Martinet’s letters courtesy of Lost and Found: The Lesbian and Gay Presence at the Archives of American Art.

No image was available for Marjorie Martinet – but these are two of her paintings.










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