Anne Lister's Valentines

designs by Steph Gallaway

Bridging the past and present to celebrate LGBTQ+ love!

As Anne Lister's journals gain increasing recognition, it's important to acknowledge that profound narratives also unfold within the extensive correspondence she left behind.Β Β 

This curated collection provides a glimpse into the intricate web of Lister's relationships, showcasing sentiments conveyed to and by her romantic partners. Through these passionate excerpts, one can vividly discern the nature of Lister's connections. Take a peek and enjoy the historical richness of 19th-century expressions of love between women (and Charles).

Feel free to save or print the borrowed sentiments and send your own Valentine a heartfelt note, echoing emotions celebrated across time and generations!

Eliza Raine

To: Eliza Raine

From: Anne Lister

"I long to impress upon your lips all that real sincerity & warmth of affection which flows but frigidly on paper"

- 16 May 1824

To: Anne Lister

From: Eliza Raine

"It is a sweet moonlight night; this and the murmuring of the water which we have both delighted to hear brings to my mind a thousand pleasing scenes which I hope will one day be realised. How my heart throbs for thee! Here I turn my eyes to my bed."

- 9 Feb 1809

To: Eliza Raine

From: Anne Lister

"I can scarcely persuade myself to have patience to wait for a day or two for your ever welcome Epistle, which though a poor substitute for your company will give unspeakable pleasure to me whose only study is your happiness"

- 14 Aug 1806

To: Anne Lister

From: Eliza Raine

"I have set my heart upon having you & you well know how ill I can bear disappointment"Β 

- 25 April 1810

To: Anne Lister

From: Eliza Raine

"To yourself my dear, but naughty friend the best sensations of a grateful & long attached heart which knows full well how to appreciate its early & kindest companion"

- 21 April 1810

Mariana (Belcombe) Lawton

To: Mariana Lawton

From: Anne Lister

"Where there is much love, there is much fear – but my love is more than much – it leaves no room but for itself and that unwearing confidence that wraps it round"

- 25 May 1827

To: Anne Lister

From: Mariana Lawton

"Your image alone awakened feelings for which otherwise I had no use. I loved you dearly and fondly - I do love you dearly and fondly and can neither understand nor account for the influence which circumstances in spite of inclination have had over me."

- 8 Apr 1834

Sibbella Maclean

To: Anne Lister

From: Sibbella Maclean

"You are indeed altogether cast in a different mould from every other human being I know, and have drawn me irresistibly to you. Perhaps your being an oddity has done this"

- 9 July 1824

To: Sibbella Maclean

From: Anne Lister

"Call me an 'oddity', if you please - You have taught me even to value the name - I owe it more than I can pay, if I owe it the regard you now feel towards me"

- 10 July 1824

To: Sibbella Maclean

From: Anne Lister

"It was a nameless charm that won you my esteem, and admiration, and regard - there is a golden chain that fastens that fastens them; and not a link of it shall break"

- 10 July1824

To: Anne Lister

From: Sibbella Maclean

"If ever I am with you in Shibden you may be sure I shall be at your elbow from morn till night if you choose and from night till morn"

- 3 June 1824

To: Sibbella Maclean

From: Anne Lister

"You are not acquainted with my whole heart, and all I ask is a little of yours in return - Give me what you can spare; and, however small the portion I will be contented"

- 10 Jul 1824

To: Sibbella Maclean

From: Anne Lister

"We all seek after happiness - I think, I shall find it at last; and you must come and share it, or I shall fancy it imperfect still"

- 9 Jan 1826

To: Sibbella Maclean

From: Anne Lister

"Come what may, I am convinced that all things work together for good, and shall be always satisfied that I have once, at least, loved a person more than worthy of my regard"

- 9 Aug 1825

To: Sibbella Maclean

From: Anne Lister

"My regard for you is a regard which makes me ever anxious for your comfort and happiness; – and to see you happy will probably make me as happy as I am capable of being"

- 28 Dec 1828

Ann Walker

To: Anne Lister

From: Ann Walker

"So long as I have a cottage or a room, the half will be for you"

- 27 Dec 1833


To: Ann Walker

From: Anne Lister

"Your note my love surprises me but surprise is not the only or the uppermost feeling which engrosses me I leave you to imagine what I mean. For surely you already know me too well to be wrong in any surmise you may wish to make"

- 9 Sep 1832

To: Ann Walker

From: Anne Lister

"Yet feeling may be quick without being transient; and that which has lasted a dozen years is neither the empty bubble of a moment, nor the vain imagining of an idle dream"

- 14 Mar 1833

To: Anne Lister

From: Ann Walker

β€œDo come quickly for I am getting dull and I want you in a thousand ways”

- 21 Feb 1834

To: Ann Walker

From: Anne Lister

"I ate 2 of your oranges just before getting into bed last night, merely for the pleasure of thinking of you"

- 5 Mar 1834


To: Ann Walker

From: Anne Lister

There bends no rood so low, but it may rise again. Who that has that hope which human power nor gives nor takes away, who that has that hope can ever feel forlorn forsaken or disconsolate?Β 

- 9 Nov 1832

To: Anne Lister

From: Ann Walker

"I cannot resist the temptation of writing a line or two, for I so truly feel with you il reste un siècle de trois jours."

- 3 Nov 1832

Mary Vallance

To: Anne Lister

From: Mary Vallance

"You cannot, will not, longer doubt the tenderness of my feelings towards you & the gratification it would be to me to feel myself once again fondly pressed to your bosom"

- 16 May 1824

To: Anne Lister

From: Mary Vallance

I wish you were with me at this moment, perhaps you might better understand my feelings. There are times I wish I could be with you, you would understand all my heart would feel but my lips might not utter.

- 16 May 1824

To: Mary Vallance

From: Anne Lister

"Give me more than half an hour in pressing you to the heart where lies your secret. Some sparks of happiness prove your tenderness was shared. That joy was more than a name and that your spellbound confidence had never been forgotten"

- 17 May 1824

To: Anne Lister

From: Mary Vallance

"May I only hope to taste the dearly charished feelings of confiding affection .... I will indulge in the sweet idea of being once again and soon pressed to the heart of sympathy feeling and confiding affection feeling as I do wholly free.... my heart may be at most warmly again"

- 28 Mar 1824

To: Anne Lister

From: Mary Vallance

"I would, if left to the decision of my feelings, be all and everything to you"Β 

- 19 Oct 1825

Harriet Milne

To: Anne Lister

From: Mary Vallance

"Since I saw you last you have occupied every moment of my time you dwell in my heart and in my head in my waking or sleeping hours you are with me and to banish you seems so utterly impossible that my brain turns at the idea of the influence you have gained over me"

- 29 Dec 1825

To: Anne Lister

From: Harriet Milne

"I can talk a little but my stupid head and hand refuse to express half my feelings on paper."

- 8 Mar 1826

To: Anne Lister

From: Harriet Milne

"There must be some witchery in the deed, some magic spell that can last but for a certain period and will then vanish and depart like a dream. I cannot understand it. All I know and feel is that you have taken forcible possession of my heart and that there you have made yourself a permanent dwelling and abode. Should you think so pitiful a residence worth keeping write and tell me so"

- 29 Dec 1825

Charles Lawton

To: Charles Lawton

From: Anne Lister

"You have not miscalculated how to find one whose wishes and anxiety, on this occasion are naturally and cordially in unison with your own"

- 19 March 1826

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Marlene Oliveira, Amanda Pryce, Kathryn Williams, Shantel Smith, Chloe Naccie, Steph Gallaway, Jenna Beyer, Pauline M, and all the #AnneListerCodeBreakers. Their invaluable work makes the curation of these examples and excerpts possible through the meticulous transcription of letters and journal pages featuring excerpts of letters. Special appreciation is also extended to Steph Gallaway for the thoughtful design of the Valentine cards and graphics.