The archive team at Stratford District Council is seeking descendants of a husband and wife, after finding their love letters from 1895.

The collection of letters was stored in the Stratford District Council archive room, and are all written by a gentleman called Harry, who lived in Stratford, to a Gracie in Dunedin.

From information in the letters, it appears Gracie was unwell, and Harry was living in Stratford. In one letter he asks his Gracie if she got the ring he sent her, telling her it was one of his mother's.

I never knew before, Harry writes, what an incomplete creature a man is without a wife.
I never knew before, Harry writes, what an incomplete creature a man is without a wife.

In another letter he asks her about Christmas.

Advertisement

"What would you like for a Christmas present my girl? Have you a watch? "

Later on in the letter he tells her he is missing her.

"I am just starving for you now..."

While only Harry's letters are in the collection, it is clear Gracie was replying to him. In one letter he says he is glad she is going to local dances in Dunedin. In another he thanks her for her response to him.

"I feel so happy Gracie dear, to know that you love me so much, what a dear girl you are."

Her letters, he says in another, always improve his mood.

"You can't think what a lot of good your cheerful letters do me."

I never knew before, Harry writes in another letter, what an incomplete creature a man is without a wife.

Advertisement

In his letters Harry talks of friends, Arthur, Mary and Jack in Timaru, a widow named Roslyn Martin and someone called Hayward who is in Gisborne.

Harry wrote to Gracie in any spare time he had.
Harry wrote to Gracie in any spare time he had.

Harry seems to have attended a local church and may have worked at or been involved with a school in Stratford.

While Gracie was in Dunedin when Harry wrote to her, the letters ended up back in Stratford at some point, and have been stored in the archives room at the council.

Whoever Gracie and Harry were, the archives team would like to return their letters to their descendants, so if you know who they were and can help, contact the council on comunications@stratford.govt.nz or call 06 765 6099.

Harry clearly received letters from his Gracie in response to the letters he wrote her.
Harry clearly received letters from his Gracie in response to the letters he wrote her.