Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but what happened to couples torn apart by war, unknowing of when, or if, they would see each other again? As the First World War raged on, so did the hearts of the husbands, wives, and lovers of Europe.

To cope with the separation, many soldiers sent long, romantic letters of to their loved ones back home. Some women waited longingly for their lovers on the field, while others sought companionship with the men left behind. There was love that transcended borders, love that lasted the ages, and love for one woman fought over by two different men.

In the Love Letter Run, we present you stories of romance and betrayal, of lust and longing, heartbreak and new beginnings – all the makings of your favourite melodrama, but from genuine handwritten sources of real, lived experiences. The Run is not a separate competition, but a permanent, regularly-updated selection of documents, hand-picked to get your emotions running and your hearts pumping on the Transcribathon. It is part of a bigger effort of Europeana to highlight treasures of textual sources through the #AllezLiterature online and social media campaign #WW1LoveLetters.

Bring the hearts of the men and women of WW1 back to life by transcribing their treasured love stories.


The Love Letter Run officially kicks off on Valentine's Day 2017 and will be permanently ongoing.
Spread the word on social media with the hashtag #WW1LoveLetters


Read these compelling tales of love:

Songs of Love

Y a que L'Amour
Reconnaissant pas d'obstacles
L'amour fait des miracles »»

There's only Love
Without recognising obstacles,
Love makes miracles

Love Letters from Denise to Pierre

Mon chéri, mon âme et mon être entier sont à vous pour toute votre vie. Je vous aime tellement
tellement! »»

My dear, my soul and my entire being are for you, for your whole life. I love you so much so much!

Love Letters from Fritz to Trudel

Nimmer möcht ich Dich verlieren, Liebe gibt der Liebe Kraft.
Möchte sein, auf, ewig Dein! »»

Never do I want to lose you, love gives love strength.
To be yours, forever yours!

Soldiers' Notes of Love in Nurse's Autograph Book

It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

- A. Allen, 18th Bde. R.F.A. »»


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