For some time now, I’ve been assembling a long list of sign-offs deserving of a wider audience—a tangle of valediction too interesting to hog—and today is the day I begin1 unleashing them on you. Some are elegant (Gellhorn), some are sad (Battersby), some are painfully relatable (Kubrick), and some are just nuts (Dali, what on earth?). But literally all are preferable to the dull, lazily placed sign-offs the vast majority of us slap beneath letters and emails each day without a care in the world. Next time you send someone a message, please consider using one of these instead.
If you know of any other corkers, let me know by leaving a comment below. And if you haven’t already, please consider becoming a paid subscriber so I can spend even more time bossily telling you how not to close your correspondence.
Patronisingly yours, Shaun
Am Red beans and ricely yours, Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong Letter to Betty Jane Holder 9th February 1952
With my weak organs I am very fond of you. L.
Lydia Lopokova Letter to John Keynes 1924
Annoyed and depressed but lovingly, S.
Stanley Kubrick Letter to Roger Caras July 1965
Yours till the ship sinks, Norman
Royal Navy gunner Norman Battersby Letter to his family Dunkirk, 1940
Love Virginia (imperative) Love Virginia (absolute) Love? Virginia? (interrogative) Mine was the 1st. Virginia
Virginia Woolf Letter to Vita Sackville-West 7th January 1928
Love and red hot kisses from top to derrière, Noelie-poelie
Noël Coward Letter to Alexander Woollcott 6th February 1936
Thank you, and I hope you choke. Very untruly yours.
An unhappy Beatles fan Letter of complaint to Nike, Inc. 30th March 1987
Yours in pleasure, John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck Letter to Professor and Mrs. Eugène Vinaver 20th July 1957
Tinkety tonk old fruit, & down with the Nazis always your loving Peter*
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Letter to her niece, Elizabeth Elphinstone 7th February 1941 *As children, the Elphinstones had been unable to pronounce 'Elizabeth,' so naturally they called her 'Peter' instead. The name stuck.
Always Your Stinking Old Friend Scott
F. Scott Fitzgerald Letter to Ernest Hemingway 9th September 1929
I tip my hat and make you a bow. With faithful feelings, Zora
Zora Neale Hurston Letter to Helga Eason 14th February 1950
Love, light and peace, Spike
Spike Milligan Letter to George Harrison 6th December 1983
Love, haste, Andy
E. B. White Letter to Dorothy Hayes 10th December 1969
Vacationally yours— Sylvia
Sylvia Plath Letter to Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff On holiday, 15th December 1951
Farewell, Sir, a kiss on the palm tree from your Rotting Donkey
Salvador Dali Letter to Federico García Lorca 1927
Darling, a loving hand across several seas, Martha
Martha Gellhorn Letter to William Walton 23rd November 1963
Adieu, adieu, adieu! Mark Twain
Mark Twain Letter to J. H. Todd 20th November 1905
Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.
Ludwig van Beethoven Letter to his "Immortal beloved" 6th July 1812
Hastily, but Sincerely, Langston
Langston Hughes Letter to Richard Wright 29th February 1940
With my love always and always and all-ways, Your Tib
Sylvia Townsend Warner Letter to Valentine Ackland 23rd June 1947
Yours in prickly heat, Papa
Ernest Hemingway Letter to his son, Patrick 30th June 1939
Ravaged love, Rich
Richard Burton Letter to Elizabeth Taylor 31st March 1973
Irritably yours, Dalton Trumbo
Dalton Trumbo Letter of complaint to LA Telephone Signal Company 8th November 8th 1948
There are so many. I’ll do another batch down the road.