I Love You Truly

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"I Love You Truly"
Parlor song
Released 1901, 1906
Writer Carrie Jacobs-Bond

"I Love You Truly" is a parlor song written by Carrie Jacobs-Bond. It has been used at weddings since its release. "I Love You Truly" was the first song written by a woman to sell one million copies of sheet music.[1] Among Jacobs-Bond's compositions, only "A Perfect Day" exceeded sales of "I Love You Truly" during her lifetime. According to Rick Reublin in "America's First Great Woman Popular Song Composer",

Though today, "I Love You Truly" seems to be her most lasting hit, it was not her biggest hit. That honor goes to "A Perfect Day", which sold five million copies, matching the previous best seller record of Charles K. Harris' "After The Ball" from 1892.


After a financially troubled youth, Bond was inspired to start writing songs by her second husband Dr. Frank Bond. After he died from falling on ice in 1895, she moved from the economically depressed Upper Peninsula of Michigan back to her hometown Janesville, Wisconsin. She wrote the song after returning to Janesville. She made a meager living painting ceramics and writing songs. While painting she would hum improvised tunes and add verses. These improvised tunes became the basis for her collection of sheet music called Seven Songs as Unpretentious as the Wild Rose.[2]

A young female singer lived across the hall from Jacobs-Bond had to leave unexpectedly, so she asked Jacobs-Bond to entertain her manager and another man. When the two men arrived, Jacobs-Bond invited them into her apartment. The manager, Victor P. Sincere, saw some of her manuscripts lying around and asked if she had written them. After Jacobs-Bond said "yes", Sincere asked her to perform a song, so she played "I Love You Truly". He asked if she would like to have the song performed in public, and she answered "no" because she had not copyrighted the song, and someone would be able to steal it. Jacobs-Bond had second thoughts, so she went to the telephone at the corner drugstore and called Jessie Bartlett Davis, even though they had never met. Jacobs Bond hoped that Bartlett Davis would make the song popular as she had for "Oh Promise Me" in 1898. Bartlett Davis volunteered to pay the cost for publishing Seven Songs as Unpretentious as the Wild Rose, which includes two of Jacobs-Bond's hits, "I Love You Truly" and "Just Awearyin' for You". "A Perfect Day" was the only Jacobs-Bond composition to exceed this collection in sales during the songwriter's lifetime.[2]

"I Love You Truly"
I Love You Truly reissued by Boston Music.jpg
Front cover of the Boston Music 1938 reissue of "I Love You Truly"
Parlor song


The song hit #1 in the United States in 1912 when it was recorded by Elsie Baker.[3] Numerous artists have recorded the song, including Sophie Braslau,[4] Joel McCrea,[5] Jeanette MacDonald backed by Richard Ambruster's orchestra,[6] Pat Boone, Victor Borge, Al Bowlly, Bing Crosby, Deep River Boys with orchestra (Recorded in Oslo on August 24, 1956, and released on the extended play Hello young lovers HMV 7EGN 12), Connie Francis, Dusolina Giannini, Erskine Hawkins, The Ink Spots, Liberace, Guy Lombardo, Lawrence Welk,[7] the Platters, Pat Boone in a 1962 duet with his wife Shirley Foley Boone,[8] and the McGuire Sisters.[9] It remains a mainstay of barbershop harmony arrangers and singers.[10]

Starting with A Lady's Morals, a feature film about Jenny Lind in which "I Love You Truly" was sung by Grace Moore, the song has been in numerous movies, invariably in wedding scenes. The song was also sung by Bert (Ward Bond) and Ernie (Frank Faylen) as they serenaded George (James Stewart) and Mary Bailey (Donna Reed) on their wedding night in the leaky "old Granville place" (house) in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life.

Waltz King Wayne King changed "I Love You Truly" from its original 2/4 time to 3/4.

Shirley Temple used the song in her 1945 wedding.[11]

It was sung by Elizabeth Patterson (pre-Mrs. Trumbull character) in the I Love Lucy episode "Marriage License" in 1952.

It was sung by Jean Stapleton (Edith Bunker) as a lullaby to Carroll O'Connor (Archie Bunker) in All in the Family.[12]

It was sung by Betsy Randle (Amy Matthews) in the Boy Meets World episode "It's About Time."

"I Love You Truly" appears in Mel Bay's Modern Guitar Method Grade 6.[13]


Sung by the Elsie Baker, 1912

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I love you truly, truly dear,
Life with its sorrow, life with its tear
Fades into dreams when I feel you are near
For I love you truly, truly dear.

Ah! Love, 'tis something to feel your kind hand
Ah! Yes, 'tis something by your side to stand;
Gone is the sorrow, gone doubt and fear,
For you love me truly, truly dear.


  1. ^ "Wisconsin Hometown Stories: Janesville". 2008-01-17. 45 minutes in. Wisconsin Public Television. WPNE.
  2. ^ a b Wallechinsky, David; Irving Wallace (1981). The People's Almanac. 
  3. ^ Number 1 USA hits: 1910-1919; Retrieved April 10, 2008
  4. ^ Sophie Braslau rendition (recorded by Columbia Records in 1928 June).
  5. ^ Joel McCrea rendition, which slightly alters the lyrics and omits the second stanza (accessed 2011-04-04).
  6. ^ MacDonald & Ambruster rendition, dated 1947-12-17 on Victor 49-0861A (accessed 2011-04-04).
  7. ^ I Love You Truly[dead link], AllMusic, Retrieved January 18, 2008
  8. ^ "Pat Boone" in the Norwegian Wikipedia.
  9. ^ McGuire Sisters' rendition (accessed 2011-04-06).
  10. ^ Barkley M, "Monster barbershop arrangement/recording tracks list"
  11. ^ Ponsuella, Peggy. "Carrie Jacobs-Bond 1862-1946". Songs My Grandmother Taught Me: Songs of Carrie Jacobs-Bond (Albany, New York: Albany Records, 2001), ISBN 03406104382. , p. [2].
  12. ^ "I Love You Truly" in All in the Family on CBS Television.
  13. ^ Bay, Mel (2005). "Modern Guitar Method Grade 6" (Expanded ed.). Pacific, Missouri: Mel Bay Publications. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-7866-7760-3. 

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