I Love You Truly

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"I Love You Truly"
1906 sheet music cover
Published1901, 1906, by Carrie Jacobs-Bond & Son
GenreParlor song
Songwriter(s)Carrie Jacobs-Bond

"I Love You Truly" is a parlor song written by Carrie Jacobs-Bond. Since its publication in 1901 it has been sung at weddings, recorded by numerous artists over many decades, and heard on film and television.


Carrie Jacobs-Bond began to write songs in 1894 to supplement the income of her husband, Frank Bond.[1] When he died in 1895, she returned briefly to her hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, where "I Love You Truly" was written.[2] She then moved to Chicago where she painted china and rented out rooms to make ends meet.[1] There she continued to write songs and eventually sought to publish them herself. With the encouragement and assistance of friends, including a loan from contralto Jessie Bartlett Davis, in 1901 she published a sheet music collection of her compositions called Seven Songs as Unpretentious as the Wild Rose, one of which was "I Love You Truly".[1] She published it again as a separate song in 1906, at the same time correcting an oversight and filing for copyright. It sold over a million copies,[3] one of the earliest songs composed by a woman to achieve that distinction.[citation needed][a] Jacobs-Bond was invited to sing at the White House by three presidents, and each time sang "I Love You Truly".[3]

Lyrics and musical description[edit]

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.[citation needed]

"I Love You Truly" has been described as having a "catchy melody... and instantly familiar sound" with a "late-nineteenth century, salon-like character";[5] it is categorized as a "high-class ballad",[6] a genre of the period applied to serious ballads that were suitable for cultured venues (versus vaudeville).[7] Robert Cummings describes it thus:

The song consists mainly of the melody, its second subject, and repeats. Yet the craftsmanship here is deftly wrought, the melodic goods instantly memorable, and the words sincere and beguilingly innocent.[5]

The piece became a standard at wedding ceremonies,[3] and a mainstay of barbershop harmony arrangers and singers.[8]


The song was a hit record for Elsie Baker in 1912 (Victor B-12069).[9]

It has since been recorded by numerous artists, including Sophie Braslau (1916), Dusolina Giannini (1926), Al Bowlly (1934), Bing Crosby (1934 and 1945), Erskine Hawkins (1942), Helen Traubel (1946), Jeanette MacDonald (1947), and as duets by Jo Stafford and Nelson Eddy (1951), and Pat and Shirley Boone (1962).[10][verification needed][11]

Film soundtracks include Jill Paquette's cover for the film, The Song (2014).[citation needed]

Other media[edit]

As early as 1929 the song was heard in the comedy movie Wise Girls[12] and has since been heard in numerous movies.

It has also been heard on television sitcoms, often for comic effect. In the first-season episode of I Love Lucy, "The Marriage License" (1952), it was sung by Mrs. Willoughby (Elizabeth Patterson);[citation needed] in the seventh-season episode of All in the Family, "The Unemployment Story: Part 1" (1976), it was sung by Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton).[14] In the second-season episode of Amen, "Wedding Bell Blues", it was sung repeatedly by the Hetebrink sisters, Amelia (Roz Ryan) and Cassieta (Barbara Montgomery), as a running gag.[citation needed] In the seventh-season episode of Boy Meets World, "It's About Time" (1999), Amy Matthews (Betsy Randle) sang the song.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Maude Nugent's "Sweet Rosie O'Grady" (1896) was an earlier million-seller;[4] however, Nugent did not own and publish her own song as Jacobs-Bond did.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c James, Edward T.; James, Janet Wilson; Boyer, Paul S. (1971). Notable American Women, 1607–1950. Harvard University Press. pp. 194–195. ISBN 978-0-674-62734-5.
  2. ^ Hannan, Caryn (2008). Wisconsin Biographical Dictionary. North American Book Dist LLC. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-878592-63-7.
  3. ^ a b c Raph, Theodore (2012). The American Song Treasury: 100 Favorites. Courier. p. 336. ISBN 978-0-486-17133-3.
  4. ^ Shrock, Joel (2004). The Gilded Age. Greenwood. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-313-32204-4.
  5. ^ a b Cummings, Robert (2019). "Carrie Jacobs-Bond: I Love You Truly, for Voice & Piano—Description by Robert Cummings". AllMusic.com. AllMusic Featured Composition. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  6. ^ Hamm, Charles (2006). Putting Popular Music in Its Place. Cambridge University Press. p. 378. ISBN 978-0-521-02861-5.
  7. ^ Hamm, Charles, ed. (1995). Irving Berlin. Early Songs, Part 1: 1907–1911. A-R Editions. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-89579-305-8.
  8. ^ See for instance Szabo, Burt (ed.) (2014) [1988]. "Heritage of Harmony Songbook: A Collection of Favorite Barbershop Songs Commemorating the Golden Anniversary of..." Nashville, TN: Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. ASIN B0012OTSTM. Archived from the original on January 22, 2015. Retrieved December 26, 2019 – via Barbershop.org.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Jasen, David A. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music. Taylor & Francis. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-415-93700-9.
  10. ^ Hart, William S. (2011). In My Lifetime. Xlibris Corporation. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-4568-7764-4.
  11. ^ For the two Bing Crisby recordings, see Baker, J. Richard; Currington, David & Macfarlane, Malcolm (December 6, 2019). "A Bing Crosby Discography: Commercial Recordings—The Decca Years". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved December 26, 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Munden, Kenneth W. (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States. University of California Press. p. 910. ISBN 978-0-520-20969-5.
  13. ^ Willian, Michael (2006). The Essential It's a Wonderful Life. Chicago Review Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-56976-428-2.
  14. ^ Spangler, Lynn C. (2003). Television Women from Lucy to Friends. Greenwood. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-313-28781-7.

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