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"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.

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


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.[a]

"I Love You Truly" was categorized as a "high-class ballad",[5] a genre of the period applied to serious ballads that were suitable for cultured venues as opposed to vaudeville.[6] It became a standard at wedding ceremonies.[3] It also became a mainstay of barbershop harmony arrangers and singers.[7]

Jacobs-Bond was invited to sing at the White House by three presidents, and each time sang "I Love You Truly".[3]


The song was a hit record for Elsie Baker in 1912 (Victor B-12069).[8] It has been recorded by numerous artists,[9] including Sophie Braslau (1916), Dusolina Giannini (1926), Al Bowlly (1934), Bing Crosby (1934 and 1945),[10] Erskine Hawkins (1942), Helen Traubel (1946), Jeanette MacDonald (1947), a 1951 duet by Jo Stafford and Nelson Eddy, and Pat Boone in a 1962 duet with his wife Shirley. Jill Paquette DeZwaan covers the song on the soundtrack for the film The Song (2014).

Other mediaEdit

As early as 1929 the song was heard in the comedy movie Wise Girls[11] and has since been heard in numerous movies.

  • 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 It's a Wonderful Life (1946).[12]
  • It was heard in the film I Married a Witch (1942) when it was played by the wedding band and sung by Helen St. Rayner several times.
  • In the film Hells Angels on Wheels (1967) the members of the motorcycle gang sing a tuneless, mocking version of the song at the wedding of Abigail and Gypsy.
  • In the romantic drama The Song (2014), the characters Jed and Rose are seen watching this same scene from It’s A Wonderful Life on television, and the song is sung at their wedding by Jill Paquette DeZwaan.

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), and in the seventh-season episode of All in the Family "The Unemployment Story: Part 1" (1976), it was sung by Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton). [13] 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. In the seventh-season episode of Boy Meets World "It's About Time" (1999), Amy Matthews (Betsy Randle) sang the song.


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. ^ 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.


  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. ^ Hamm, Charles (2006). Putting Popular Music in Its Place. Cambridge University Press. p. 378. ISBN 978-0-521-02861-5.
  6. ^ Hamm, Charles, ed. (1995). Irving Berlin. Early Songs, Part 1: 1907–1911. A-R Editions. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-89579-305-8.
  7. ^ "Heritage of Harmony Songbook". Barbershop Harmony Society. 1988. Archived from the original on 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-01-21.
  8. ^ Jasen, David A. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music. Taylor & Francis. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-415-93700-9.
  9. ^ Hart, William S. (2011). In My Lifetime. Xlibris Corporation. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-4568-7764-4.
  10. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Willian, Michael (2006). The Essential It's a Wonderful Life. Chicago Review Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-56976-428-2.
  13. ^ Spangler, Lynn C. (2003). Television Women from Lucy to Friends. Greenwood. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-313-28781-7.

External linksEdit