Josie and Salem: An Indiana Love Story

The Letters sat in several boxes, some bound in bundles with ribbons, some in their original envelopes, but more lay about loosely. A few were written in pen on fine stationery while others were scribbled in pencil on lined school paper or on the letterhead stationery of various stores and newspapers. More than a century had passed since the passionate declarations of love, jealousy, and despair flew back and forth between two young lovers, Josie Chafee and Salem Hammond.

The story of Josie and Salem resonates today for their life-long affair exhibited the burning commitment, the soaring emotion, and the self-sacrificing ideals that characterize truly great love stories. Salem and Josie were neither rich nor famous, but lovers in any age can see in them and what they created together during their courtship and marriage that special and magical quality they defined as being “all in all” to each other.

Fortunately, they wrote all about it. Frank A. Cassell has drawn together in a stirring history the drama of intense love, daunting challenges, and eventual triumph played out against the backdrop of small town life in southern Indiana at a time of great social and economic change in the nation as a whole.

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