We bring together and discuss a number of exact relationships in two-dimensional (or plane) elasticity, that are useful in studying the effective elastic constants and stress fields in two-dimensional composite materials. The first of these dates back to Michell (1899) and states that the stresses, induced by applied tractions, are independent of the elastic constants in a two-dimensional material containing holes. The second involves the use of Dundurs constants which, for a composite consisting of two isotropic elastic phases, reduce the dependence of stresses on the elastic constants from three independent dimensionless parameters to two. It is shown that these two results are closely related to a recently proven theorem by Cherkaev, Lurie and Milton, which we use to show that the effective Young's modulus of a sheet containing holes is independent of the Poisson's ratio of the matrix material. We also show that the elastic moduli of a composite can be found exactly if the shear moduli of the components are all equal; a previously known result. We illustrate these results with computer simulations, where appropriate. Finally we conjecture on generalizations to multicomponent composite materials and to situations where the bonding between the phases is not perfect.