LETTER WRITING ILLUSTRATED.
Position of the Various Parts.
The following position of the
several parts of a letter should
be observed :
1. Write the date near the upper right hand
corner of the sheet.
2. Commence the complimentary address on
the line next beneath one inch from the left
side of the sheet.
3. The body of the letter should be com-
menced nearly under the last letter of the com-
4. Begin the complimentary closing on the
line next beneath me body of the letter, one
half of the distance from the left to the right
side of the page.
5. The center of the signature may be under
the last letter of the complimentary closing.
6. The name and address of the person writ-
ten to should come on the line beneath the
signature, at the left of the sheet.
The Complimentary Address.
Of late years it has become
common, in business letters, in-
stead of giving name and ad-
dress at the close, to write the
same at the commencement;
To the Business Man.
MR. WILLIAM B. ASHTON,
Washington, D. C.
Dear Sir :
Your note of the 1st inst. received, etc.
To the Married Woman.
MBS. HELEN E. KING,
Dear MttdtuH :
Enclosed find check for, etc.
To the Unmarried Woman.
Miss HARRIET A. KENDALL,
In reply to your favor of the 4th ult., etc.
NOTE. It is customary to address the married woman by
the name which she ust-s on her cards. It is optional with
thelariy whether she uses her own name, "Mrs. Helen K.
king, or that of her husband, Mrs. Chas. H. King "
FORM OF A LETTER.
(Body of (he Letter.)
iton. -ad Cs
<&o dbaefi^ J%W^f
Kinds of Paper to Use.
Be particular to use a sheet appropriate in
shape to the purpose for which it is employed.
Paper is now manufactured of every size adapted
to the wants of any article written. The names
of the various kinds of paper in general use are
Legal-cap^ Bill-paper, Foolscap, Letter-paper,
Commercial-note, Note-paper and Billet.
In the writing of all Legal Documents, such as
wills, taking of testimony, articles of agreement,
etc., legal cap is generally used, characterized by
a red line running from top to bottom of the
For Bills, paper is commonly ruled expressly
for the purpose, and generally bears the name
and business advertisement of the person using
the same, at the top.
When writing Notes, Orders, Receipts, Com-
positions, Petitions, Subscription Headings^ etc.,
foolscap paper is used.
For the ordinary friendship letter or other
ETIQUETTE OF LETTER WRITING AND TITLES.
long letter, it is best to use letter paper, which
in size is four-fifths the length of foolscap.
The common Business Letter should be so
brief as generally to require but one page of
commercial note, which is somewhat narrower
and shorter than letter paper.
Note and billet paper are the smallest sheets
made, being suitable for Notes of Invitation,
Parents' Excuses for children to teachers, and
other written exercises that are very brief.
Etiquette of Letter Writing.
As a rule, every letter, unless insulting in its
character, requires an answer. To neglect to
answer a letter, when written to, is as uncivil as
to neglect to reply when spoken to.
In the reply, acknowledge first the receipt of
the letter, mentioning its date, and afterwards
consider all the points requiring attention.
If the letter is to be very brief, commence
sufficiently far from the top of the page to
give a nearly equal amount of blank paper at
the bottom of the sheet when the letter is
Should the matter in the letter continue
beyond the first page, it is well to commence
a little above the middle of the sheet, extending
as far as necessary on the other pages.
It is thought impolite to use a half sheet of
paper in formal letters. As a matter of economy
and convenience for business purposes, how-
ever, it is customary to have the card of the
business man printed at the top of the sheet,
and a single leaf is used.
In writing a letter, the answer to which is of
more benefit to yourself than the person to
whom you write, enclose a postage stamp for
Letters should be as free from erasures, inter-
lineations, blots and postscripts as possible. It
is decidedly better to copy the letter than to
have these appear.
A letter of introduction or recommendation,
should never be sealed, as the bearer to whom
it is given ought to know the contents.
T is customary, in the heading of
petitions to persons in official posi-
tions, in the complimentary address of
a letter, and in Superscriptions, to give
each their proper title. These are
divided into titles of respect, military,
and professional titles.
Titles of respect are: Mr., from Master;
Mrs., from Mistress; Miss, from the French
De-moi-selle ; Esq., from Esquire, an English
Justice of the Peace, or member of the legal
profession, but applied very indiscriminately to
males throughout this country generally.
Two titles of the same class should not be
applied to the same name. Thus, in addressing
John Smith, do not say Mr. John Smith, Esq. ;
though we may say Mr. John Smith, or John
If the profession of the person addressed be
known, the professional title alone should be
used. If the person be entitled to two titles
the highest is given.
Titles of respect are usually placed before the
name ; as Mr., Hon., Rev., Dr., and military
Professional titles sometimes precede and
sometimes follow the name ; as Dr. John Smith,
or John Smith, M.D.; Prof. John Smith, or
John Smith, A.M.
The following list illustrates the various titles
used for the different ranks, among individuals,
either in the complimentary address or super-
scription on the envelope.
" To the King's Most Excellent Majesty.''' 1
" To the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty."
' To his Royal Highness, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales."
In like manner all the other members, male
and female, of the Royal family are addressed.
" To his Grace the Duke of Argyle."
" To the Most Noble the Marquis of Westminster."
" To the Right Honorable the Earl of Derby."
" To the Right Honorable Lord Viscount Sidney."
" To the Honorable Baron Cranworth."
TITLES IN EUROPE AND AMERICA. 83
The wives of noblemen have the same titles
Ellsworth's " Text Book on Penmanship "
as their husbands ; thus,
gives the following classification of the various
' To her Grace the Duchess of Argyle."
titles used in the United States.
' To the Most Noble the Marchioness of Westminster,"
' To the Eight Honorable the Countess of Derby."
Titles of Honor, Profession and Respect.
' To the Eight Honorable the Viscountess Sidney."
' To the Honorable the Baroness Crauworth. 11
President of the United States,
" iris Excellency Richard Roe," \ Governor of any State, or Minister
The title of Honorable, in Great Britain, is
[ to Foreign Countries.
applied to the younger sons of noblemen (the
f Vice President, Senators and Repre-
sentatives of the U. S., Lieut. Gov. of
elder son taking, by courtesy, the title next in
State, State Senators and Reprtscnta-
" Honorable Richard Roe." j .
] lives, Judges, Mayors, and Heads of
rank below that of his father.) It is also given
Executive Departments of the General
to members of parliament and to certain persons
holding positions of honor and trust.
" Rev. Richard Roe, D.D." Doctor of Divinity.
" Richard Roe, LL,D." Doctor of Laws.
" Richard Roe," Minister of the Gospel.
' Dr. Richard Roe," Physician and Surgeon.
u LJui uiiCLo.
'Prof. Richard Roe," Prof essor or teacher of any art or scienc<=
" Sir Walter Scott, Bart."
' Richard Roe, Esq.." Member of the legal Fraternity.
k Mr. Richard Roe." Non-professional gentleman.
' Richard Roe," Plain signature.
" Sir William Armstrong, Kt."
" Richard x Roe," Unable to write his own name.
Care should be taken to write upon the
plain, for ordinary letter writing,
envelope very plainly, giving the full name and
are regarded as
in much the
title of the person addressed, with place of
best taste. Ladies do well to use
residence written out fully, including town
white. Buff, light straw color,
county, State, and country if it goes abroad
or manila answer for business
The designation of the street, number, drawer
it is always in
etc., when written upon the letter, is explained
good taste to use
The upper side of the envelope is that con-
For light colored envelopes, a piece of paper
taining the flap. Care should be observed, in
a little smaller than the envelope may be ruled
writing the superscription on the
letter, to have
with black ink over the blue lines, thus, and
the same right side up.
Extensive practice enables
business men to write com-
paratively straight upon the
1 j 1 ill "!/*
A scrap of paper, ruled like this, when placed
envelope, without the aid ot
a line. The inexperienced
inside a light - colored envelope, will enable the
penmaji may be aided in
writing on the buff colored
person writing on the same to trace distinctly
envelope by lead pencil lines,
which should never be used,
these lines, and thus write the superscription
however, unless completely
erased by rubber after the
ink is dry.
FORMS FOR WRITING SUPERSCRIPTIONS.
In writing the superscription, commence
the name a little to the left of the center of
the envelope. The town, on a line beneath,
should extend a little to the right of the name.
The State, next below, should stand by itself
still further to the right. The county may be
on the sameline with the State, towards the left
side of the envelope; thus >
FORM OF SUPERSCRIPTION ON ENVELOPES.
7 ^^^ ff]
-e - 7^2^^2^ , v^d-tT/. ,
For the convenience of the mailing clerk
handling the letter, the postage stamp should
be placed at the upper right hand corner of the
If the town is a large metropolis, the county
may be omitted. In that event the street and
number are usually given, or the post office box.
Each should be written very conspicuously
upon the envelope, for the convenience of the
post office clerk and the mail carrier; thus,
VARIOUS FORMS OF SUPERSCRIPTION.
If written in the care of any one, the follow-
ing may be the form :
If, after remaining in the office at its destina-
tion a certain length of time uncalled for, the
writer is desirous of having the letter forwarded
or returned, the same may be indicated upon
the outside of the envelope ; thus,
If not called for in 10 days,
P. M. please forward to
Ilotelde Ville, Paris, France.
Letter Sent by a Private Party,
Acknowledging on the envelope obligation to the person carrying the sam.
It is usually safest, in nearly all cases, to give
the county, even if the town is well known ; thus,
Tourists, when receiving letters abroad, fre-
quently have their letters directed in the care
of the bankers with whom they deal when on
the continent, the form of superscription being
If not called for in fifteen days, please
Royal Bank of Scotland, Glasgow,
Letter to a Person In the Immediate Vicinity
Sent by carrier, but not through the mail.
VARIOUS FOKMS OF SUPERSCRIPTION.
A letter to Germany will be superscribed
somewhat as follows :
JOHN KOEN1G, Esq.,
Near Berlin, Prussia. PKUSSIA.
Letter from Germany :
Mr. KARL SCHULZE,
of America. ILLINOIS.
The county, town, etc., on a letter to
Ireland, is shown on the envelope as
Mr. PATRICK McGUIRE,
When it is desired to have the letter
returned, if not called for, sooner than it
otherwise would be, the direction may be
so specified upon the upper left hand
corner, similar to the following :
not called for in 10 dlyl, return
W. B. KEEN'; COOKtf * CO.,
CHICAGO, I I.I.I.NOIK.
GEN. H. B. COOKE,
Where it is desired to express the title
of the husband, on a letter or note of
invitation to the husband and wife, the
following form may be used :
His Excellency and Mrs. U. S. Grant.
Governor and Mrs. Wm. H. Brown.
Son. and Mrs. D. B. Henderson.
Rev. and Mrs. Chag. H. Smith.
Professor and Mrs. K. A. Benson.
Where a letter is addressed to a husband
and wife, each of whom have a title, the
address may read as follows :
Drs. John E. and Jane H. Brown.
To a man and woman, engaged as part-
ners in business, but unmarried, the ad-
dress may read :
Mr. Wm. H. Smith and Miss Mary H. Boone.
Or, Wm. H. Smith and Mary H. Boone.
To a husband and wife, where the wife,
alone, has the title, the superscription will
Mr. J. B. and Mrs. Dr. E: L. King.
To a husband and wife, each of whom
have a title, the address may be as follows:
Rev. W H. and Mrs. Dr. A. B. Smith.
Where the wife has a title, and is, alone,
addressed, the form may be '
Rev. Mrs. Chas. D. King.
Or, Rev. Mrs. Jane E. King.
Or, Rev. Jane E. King.
If the lady's husband, alone, has the
title, the address will properly read :
Mrs. Rev. Chas. D. King.
If the lady is unmarried, and is a minis-
ter of the gospel or physician, her address
may read :
Rev. Miss Mary Williams.
Or, Rev. Mary Williams.
Miss Dr. Helen E. Snow.
Or, Or. Helen E. Snmv.
If people wish to have their letters perfectly
secure from observation it is better to seal them
with wax, which cannot be broken without ex-
posure. The ordinary envelope is easily opened,
and sealed again, leaving no trace of the fact ;
though a very heavy fine is imposed as a pen-
alty on any one convicted of opening a letter,
that is not authorized to do so.
In the United States, a letter not called for
within a certain length of time is then adver-
tised, after which it is held thirty days, when,
no owner being found, the letter is forwarded
to the Dead-Letter Office at Washington, where
it is opened. If the address of the person who
wrote the letter can there be learned, the letter
is then returned to the writer.
If the name or address be written or printed
upon the envelope, instead of going to the
Dead-Letter Office, the letter will be returned
to the writer at the expiration of thirty days. If
desirous of having it sooner returned, the writer
should add, " Return in 5 days," or " 10 days,"
etc., as seen in the letter of W. B. Keen, Cooke &
Co., shown above.
It is safest for persons sending letters to
place stamps upon the envelopes themselves,
and not depend upon postmasters or their clerks
to do so, as, in their haste, they sometimes for-
It has been suggested that the State be writ-
ten first upon the envelope ; thus,
As the State to which the letter is directed, is,
however, no more conspicious at the top of the
superscription than at the bottom, there is no
advantage gained in this mode of address, on
the score of legibility.
DIRECTIONS FOR WHITING BUSINESS LETTERS.
N letters of business, use as few words
2. Business letters should be
3. Use a clear, distinct writing,
avoiding all flourish of penmanship
4. Come at once to your subject, and state
it so clearly that it will not be necessary to
guess your meaning.
5. Give town, county, State and date ex-
plicitly. It is frequently of great importance
to know when a letter was written.
6. Read your letter carefully when finished,
to see that you have made no omissions and
no mistakes. Also carefully examine your
envelope, to see that it is rightly directed, with
postage stamp affixed.
7. Copy all business letters of your own by
hand, or with the copying press made for the
8. Send money by Draft, P.O. Money-order,
or Express, taking a receipt therefor ; thus you
have something to show for money, guaranteeing
you against loss. Always state in your letter
the amount of money you send, and by what
9. Write date and by whom sent across the
end of each letter received, and file for future
reference, fastening the letters together with
rubber bands, or binding in a letter-file adapted
to the purpose. The possession of a letter
sometimes prevents litigation and serious mis-
In ordering goods, state very explicitly the
amount, kind, quality, color, shape, size, etc.,
and on what terms wanted. Whether you wish
the same sent by freight or express, and what
express. Much inconvenience is experienced
among business men because of a neglect to
designate explicitly what is wanted.
Should the writer wish to make suggestions,
ask questions, or add other matter to the letter
which is foreign to the subject, such words
should be placed entirely separate from the
order. Of fifty or a hundred letters received
to-day by the merchant, that one which is
mixed up with complaints, enquiries, etc., will
probably be laid over till tomorrow, or until
time can be spared to read it through. Had the
order been explicitly stated, and the suggestions
placed elsewhere, the goods would have been
forwarded immediately. It is, in fact, better to
write the order on a separate sheet from the
Send your order, also, early enough to give
yourself plenty of time in which to receive the
goods before they are needed.
Books, being a common article ordered, may
be taken as an example showing the importance
of giving a careful description of the goods
wanted. To illustrate : be explicit in giving
name of book, name of author, by whom pub-
FORMS OF BUSINESS LETTERS.
lished, style of binding, price at which it is
advertised, etc. Thus, a careless person order-
ing of Harper & Brothers a United States
History will say, " Send me a United States
History." Of course the first query of the
shipping clerk is, " Whose history?" There
are many histories of the United States pub-
lished by as many different authors, and the
clerk is liable to send the one not wanted, in
which case the person ordering is very likely to
unjustly blame Harper & Brothers.
If the writer should say, " Send me a copy
of Willard's History of the United States, by
Emma Willard, published by A. S. Barnes & Co.,
bound in cloth," there would be no liability to
mistake. The following will serve as sample
Form of Letter Ordering Books.
ROCKFOKD, ILL., March 1, 1873.
MESSRS. JANSEN, MCCLTJRG & Co.,
Dear Sirs :
Enclosed find draft for $48.75, for which please
send, by American Express,
10 Tennyson's Poems, Published by Harper & Bros. $1.25 $12.50
10 Thirty Years in the Harem. " " " " 1.50 15.00
10 Literature and Art, by M .Fuller. " Fowler & Wells. 1.00 10.00
5 Getting on in the World, Mathews. S. C. Griggs & Co. 2.25 11.25
Thanking you for the promptitude with which you have filled my
orders heretofore, I am,
Form of an Order to a Dry Goods Merchant.
April 5, 1873.
MESSRS. A. T. STEWART & Co.,
New York ,
Dear Sirs :
Enclosed find Post Office Order for $25, for which
please send, by American Express, the following goods:
2 Lancaster table spreads ($3.50) $ 7.00
4 prs. Alexandre Kid Gloves ($2.50), No. 6^, Brown,
Green, Yellow, Black. 10.00
8 yds. Calico, Brown with small figure (25c.) 2.00
12 " " White " "' pink dot " 8.00
2 Linen Handkerchiefs (50c.) 1.00
4 prs. Ladies' Cotton Hose (50c.), No. 9, 2.00
MRS. MARY WILSON,
From a Young Man Commencing Business, to a Wholesale
House, with Order.
RACINE, Wis., Aug. 10, 18.
MESSRS. FIELD, LEITER & Co.,
Dear Sirs :
Having recently commenced business for myself,
with fair prospects of success, I shall be pleased to open an account
with your house, and trust it will be to our mutual advantage. Should
you think favorably of the matter, you will please fill the accompa-
nying order with the least possible delay and on your best terms.
For testimonials, I refer you to Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co., of your
city, by whom I have been, until recently, employed; but as this is
my first transaction with your house, upon forwarding me an invoice
of goods and deducting your usual discount for cash, I will remit a
sight draft on the First National Bank of your city, for the amount,
by return mail. Expecting your usual prompt attention, I am,
Reply from Wholesale House, with Invoice.
CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 18.
Mr. HENUY MAYNARD,
Dear Sir :
We take pleasure in sending this day, by your order,
the enclosed invoice of goods, amounting to $1,400, subject to 5 per
cent discount f.r prompt cash.
Your references being entirely satisfactory, we have no hesitation
in opening an account and allowing you our best terms. Trusting
that the goods, which are shipped by express, will arrive safely and
meet your favor, we are,
FIELD, LEITER & CO.
Requesting Information Concerning the Opening of a Store.
BOSTON, MASS., Sept. 18, 18.
CHAS. H. WILLIAMS, ESQ.,
Dear Sir :
My partner and myself being desirous of establish-
ing a branch store in the Clothing trade, I take the privilege of a
friend in asking you to send me the number of Clothing stores already
in your village, and such other information as may be necessary, con-
cerning the feasibility of establishing our business in your place. An
early reply will greatly oblige,
Yours Very Truly,
WM. B. HOPKINS.
Answer to the Foregoing,
BENNINGTON, VT., Sept. 20, 18.
MR. WM. B. HOPKINS,
I have taken occasion to enquire in relation to the
extent and number of Clothing stores in this place, and am happy to
inform you that, while that department of trade is very fairly repre-
sented, there seems to be a good opening for a first class store, such as
your house would undoubtedly establish.
There is also a large store just vacated, in the center of the village,
one of the best locations in the town, which can be had at reasonable
rent. Hoping that you may carry out your design of locating here,
and trusting that you may realize your expectations, I am,
CHAS. H. WILLIAMS.
FORMS OF BUSINESS LETTERS.
Enquiry Concerning Real Estate.
SPKINGLAKE, MICH., Sept. 4, 18 .
MESSRS. S. TOWN & SON,
Having heard much said in praise of your beauti-
ful city, particularly concerning- railroad privileges, church and educa-
tional advantages, I have concluded to make your town my permanent
place of abode, if I can locate myself aright, inasmuch as I have a large
family of children to educate, and the numerous lines of railway radi-
ating from your city will afford me the desired accommodations in my
My object in writing you at present is to learn your best terms for a
residence containing not less than ten rooms, having from six to ten
acres of land attached, situated not over a mile from the postoffice.
An immediate answer will oblige,
Your Obedient Servant,
HARVEY B. WILCOX.
GALESBURG, ILL., Sept. i, 1878.
To THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF THE C., B. & Q. R. R.,
Dear Sir :
I herewith tender my resignation as local superin-
tendent of the railroad repair works in this city, my labors in behalf of
your company to cease October i, 1878.
D. B. LAWSON.
Short Form of Resignation.
PITTSBURGH, PA., Dec. 2, 1879.