Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Entry #17: Letter Writing Etiquette circa 1869

"No one should write letters at all who cannot write in a clear, fair hand, that "those who run may read." In a busy ago like the present, when every one's time has a certain value, we have no right to impose the reading of hieroglyphics upon our correspondents...The handwriting of a lady or gentleman should not be commercial or scholastic, but firm and characteristic. All affectations in writing should be avoided, such as sloping one's hand to the left, the use of flourishes, undue size in the characters, or a diminutiveness of the same to try eyesight and patience. The signature should be simple and unostentatious. Nothing can be more absurd than to see a person whose name can have no significance to the world in general, sign himself as elaborately as if he were the Pope or President at least..." (Frost, 151)

The above is from the book, "Frost's Laws and by-laws of American society: a condensed but thorough treatise on etiquette and its usages in America, containing plain and reliable directions for deportment in every situation in life," by S. A. Frost (c. 1869)

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