History of letter writing

Letters were widely written to exchange messages during the 18th century in England. At that time, in the absence of other means of communication such as the telephone and fax, people wrote countless letters throughout their lives to convey messages. Therefore, writing letters was a necessary writing skill that everyone learned and practiced.

Literary scholars had introduced a style of letter writing known as the period style. Normally, all business correspondence was done solely in this style. It was very different from today’s style of writing that focuses on brevity to such an extent that even the spelling of words is truncated. Previously, bird feathers were used to write letters. For a long time they were thought with a feather on top. Each feather was designed to have a unique cut. It was a precious possession that people passed on to their next generation.

In those days, different types of paper were used for different letters. For example, laid paper was commonly used in formal letter writing. Furthermore, the letters were written following certain guidelines. For example, a letter would begin with the return address followed by a salutation such as Dear, My Dear, Dear Sir, or Dear Madam. In formal letters, the year was included as part of the date. The name and position of the recipient was also mentioned. Even the closing note was very different from today. Some of the examples are:

• I have the honor to be

• With the best love

• Always yours

• Your Necessary

• Very Respectful

• I am yours forever

After writing a letter, sealing wax was used to bind the pages of the letter. The color of the wax symbolized the nature of a message. For example, black wax meant notification of the death of someone in a family. Since there were no envelopes to enclose the letter, the recipient’s name and address were written on a piece of paper and folded around the letter. Later, when envelopes and postage stamps were introduced, the value of a stamp was determined by the number of sheets written on. Therefore, it was common practice to write small print and fill a page completely in order to reduce the number of pages. Unlike today, it was the recipient who paid for the postage.

If you want to explore the writing style of the time, you can read various classics, letters, and other literary works from that time. Some of the literary works include a series of letters containing dialogues between literary characters.

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