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Victorian Etiquette - Do's and Don'ts of
Letter Writing

As with all the other forms of proper decorum dictated by Victorian etiquette, there are guidelines for writing letters as well. These are:

1. Never write an anonymous letter. It is the sign of a coward. Anyone who receives such a letter should not give any consideration to its content.
2. Never write personal conversation on a postcard as they are considered a "cheap" version of a letter.
3. Formal letters should never be written on lined paper.
4. Always use a full sheet of paper for your letters; never a half sheet despite its economy.
5. Never use underlining in a letter to further emphasize your meaning.
6. Do not abbreviate; abbreviation is the sign of hasty writing.
7. Do not erase or cross out misspelled words in a letter. Should you make a spelling error, the letter should be rewritten.
8. Avoid the "postscript" in everything but the most friendly letter.
9. Do not write missed thoughts in the letter's margins. Place them on a separate page.
10. Give every subject its own paragraph.
11. Letters should always be handwritten; never use a typewriter for a personal letter.
12. Always match the style of writing to the letter type of letter being written; i.e. a business letter should be polite but distant in tone.
13. Fold your letter correctly the first time, never attempt to refold.
14. Read the letter over carefully before sending it.
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Dos and Don'ts pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Manner of Address pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Styles of Letters

pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Basic Rules pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Calling Cards pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On Calling
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) At Teas/Receptions pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) At the Theater pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On Mourning
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) The Dinner Party pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Shopping pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Breaches of Etiquette
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On the Street pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) In Church pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On Traveling

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