Principles of Letter Writing - Forms - Notes
The Heading has three parts, viz., the name of the place, the date of
writing and the designation of the person or persons addressed; thus:
73 New Street,
Newark, N. J.,
February 1st, 1910.
Messr. Ginn and Co.,
The name of the place should never be omitted; in cities, street and
number should always be given, and except when the city is large and very
conspicuous, so that there can be no question as to its identity with
another of the same or similar name, the abbreviation of the State should
be appended, as in the above, Newark, N. J. There is another Newark in
the State of Ohio. Owing to failure to comply with this rule many letters
go astray. The date should be on every letter, especially business
letters. The date should never be put at the bottom in a business letter,
but in friendly letters this may be done. The designation of the
person or persons addressed differs according to the relations of the
correspondents. Letters of friendship may begin in many ways according to
the degrees of friendship or intimacy. Thus:
My dear Wife:
My dear Husband:
My dear Friend:
My darling Mother:
My dearest Love:
Dear George: etc.
To mark a lesser degree of intimacy such formal designations as the
following may be employed:
My dear Sir:
Dear Mr. Smith:
Dear Madam: etc.
For clergymen who have the degree of Doctor of Divinity, the designation
is as follows:
Rev. Alban Johnson, D. D.
My dear Sir: or Rev. and dear Sir: or more familiarly
Dear Dr. Johnson:
Bishops of the Roman and Anglican Communions are addressed as
The Rt. Rev., the Bishop of Long Island. or
The Rt. Rev. Frederick Burgess, Bishop of Long Island.
Rt. Rev. and dear Sir:
Archbishops of the Roman Church are addressed as Most Reverend and
Cardinals as Eminence. Thus:
The Most Rev. Archbishop Katzer.
Most Rev. and dear Sir:
His Eminence, James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore.
May it please your Eminence:
The title of the Governor of a State or territory and of the President of
the United States is Excellency. However, Honorable is more commonly
applied to Governors:--
His Excellency, William Howard Taft,
President of the United States.
His Excellency, Charles Evans Hughes,
Governor of the State of New York.
Honorable Franklin Fort,
Governor of New Jersey.
The general salutation for Officers of the Army and Navy is Sir. The
rank and station should be indicated in full at the head of the letter,
General Joseph Thompson,
Commanding the Seventh Infantry.
Rear Admiral Robert Atkinson,
Commanding the Atlantic Squadron.
The title of officers of the Civil Government is Honorable and they are
addressed as Sir.
Hon. Nelson Duncan,
Senator from Ohio.
Hon. Norman Wingfield,
Secretary of the Treasury.
Hon. Rupert Gresham,
Mayor of New York.
Presidents and Professors of Colleges and Universities are generally
addressed as Sir or Dear Sir.
Professor Ferguson Jenks,
President of .......... University.
Sir: or Dear Sir:
Presidents of Societies and Associations are treated as business men and
addressed as Sir or Dear Sir.
Mr. Joseph Banks,
President of the Night Owls.
Dear Sir: or Sir:
Doctors of Medicine are addressed as Sir: My dear Sir: Dear Sir:
and more familiarly My dear Dr: or Dear Dr: as
Ryerson Pitkin, M. D.
My dear Dr:
Ordinary people with no degrees or titles are addressed as Mr. and Mrs.
and are designed Dear Sir: Dear Madam: and an unmarried woman of any age
is addressed on the envelope as Miss So-and-so, but always designed in
the letter as
The plural of Mr. as in addressing a firm is Messrs, and the
corresponding salutation is Dear Sirs: or Gentlemen:
In England Esq. is used for Mr. as a mark of slight superiority and
in this country it is sometimes used, but it is practically obsolete.
Custom is against it and American sentiment as well. If it is used it
should be only applied to lawyers and justices of the peace.
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