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- The Parts Of A Letter
- Being Appropriate—what To Avoid
- Telegrams
- The Cost Of A Letter
- Personal Business Letters
- Children's Letters
- The Purpose Of The Letter

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- The Parts Of A Letter
- Being Appropriate—what To Avoid
- Telegrams
- The Cost Of A Letter
- Personal Business Letters
- Children's Letters
- The Purpose Of The Letter



Personal Business Letters








One does not have to be in business in order to write "business letters." A thousand personal affairs crop up which require letters of a commercial rather than a social nature. There is only one rule—say what you have to say clearly and quickly. Although the letter should be written on the ordinary social stationery and follow the placing and spacing of the social letter, no time should be wasted in trying to make the letter appear friendly and chatty. The clerks in business houses who usually attend to the mail seem to be picked for their obtuseness, and do not often understand a letter which is phrased in other than commonplace terms. Once I overheard a conversation between an Italian shoemaker and a Boston woman over the repairing of a pair of shoes. The woman wanted the soles fastened on with nails. The only word she knew for that operation was "tapped." The only word the shoemaker knew was "nailed." They were absolutely at a deadlock until the shoemaker, knowing that the woman did not want the soles sewed on, proceeded to demonstrate with hammer and nail just what he meant by "nailed." It is well to remember that motion pictures do not accompany letters and hence to take for granted that if a way exists for getting what you mean wrong that way will be found. It is unfortunately safe to take for granted that a personal business letter is going to be read by a moron.


Ordering goods from a department store


500 Park Avenue,


April 3, 1922.


L. Burton & Company,


Fifth Ave. & 39th St.,


New York


Gentlemen:


Please send me as soon as possible and charge to my account the following goods:


1 doz. hemstitched huck towels, large size, from $12.00 to $15.00 a dozen


2 pairs infants' laced shoes, sizes 4 D and 4-1/2 D. One pair to be returned as I am not certain of the correct size.


3 pairs children's rompers, size 2 years, band knee, 1 all white, 1 white with blue collar, 1 white with pink collar.


Very truly yours,


Katherine G. Evans


(Mrs. John Evans)


To correct an error


500 Park Avenue,


April 3, 1922.


Caldwell Sons Co.,


8941 Fifth Avenue,


New York, N. Y.


Gentlemen:


May I call your attention to my account rendered on April 1st? There would seem to be two errors, as follows:


Under date of March 18th I am charged with four pairs of silk stockings at $3.50 a pair, although I purchased only three pairs.


On March 22nd I am credited with one pair of children's shoes at $5.00. I had two pairs sent on approval, but returned both of them as neither pair fitted.


I enclose my check in the sum of $148.96 which is the total less the overcharge. To assist in the adjustment I also enclose the original slip for the stockings and the driver's call receipt for the two pairs of shoes.


Very truly yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


(Mrs. John Evans)



Or instead of enclosing these slips it is often better to mention the numbers that appear on them and to retain the slips themselves.



Letter to department store requesting charge account


1018 South Elm Street,


Chicago, Ill.,


May 3, 1922.


Marshall Field & Co.,


Chicago, Ill.


Gentlemen:


I have recently come to live in Chicago and I should like to open a charge account with you.


My present accounts are all in New York and I can give you the following references:



Lord & Taylor


Tiffany & Co.


Abercrombie & Fitch Co.


J. & J. Slater


Lincoln Trust Co.



Very truly yours,


Alberta T. White.


(Mrs. James White)


Asking for estimate for draperies and furnishings


500 Park Avenue,


May 16, 1922.


Forsythe & White,


438 Fifth Avenue,


New York, N. Y.


Gentlemen:


Will you send me an approximate estimate of the cost of materials and labor necessary for the doing of the following work:


Slip covers with valances of English hand-blocked linen for two large wing chairs and one chaise-longue.


Two reversible portières of the linen for doorways 11 feet high and 8 feet wide.


Three pairs curtains for casement windows 6 feet high and 5 feet wide, with pleated valance. These curtains to be of habutai silk.


Of course I shall understand that this is purely an approximate estimate.


I should like to have this as soon as you can conveniently send it.


Very truly yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


(Mrs. John Evans)


Declining to have work done as estimated


500 Park Avenue,


May 23, 1922.


Forsythe & White,


438 Fifth Avenue,


New York, N. Y.


Gentlemen:


Thank you for your letter of 19th May in answer to mine of the 16th, requesting an estimate for slip covers and curtains.


Your estimate calls for more outlay than I should care to make at the present time, so I shall have to postpone the matter until next year.


Very truly yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


(Mrs. John Evans)


Recommendation for a servant


June 14, 1922.


This is to certify that Katrina Hellman has been in my employ as assistant nurse for one year. During that period I have found her honest, capable, and reliable. I can give her an unqualified recommendation.


K. G. Evans.


(Mrs. John Evans)


For information concerning a servant


5300 Deming Place


Chicago, Ill.,


May 9, 1922.


Mrs. John Evans,


500 Park Avenue,


New York.


Dear Madam:


I hope you will pardon me, but I should be very much indebted to you for any facts concerning Gaston Duval, who has been in your employ as chauffeur. If you will give me this information I shall treat it as confidential.


Yours very truly,


Cecelia B. Duke.


(Mrs. Samuel Duke)


Answers to request for information concerning a servant


500 Park Avenue,


New York City,


May 13, 1922.


Mrs. Samuel Duke,


5300 Deming Place,


Chicago, Ill.


Dear Madam:


I have your inquiry of May the ninth concerning my former chauffeur, Gaston Duval.


I am very glad to recommend him. He is sober and honest, and I always found him thoroughly dependable during his fifteen months in my employ. He drives well and is an expert mechanician.


Yours very truly,


K. G. Evans,


(Mrs. John Evans)


500 Park Avenue,


New York, N. Y.,


May 13, 1922.


Mrs. Samuel Duke,


5300 Deming Place,


Chicago, Ill.


Dear Madam:


I have your inquiry of May the ninth concerning my former chauffeur, Gaston Duval.


I hope that you will not think me discourteous but I should much prefer not to discuss him.


Yours very truly,


K. G. Evans.


(Mrs. John Evans)


(In letters which in effect decline to give a recommendation it is wiser not to set out facts or even actually to decline to give the recommendation. See on the Law of Letters. The following letter to a servant, which is an indirect way of declining to recommend, is on the danger line.)


To a servant


Harbor View,


Long Island,


August 29, 1921.


My dear Margaret,


Mrs. Hubert Forbes has written me concerning your qualifications as cook, and asks if I would recommend you in every way. Also I have your request to me for a reference.


With regard to your skill in cooking there can be no question. I can recommend you as having served me for two years and I can vouch for your honesty. But, as you know, you are not to be depended on—for instance, to return promptly after your days off or to do any work at all during your frequent disputes with the butler.


This I have told Mrs. Forbes. I could not conscientiously do otherwise; but I have asked that she try you in the hope that you have decided to remedy these faults.


Very truly yours,


F. B. Scott.


(Mrs. Harrison Scott)


Harbor View, L. I.,


August 29, 1921.


Mrs. Hubert Forbes,


Bayshore, L. I.


My dear Mrs. Forbes:


I have your letter of August twenty-fifth concerning my former cook, Margaret Dickson. She is an extremely good cook. She was with me for two years, and I can vouch for her honesty, but she is not to be depended on—for instance, to return promptly after her days off or to do any work during her frequent quarrels with the butler. But she seems anxious to improve, and if you would care to give her a trial, I think she might be satisfactory in new surroundings.


I hope this reply will answer your questions.


Very truly yours,


Flora B. Scott.


Letter to a former servant


Dear Delia,


If you will not be too busy next week, will you come out and take care of the children for three or four days? Mr. Stone and I expect to be away. I am sure your husband can spare you. You will be surprised at the way Jack is growing. He often speaks of you.


Let me know immediately.


Cordially yours,


B. L. Stone.


(Note the signature—the use of initials instead of writing the full name.)


Inquiry concerning house for rental


48 Cottage Road,


Somerville, Mass.,


April 8, 1921.


Schuyler Realty Company,


49 Fulton Street,


Brooklyn, N. Y.


Gentlemen:


Will you be good enough to send me the following information concerning the house at 28 Bedford Park which you have advertised for rental:


Location of the house with regard to subway and L station, and the nearest public school. General character of the immediate neighborhood.


Distance to the nearest Methodist Episcopal Church.


Condition and kind of plumbing in each of the three bathrooms.


Make of furnace and the amount of coal necessary to heat the house.


Is the house completely screened? Are there awnings?


The floors—of what wood and in what condition are they?


Is the cellar dry?


Where is the laundry?


When can the house be ready for occupancy?


I should like to have the facts as soon as you can furnish them.


Very truly yours,


George M. Hall.


Inquiry concerning house for purchase


345 Amsterdam Avenue,


Philadelphia, Pa.,


May 10, 1921.


Wheaton Manor Development Co.,


Dobbs Ferry, New York.


Gentlemen:


Will you let me know without delay, if possible, if you have any property in your immediate neighborhood fulfilling the following requirements:


House—Twelve rooms, four bathrooms, and sun porch. A modern house of stucco and half-timber construction preferred.


Ground—about five acres, part woodland, part cleared; lawn, vegetable, and flower garden.


Distance from railroad station—not more than fifteen minutes' ride.


I do not want to pay more than $25,000.


I shall be here until the twentieth of the month. After that a reply will reach me at the Hotel Pennsylvania, New York.


Very truly yours,


Jerome Hutchinson.


Inquiry concerning a child at school:


1842 Riverside Drive,


New York, N. Y.,


February 10, 1922.


My dear Professor Ritchie,


My son John's report for the term just closed is far from satisfactory. While I do not expect perfection from him, I think—in fact, I know—he is capable of better work than is shown by his present rating.


I observe that he did not pass in mathematics, a subject in which he was always first in the elementary school. My first thought was that possibly he was not physically well, but his activity in athletics would seem to refute this. This leads me to another thought—perhaps he is giving too much time and interest to athletics. What is your opinion and what course would you recommend?


Would it be possible by coaching to have him make up the required averages?


As I am leaving New York in two weeks for an extended trip, I would like to take some steps toward improving his scholarship status. Will you let me hear from you as soon as possible?


Very truly yours,


John Crandall.


Letter ordering Easter gifts from a magazine shopping service


Quogue, Long Island,


March 27, 1922.


Standard Shopping Service,


100 West 38th Street,


New York, N. Y.


Gentlemen:


I enclose my check for $25.00 for which please send by express the following articles to



Miss Dorothea Allen

Sunrise Lodge

Highland, Pa.



Two sterling silver candlesticks in Colonial pattern at $12.50 each, on Page 178, March issue.


Or if you cannot secure them, will you purchase as second choice


Two jars in Kashan ware, with blue as the predominating color?


Very truly yours,


Laura Waite.


(Mrs. Herbert Waite)










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Previous: Personal Letters—social And Friendly



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