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- The Parts Of A Letter
- Being Appropriate—what To Avoid
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- 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 Letters—social And Friendly








Invitations and Acknowledgments


General Directions


The format of an invitation is not so important as its taste. Some of the more formal sorts of invitations—as to weddings—have become rather fixed, and the set wordings are carried through regardless of the means at hand for proper presentation. For instance, one often sees a wedding invitation in impeccable form but badly printed on cheap paper. It would be far better, if it is impossible to get good engraving or if first-class work proves to be too expensive, to buy good white notepaper and write the invitations. A typewriter is, of course, out of the question either for sending or answering any sort of social invitation. Probably some time in the future the typewriter will be used, but at present it is associated with business correspondence and is supposed to lack the implied leisure of hand writing.


The forms of many invitations, as I have said, are fairly fixed. But they are not hallowed. One may vary them within the limits of good taste, but on the whole it is considerably easier to accept the forms in use and not try to be different. If the function itself is going to be very different from usual then the invitation itself may be as freakish as one likes—it may be written or printed on anything from a postcard to a paper bag. The sole question is one of appropriateness. But there is a distinct danger in trying to be ever so unconventional and all that. One is more apt than not to make a fool of one's self. And then, too, being always clever is dreadfully hard on the innocent by-standers. Here are things to be avoided:


Do not have an invitation printed or badly engraved. Hand writing is better than bad mechanical work.


Do not use colored or fancy papers.


Do not use single sheets.


Do not use a very large or a very small sheet—either is inappropriate.


Do not have a formal phraseology for an informal affair.


Do not abbreviate anything—initials may be used in informal invitations and acceptances, but, in the formal, "H. E. Jones" invariably has to become "Horatio Etherington Jones."


Do not send an answer to a formal invitation in the first person.


A formal invitation is written in the third person and must be so answered.


Do not use visiting cards either for acceptances or regrets even though they are sometimes used for invitations. The practice of sending a card with "Accepts" or "Regrets" written on it is discourteous.


Do not seek to be decorative in handwriting—the flourishing Spencerian is impossible.


Do not overdo either the formality or the informality.


Do not use "R.S.V.P." (the initials of the French words "Répondez, s'il vous plaît," meaning "Answer, if you please") unless the information is really necessary for the making of arrangements. It ought to be presumed that those whom you take the trouble to invite will have the sense and the courtesy to answer.


In sending an evening invitation where there are husband and wife, both must be included, unless, of course, the occasion is "stag." If the invitation is to be extended to a daughter, then her name is included in the invitation. In the case of more than one daughter, they will receive a separate invitation addressed to "The Misses Smith." Each male member of the family other than husband should receive a separately mailed invitation.


An invitation, even the most informal, should always be acknowledged within a week of its receipt. It is the height of discourtesy to leave the hostess in doubt either through a tardy answer or through the undecided character of your reply. The acknowledgment must state definitely whether or not you accept.


The acknowledgment of an invitation sent to husband and wife must include both names but is answered by the wife only. The name of a daughter also must appear if it appears in the invitation. If Mr. and Mrs. Smith receive an invitation from Mr. and Mrs. Jones, their acknowledgment must include the names of both Mr. and Mrs. Jones, but the envelope should be addressed to Mrs. Jones only.


FORMAL INVITATIONS


Wedding invitations should be sent about three weeks—certainly not later than fifteen days—before the wedding. Two envelopes should be used, the name and address appearing on the outside envelope, but only the name on the inside one. The following are correct for formal invitations:


For a church wedding


(A)


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Honour of

———— (Name written in)

Presence at the Marriage of Their Daughter

Dorothy

and

Mr. Philip Brewster

On the Evening of Monday, the Eighth of June

at Six o'Clock

At The Church of the Heavenly Rest

Fifth Avenue, New York City



Specimen of formal wedding invitation Specimen of formal wedding invitation


(B)


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Honour of Your Presence at

The Marriage of Their Daughter

Dorothy

and

Mr. Philip Brewster

On Monday, June the Eighth

At Six o'Clock

At the Church of the Heavenly Rest

Fifth Avenue, New York


For a home wedding


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Pleasure of

———— (Name written in)

Company at the Marriage of Their Daughter

Dorothy

and

Mr. Philip Brewster

On Wednesday, June the Tenth

At Twelve o'Clock

Five Hundred Park Avenue


Or either of the forms A and B for a church wedding may be used. "Honour of your presence" is more formal than "pleasure of your company" and hence is more appropriate for a church wedding.



It is presumed that an invitation to a home wedding includes the wedding breakfast or reception, but an invitation to a church wedding does not. A card inviting to the wedding breakfast or reception is enclosed with the wedding invitation. Good forms are:


For a wedding breakfast


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Pleasure of

———— (Name written in)

At Breakfast on Tuesday, June the Fourth

at Twelve o'Clock

500 Park Avenue


For a wedding reception


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Pleasure of Your Company

At the Wedding Reception of Their Daughter

Dorothy

and

Mr. Philip Brewster

On Monday Afternoon, June the Third

At Four o'Clock

Five Hundred Park Avenue



Specimens of formal invitations to a wedding reception Specimens of formal invitations to a wedding reception


For a second marriage


The forms followed in a second marriage—either of a widow or a divorcée—are quite the same as above. The divorcée uses whatever name she has taken after the divorce—the name of her ex-husband or her maiden name if she has resumed it. The widow sometimes uses simply Mrs. Philip Brewster or a combination, as Mrs. Dorothy Evans Brewster. The invitations are issued in the name of the nearest relative—the parent or parents, of course, if living. The forms are:


(A)


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Honour of Your Presence

At the Marriage of Their Daughter

Dorothy

(Mrs. Philip Brewster)

to

Mr. Leonard Duncan

On Thursday, April the Third

At Six o'Clock

Trinity Chapel


(B)


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Honour of Your Presence

At the Marriage of Their Daughter

Mrs. Dorothy Evans Brewster

to

Mr. Leonard Duncan

On Thursday, April the Third

At Six o'Clock

Trinity Chapel


If there are no near relatives, the form may be:


(C)


The Honour of Your Presence is Requested

At the Marriage of

Mrs. Dorothy Evans Brewster

and

Mr. Leonard Duncan

On Thursday, April the Third

At Six o'Clock

Trinity Chapel


In formal invitations "honour" is spelled with a "u."


Recalling an Invitation


The wedding may have to be postponed or solemnized privately, owing to illness or death, or it may be put off altogether. In such an event the invitations will have to be recalled. The card recalling may or may not give a reason, according to circumstances. The cards should be engraved if time permits, but they may have to be written.


Convenient forms are:


(A)


Owing to the Death of Mr. Philip Brewster's Mother,

Mr. and Mrs. Evans beg to

Recall the Invitations for

Their Daughter's Wedding on

Monday, June the Eighth.



Specimen of wedding announcement Specimen of wedding announcement


(B)


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans beg to Recall

The Invitations for the Marriage of

Their Daughter, Dorothy, and Mr. Philip

Brewster, on Monday, June the Eighth


Wedding announcements


If a wedding is private, no formal invitations are sent out; they are unnecessary, for only a few relatives or intimate friends will be present and they will be asked by word of mouth or by a friendly note. The wedding may be formally announced by cards mailed on the day of the wedding. The announcement will be made by whoever would have sent out wedding invitations—by parents, a near relative, or by the bride and groom, according to circumstances. The custom with the bride's name in the case of a widow or divorcée follows that of wedding invitations. An engraved announcement is not acknowledged (although a letter of congratulations——may often be sent). A card is sent to the bride's parents or whoever has sent the announcements. The announcement may be in the following form:


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Announce the Marriage of Their Daughter

Dorothy

to

Mr. Philip Brewster

On Monday, June the Tenth

One Thousand Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-Two


Replying to the invitation


The acceptance or the declination of a formal invitation is necessarily formal but naturally has to be written by hand. It is better to use double notepaper than a correspondence card and it is not necessary to give a reason for being unable to be present—although one may be given. It is impolite to accept or regret only a day or two before the function—the letter should be written as soon as possible after the receipt of the invitation. The letter may be indented as is the engraved invitation, but this is not at all necessary. The forms are:


Accepting


Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham Smith

accept with pleasure

Mr. and Mrs. Evans's

kind invitation to be present

at the marriage of their daughter

Dorothy

and

Mr. Philip Brewster

on Monday, June the twelfth

at twelve o'clock

(and afterward at the wedding breakfast)


Or it may be written out:


Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham Smith accept with pleasure Mr. and Mrs. Evans's kind invitation to be present at the marriage of their daughter Dorothy and Mr. Philip Brewster on Monday, June the twelfth at twelve o'clock (and afterward at the wedding breakfast).


Regretting


Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham Smith

regret exceedingly that they

are unable to accept

Mr. and Mrs. Evans's

kind invitation to be present

at the marriage of their daughter

Dorothy

and

Mr. Philip Brewster

on Monday, June the twelfth

(and afterward at the wedding breakfast)


Or this also may be written out. The portion in parentheses will be omitted if one has not been asked to the wedding breakfast or reception.


For the formal dinner


Formal dinner invitations are usually engraved, as in the following example. In case they are written, they may follow the same form or the letter form. If addressed paper is used the address is omitted from the end. The acknowledgment should follow the wording of the invitation.


(A)



Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Pleasure of

Mr. and Mrs. Trent's

Company at Dinner

On Thursday, October the First

at Seven o'Clock

and Afterward for the Play (or Opera, etc.)


500 Park Avenue



(B)


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans Request the Pleasure of

Mr. and Mrs. Trent's

Company for Dinner and Opera

on Thursday, October the First

at Seven o'Clock


Accepting



Mr. and Mrs. George Trent accept with much pleasure

Mr. and Mrs. Evans's

kind invitation for dinner

on Thursday, October the first,

at seven o'clock

and afterward for the opera


788 East Forty-Sixth Street



Regretting



Mr. and Mrs. George Trent

regret that they are

unable to accept

the kind invitation of

Mr. and Mrs. Evans

for dinner and opera

on Thursday, October the first,

owing to a previous engagement.


788 East Forty-Sixth Street



For a dinner not at home



Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Pleasure of

Mrs. and Miss Pearson's

Company at Dinner

At Sherry's

on Friday, March the Thirtieth

At Quarter Past Seven o'Clock


500 Park Avenue



Accepting



Mrs. Richard Pearson and Miss Pearson

accept with much pleasure

Mr. and Mrs. Evans's

very kind invitation for dinner

at Sherry's

on Friday, March the thirtieth

at quarter past seven o'clock


640 West Seventy-Second Street



Regretting



Mrs. Richard Pearson and Miss Pearson

regret exceedingly that they

are unable to accept

Mr. and Mrs. Evans's

very kind invitation for dinner

at Sherry's

on Friday, March the thirtieth

owing to a previous engagement to

dine with Mr. and Mrs. Spencer


640 West Seventy-Second Street




Specimens of formal dinner invitations Specimens of formal dinner invitations


Or the reply may follow the letter form:


Accepting


640 West Seventy-Second Street,


March 16, 1920.


Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pearson accept with pleasure Mrs. John Evans's kind invitation for Friday evening, March the thirtieth.


Regretting


640 West Seventy-Second Street


March 16, 1920.


Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pearson regret sincerely their inability to accept Mrs. John Evans's kind invitation for Friday evening, March the thirtieth.


These acknowledgments, being formal, are written in the third person and must be sent within twenty-four hours.


Dinner "to meet"


If the dinner or luncheon is given to meet a person of importance or a friend from out of town, the purpose should appear in the body of the invitation, thus:


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Pleasure of

Mr. and Mrs. Trent's

Company at Dinner

on Thursday, November the Ninth

at Eight o'Clock

to Meet Mr. William H. Allen


To a formal luncheon



Mrs. John Evans

Requests the Pleasure of

Miss Blake's

Company at Luncheon

To meet Miss Grace Flint

on Tuesday, March the Fourth

at One o'Clock

and Afterward to the Matinée


500 Park Avenue



Accepting



Miss Blake

accepts with pleasure

Mrs. Evans's

very kind invitation for luncheon

on Tuesday, March the fourth

at one o'clock

to meet Miss Flint and to go

afterward to the matinée


232 West Thirty-First Street



Regretting



Miss Blake

regrets that a previous engagement

prevents her from accepting

Mrs. Evans's

very kind invitation for luncheon

on Tuesday, March the fourth

at one o'clock

to meet Miss Flint

and to go afterward to the matinée


832 West Thirty-First Street




Specimens of formal invitations 'to meet' Specimens of formal invitations "to meet"


For the reception


Afternoon receptions and "At Homes" for which engraved invitations are sent out are practically the same as formal "teas."


An invitation is engraved as follows:


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

At Home

Wednesday Afternoon, September Fourth

from Four until Half-Past Seven o'Clock

Five Hundred Park Avenue


These cards are sent out by mail in a single envelope about two weeks or ten days before the event.


The recipient of such a card is not required to send either a written acceptance or regret. One accepts by attending the "At Home." If one does not accept, the visiting card should be sent by mail so that it will reach the hostess on the day of the reception.


Where an answer is explicitly required, then the reply may be as follows:


Accepting


Mrs. John Evans

accepts with pleasure

Mrs. Emerson's

kind invitation for Wednesday afternoon

November the twenty-eighth


Regretting


Mrs. John Evans

regrets that she is unable to accept

Mrs. Emerson's

kind invitation for Wednesday afternoon

November the twenty-eighth


Mrs. John Evans

regrets that she is

unable to be present at

Mrs. Emerson's

At home on Wednesday afternoon

November the twenty-eighth


Reception "to meet"


(A)


Mrs. Bruce Wellington

Requests the Pleasure of

Mrs. Evans's

Presence on Thursday Afternoon, April Fifth

to Meet the Board of Governors

of the

Door-of-Hope Society

from Four-Thirty to Seven o'Clock


Accepting


Mrs. John Evans

accepts with pleasure

Mrs. Wellington's

kind invitation to meet

The Board of Governors

of the

Door-of-Hope Society

On Thursday afternoon, April fifth


Regretting:


Mrs. John Evans

regrets that a previous engagement

prevents her from accepting

Mrs. Wellington's

kind invitation to meet

The Board of Governors of the Door-of-Hope Society

On Thursday afternoon, April fifth


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

Request the Pleasure of Your Company

to Meet

General and Mrs. Robert E. Lee

on Thursday Afternoon, February Fourth

from Four until Seven o'Clock

Five Hundred Park Avenue


If one accepts this invitation, one acknowledges simply by attending. If one is unable to attend, then the visiting card is mailed. If unforeseen circumstances should prevent attending, then a messenger is sent with a card in an envelope to the hostess, to reach her during the reception.


Invitations for afternoon affairs


For afternoon affairs—at homes, teas, garden parties—the invitations are sent out in the name of the hostess alone, or if there be a daughter, or daughters, in society, their names will appear immediately below the name of the hostess.


Mrs. John Evans

The Misses Evans

At Home

Thursday Afternoon, January Eleventh

from Four until Seven o'Clock

Five Hundred Park Avenue


If the purpose of the reception is to introduce a daughter, her name would appear immediately below that of the hostess, as "Miss Evans," without Christian name or initial. If a second daughter is to be introduced at the tea, her name in full is added beneath that of the hostess:


Mrs. John Evans

Miss Ruth Evans

Miss Evans

At Home

Friday Afternoon, January Twentieth

from Four until Seven o'Clock

Five Hundred Park Avenue



Specimens of formal invitations to a dance Specimens of formal invitations to a dance


For balls and dances


The word "ball" is used for an assembly or a charity dance, never otherwise. An invitation to a private house bears "Dancing" or "Cotillion" in one corner of the card. This ball or formal dance invitation is engraved on a white card, sometimes with a blank space so that the guest's name may be written in by the hostess. It would read thus:


(A)



Mr. and Mrs. Charles Elliott

Request the Pleasure of

Mr. and Mrs. Evans's

Company at a Cotillion

to Be Held at the Hotel Ritz-Carlton

on Saturday, December the Third

at Ten o'Clock


Please Address Reply to

347 Madison Avenue



(B)



Mr. and Mrs. Charles Elliott

Request the Pleasure of



Company on Saturday Evening

January the Sixth, at Ten o'Clock

Dancing 347 Madison Avenue



An older style of invitation—without the blank for the written name, but instead the word "your" engraved upon the card—is in perfectly good form. The invitation would be like this:


(C)



Mr. and Mrs. Charles Elliott

Request the Pleasure of Your Company

on Saturday Evening, January the Sixth

at Ten o'Clock

Dancing 347 Madison Avenue



Accepting


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

accept with pleasure

Mr. and Mrs. Elliott's

very kind invitation to a cotillion

to be held at the Hotel Ritz-Carlton

On Saturday, December the third

at ten o'clock


Regretting


Mr. and Mrs. John Evans

regret exceedingly that they

are unable to accept

Mr. and Mrs. Elliott's

kind invitation to attend a dance

on Saturday, January the sixth


In sending a regret the hour is omitted, as, since the recipient will not be present, the time is unimportant.


(D)


The Honour of Your Presence

Is Requested at the Lincoln's Birthday Eve Ball

of the Dark Hollow Country Club

on Monday Evening, February Eleventh

at Half-Past Ten o'Clock

1922


Accepting


Miss Evans accepts with pleasure

the kind invitation of the Dark Hollow Country Club

for Monday evening, February eleventh

at half-past ten o'clock


For christenings


Christenings are sometimes made formal. In such case engraved cards are sent out two or three weeks ahead. A good form is:


Mr. and Mrs. Philip Brewster

Request the Pleasure of Your Company

at the Christening of Their Son

on Sunday Afternoon, April Seventeenth

At Three o'clock

at the Church of the Redeemer


Accepting


Mr. and Mrs. Charles Elliot

accept with pleasure

Mr. and Mrs. Brewster's

kind invitation to attend

the christening of their son

on Sunday afternoon, April seventeenth

at three o'clock


A reason for not accepting may or may not be given—it is better to put in a reason if you have one.


Regretting


Mr. and Mrs. Charles Elliott

regret that a previous engagement

prevents their accepting

Mr. and Mrs. Brewster's

kind invitation to the christening of their son

on Sunday afternoon, April seventeenth


INFORMAL INVITATIONS


For a wedding


An engraved invitation always implies a somewhat large or elaborate formal function. An informal affair requires simply a written invitation in the first person.


The informal wedding is one to which are invited only the immediate family and intimate friends. The reason may be simply the desire for a small, quiet affair or it may be a recent bereavement. The bride-to-be generally writes these invitations. The form may be something like this:


(A)


June 2, 1922.


Dear Mrs. Smith,


On Wednesday, June the twelfth, at three o'clock Mr. Brewster and I are to be married. The ceremony will be at home and we are asking only a few close friends. I hope that you and Mr. Smith will be able to come.


Yours very sincerely,


Dorothy Evans.


(B)


June 16, 1922.


Dear Mary,


Owing to the recent death of my sister, Mr. Brewster and I are to be married quietly at home. The wedding will be on Wednesday, June the twentieth, at eleven o'clock. We are asking only a few intimate friends and I shall be so glad if you will come.


Sincerely yours,


Dorothy Evans.


Accepting


June 7, 1922.


Dear Dorothy,


We shall be delighted to attend your wedding on Wednesday, June the twelfth, at three o'clock.


We wish you and Mr. Brewster every happiness.


Sincerely yours,


Helen Gray Smith.


Regretting


June 4, 1922.


Dear Dorothy,


I am so sorry that I shall be unable to attend your wedding. The "Adriatic" is sailing on the tenth and Father and I have engaged passage.


Let me wish you and Mr. Brewster every happiness.


Sincerely yours,


Mary Lyman.


For dinners and luncheons


An informal invitation to dinner is sent by the wife, for her husband and herself, to the wife. This invitation must include the latter's husband. It is simply a friendly note. The wife signs her Christian name, her maiden name (or more usually the initial of her maiden name), and her married name.


Five Hundred Park Avenue,


December 5th, 1922.


My dear Mrs. Trent,


Will you and Mr. Trent give us the pleasure of your company at a small dinner on Tuesday, December the twelfth, at seven o'clock?


I hope you will not be otherwise engaged on that evening as we are looking forward to seeing you.


Very sincerely yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


To cancel an informal dinner invitation


My dear Mrs. Trent,


On account of the sudden death of my brother, I regret to be obliged to recall the invitation for our dinner on Tuesday, December the twelfth.


Sincerely yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


December 8, 1922.


Accepting


788 East Forty-Sixth Street,


December 7th, 1922.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


Mr. Trent and I will be very glad to dine with you on Tuesday, December the twelfth, at seven o'clock.


With kind regards, I am


Very sincerely yours,


Charlotte B. Trent


Regretting


788 East Forty-Sixth Street,


December 7th, 1922.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


We regret deeply that we cannot accept your kind invitation to dine with you on Tuesday, December the twelfth. Mr. Trent and I, unfortunately, have a previous engagement for that evening.


With cordial regards, I am


Yours very sincerely,


Charlotte B. Trent.


The daughter as hostess


When a daughter must act as hostess in her father's home, she includes his name in every dinner invitation she issues, as in the following:


340 Madison Avenue,


January 2, 1921.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


Father wishes me to ask whether you and Mr. Evans will give us the pleasure of dining with us on Wednesday, January the fifteenth, at quarter past seven o'clock. We do hope you can come.


Very sincerely yours,


Edith Haines.


The answer to this invitation of a daughter-hostess must be sent to the daughter, not to the father.


Accepting


My dear Miss Haines,


We shall be delighted to accept your father's kind invitation to dine with you on Wednesday, January the fifteenth, at quarter past seven o'clock.


With most cordial wishes, I am


Very sincerely yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


January 5, 1922


Regretting


My dear Miss Haines,


We regret exceedingly that we cannot accept your father's kind invitation to dine with you on Wednesday, January the fifteenth. A previous engagement of Mr. Evans prevents it. Will you convey to him our thanks?


Very sincerely yours,


Katherine Gerard Evans.


January 5, 1922.


Adding additional details


The invitation to an informal dinner may necessarily include some additional details. For example:


Five Hundred Park Avenue,


September 16, 1920.


My dear Mr. Allen,


Mr. Evans and I have just returned from Canada and we hear that you are in New York for a short visit. We should like to have you take dinner with us on Friday, the twentieth, at half-past seven o'clock, if your time will permit. We hope you can arrange to come as there are many things back home in old Sharon that we are anxious to hear about.


Yours very sincerely,


Katherine Gerard Evans.


Mr. Roger Allen


Hotel Gotham


New York


Accepting


Hotel Gotham,


September 17, 1920.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


I shall be very glad to accept your kind invitation to dinner on Friday, September the twentieth, at half-past seven o'clock.


The prospect of seeing you and Mr. Evans again is very delightful and I am sure I have several interesting things to tell you.


Yours very sincerely,


Roger Allen.


Mrs. John Evans


500 Park Avenue


New York


Regretting


Hotel Gotham,


September 16, 1920.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


I am sorry to miss the pleasure of accepting your kind invitation to dinner on Friday, September the twentieth.


A business engagement compels me to leave New York to-morrow. There are indeed many interesting bits of news, but I shall have to wait for a chat until my next visit.


With kindest regards to you both, I am


Very sincerely yours,


Roger Allen.


Mrs. John Evans


500 Park Avenue


New York


A last-moment vacancy:


A last-moment vacancy may occur in a dinner party. To send an invitation to fill such a vacancy is a matter requiring tact, and the recipient should be made to feel that you are asking him to fill in as a special courtesy. Frankly explain the situation in a short note. It might be something like this:


500 Park Avenue,


February 16, 1922.


My dear Mr. Jarrett,


Will you help me out? I am giving a little dinner party to-morrow evening and one of my guests, Harry Talbot, has just told me that on account of a sudden death he cannot be present. It is an awkward situation. If you can possibly come, I shall be very grateful.


Cordially yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


Mr. Harold Jarrett


628 Washington Square South


New York


Accepting


628 Washington Square South,


February 16, 1922.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


It is indeed a fortunate circumstance for me that Harry Talbot will not be able to attend your dinner. Let me thank you for thinking of me and I shall be delighted to accept.


Yours very sincerely,


Harold Jarrett.


If the recipient of such an invitation cannot accept, he should, in his acknowledgment, give a good reason for declining. It is more considerate to do so.


For an informal luncheon


An informal luncheon invitation is a short note sent about five to seven days before the affair.


500 Park Avenue,


April 30,1922.


My dear Mrs. Emerson,


Will you come to luncheon on Friday, May the fifth, at half-past one o'clock? The Misses Irving will be here and they want so much to meet you.


Cordially yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


Accepting


911 Sutton Place,


May 2, 1922.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


I shall be very glad to take luncheon with you on Friday, May the fifth, at half-past one o'clock. It will be a great pleasure to meet the Misses Irving.


With best wishes, I am


Yours sincerely,


Grace Emerson.


Regretting


911 Sutton Place,


May 2, 1922.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


Thank you for your very kind invitation to luncheon on Friday, May the fifth, but I am compelled, with great regret, to decline it.


My mother and aunt are sailing for Europe on Friday and their ship is scheduled to sail at one. I have arranged to see them off. It was good of you to ask me.


Very sincerely yours,


Grace Emerson.


For an informal tea


My dear Miss Harcourt,


Will you come to tea with me on Tuesday afternoon, April the fourth, at four o'clock? I have asked a few of our friends.


Cordially yours,


Katherine Gerard Evans.


April first


Telephone invitations are not good form and may be used only for the most informal occasions.


Invitations to the theatre, concert, and garden party, are mostly informal affairs and are sent as brief letters.


A garden party is a sort of out-of-doors at home.


To a garden party which is not formal or elaborate


Locust Lawn,


June 29, 1922.


My dear Miss Burton,


Will you come to tea with me informally on the lawn on Thursday afternoon, July the fourth, at four o'clock? I know you always enjoy tennis and I have asked a few enthusiasts. Do try to come.


Cordially yours,


Ruth L. Anson.


Such an invitation is acknowledged in kind—by an informal note.


It may be of interest to read a letter or two from distinguished persons along these lines. Here, for example, is the delightfully informal way in which Thomas Bailey Aldrich invited his friend William H. Rideing to dinner on one occasion:


April 6, 1882.


Dear Rideing:


Will you come and take an informal bite with me to-morrow (Friday) at 6 p. m. at my hamlet, No. 131 Charles Street? Mrs. Aldrich and the twins are away from home, and the thing is to be sans ceremonie. Costume prescribed: Sack coat, paper collar, and celluloid sleeve buttons. We shall be quite alone, unless Henry James should drop in, as he promises to do if he gets out of an earlier engagement.


Suppose you drop in at my office to-morrow afternoon about 5 o'clock and I act as pilot to Charles Street.


Yours very truly,


T. B. Aldrich.



From "Many Celebrities and a Few Others—A Bundle of Reminiscences," by William H. Rideing. Copyright, 1912, by Doubleday, Page & Co.



And one from James Russell Lowell to Henry W. Longfellow:


Elmwood, May 3, 1876.


Dear Longfellow:


Will you dine with me on Saturday at six? I have a Baltimore friend coming, and depend on you.


I had such a pleasure yesterday that I should like to share it with you to whom I owed it. J. R. Osgood & Co. sent me a copy of your Household Edition to show me what it was, as they propose one of me. I had been reading over with dismay my own poems to weed out the misprints, and was awfully disheartened to find how bad they (the poems) were. Then I took your book to see what the type was, and before I knew it I had been reading two hours and more. I never wondered at your popularity, nor thought it wicked in you; but if I had wondered, I should no longer, for you sang me out of all my worries. To be sure they came back when I opened my own book again—but that was no fault of yours.


If not Saturday, will you say Sunday? My friend is a Mrs. ——, and a very nice person indeed.


Yours always,


J. R. L.



From "Letters of James Russell Lowell," edited by C. E. Norton. Copyright, 1893, by Harper & Bros.



George Meredith ("Robin") accepting an informal dinner invitation from his friend, William Hardman ("Tuck"):


Jan'y 28, 1863.


Dear "at any price" Tuck:


I come. Dinner you give me at half-past five, I presume. A note to Foakesden, if earlier. Let us have 5 ms. for a pipe, before we go. You know we are always better tempered when this is the case. I come in full dress. And do the honour to the Duke's motto. I saw my little man off on Monday, after expedition over Bank and Tower. Thence to Pym's, Poultry: oysters consumed by dozings. Thence to Purcell's: great devastation of pastry. Thence to Shoreditch, where Sons calmly said: "Never mind, Papa; it is no use minding it. I shall soon be back to you," and so administered comfort to his forlorn Dad.—My salute to the Conquered One, and I am your loving, hard-druv, much be-bullied


Robin.



From "The Letters of George Meredith." Copyright, 1912, by Charles Scribner's Sons. By permission of the publishers.



To a theatre


347 Madison Avenue,


December 8, 1919.


My dear Miss Evans,


Mr. Smith and I are planning a small party of friends to see "The Mikado" on Thursday evening, December the eighteenth, and we hope that you will be among our guests.


We have arranged to meet in the lobby of the Garrick Theatre at quarter after eight o'clock. I do hope you have no other engagement.


Very cordially yours,


Gertrude Ellison Smith.


Accepting


My dear Mrs. Smith,


I shall be delighted to come to your theatre party on Thursday evening, December the eighteenth. I shall be in the lobby of the Garrick Theatre at a quarter past eight o'clock.


It is so kind of you to ask me.


Sincerely yours,


Ruth Evans.


December 12,1919.


Regretting


My dear Mrs. Smith,


With great regret I must write that I shall be unable to join your theatre party on Thursday evening, December the eighteenth. My two cousins are visiting me and we had planned to go to the Hippodrome.


I much appreciate your thinking of me.


Very sincerely yours,


Ruth Evans.


For an informal affair, if at all in doubt as to what kind of invitation to issue, it is safe to write a brief note in the first person.


Two or more sisters may receive one invitation addressed "The Misses Evans." But two bachelor brothers must receive separate invitations. A whole family should never be included in one invitation. It is decidedly not proper to address one envelope to "Mr. and Mrs. Elliott and family."


To an informal dance


Invitations to smaller and more informal dances may be short notes. Or a visiting card is sometimes sent with a notation written in ink below the hostess's name and toward the left, as shown below:


(A)



Mrs. John Evans

At Home

Dancing at half after nine 500 Park Avenue

January the eighteenth

R.S.V.P.



If the visiting card is used "R.S.V.P." is necessary, because usually invitations on visiting cards do not presuppose answers. The reply to the above may be either formal, in the third person, or may be an informal note.


(B)


500 Park Avenue,


January 4, 1920.


My dear Mrs. Elliott,


Will you and Mr. Elliott give us the pleasure of your company on Thursday, January the eighteenth, at ten o'clock? We are planning an informal dance and we should be so glad to have you with us.


Cordially yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


An acknowledgment should be sent within a week. Never acknowledge a visiting-card invitation by a visiting card. An informal note of acceptance or regret is proper.


Accepting


347 Madison Avenue,


January 10, 1920.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


Both Mr. Elliott and I shall be delighted to go to your dance on Thursday, January the eighteenth, at ten o'clock. Thank you so much for asking us.


Very sincerely yours,


Jane S. Elliott.


Regretting


347 Madison Avenue,


January 10, 1920.


My dear Mrs. Evans,


Thank you for your kind invitation for Thursday, January the eighteenth; I am so sorry that Mr. Elliott and I shall not be able to accept. Mr. Elliott has been suddenly called out of town and will not be back for two weeks.


With most cordial regards, I am


Very sincerely yours,


Jane S. Elliott.


A young girl sends invitations to men in the name of her mother or the person under whose guardianship she is. The invitation would say that her mother, or Mrs. Burton, or whoever it may be, wishes her to extend the invitation.


To a house-party



An invitation to a house-party, which may imply a visit of several days' duration (a week, ten days, or perhaps two weeks) must state exactly the dates of the beginning and end of the visit. The hostess's letter should mention the most convenient trains, indicating them on a timetable. The guest at a week-end party knows he is to arrive on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning and leave on the following Monday morning. It is thoughtful for the hostess to give an idea of the activities or sports planned. The letter might be somewhat in the following manner:


(A)


Glory View,


August 1, 1922.


Dear Miss Evans,


Will you be one of our guests at a house-party we are planning? We shall be glad if you can arrange to come out to Glory View on August eighth and stay until the seventeenth. I have asked several of your friends, among them Mary Elliott and her brother.


The swimming is wonderful and there is a new float at the Yacht Club. Be sure to bring your tennis racquet and also hiking togs.


I enclose a timetable with the best trains marked. If you take the 4:29 on Thursday you can be here in time for dinner. Let me know what train you expect to get and I will have Jones meet you.


Most cordially yours,


Myra T. Maxwell.


Accepting


500 Park Avenue,


August 3, 1922.


Dear Mrs. Maxwell,


Let me thank you and Mr. Maxwell for the invitation to your house-party. I shall be very glad to come.


The 4:29 train which you suggest is the most convenient. I am looking forward to seeing you again.


Very sincerely yours,


Ruth Evans.


(B)


Hawthorne Hill,


January 10, 1920.


My dear Anne,


We are asking some of Dorothy's friends for this week-end and we should be glad to have you join us. Some of them you already know, and I am sure you will enjoy meeting the others as they are all congenial.


Mr. Maxwell has just bought a new flexible flyer and we expect some fine coasting. Be sure to bring your skates. Goldfish Pond is like glass.


The best afternoon train on Friday is the 3:12, and the best Saturday morning train is the 9:30.


I hope you can come.


Very sincerely yours,


Myra T. Maxwell.


A letter of thanks for hospitality received at a week-end party or a house-party would seem to be obviously necessary. A cordial note should be written to your hostess thanking her for the hospitality received and telling her of your safe arrival home. This sort of letter has come into the title of the "Bread-and-Butter-Letter."


500 Park Avenue,


August 18, 1922.


Dear Mrs. Maxwell,


Having arrived home safely I must tell you how much I appreciate the thoroughly good time I had. I very much enjoyed meeting your charming guests.


Let me thank you and Mr. Maxwell most heartily, and with kindest regards I am


Sincerely yours,


Ruth Evans.


To a christening


Most christenings are informal affairs. The invitation may run like this:


September 8, 1920.


My dear Mary,


On next Sunday at three o'clock, at St. Michael's Church, the baby will be christened. Philip and I should be pleased to have you there.


Sincerely yours,


Dorothy Evans Brewster.


To bring a friend


Often in the case of a dance or an at home we may wish to bring a friend who we think would be enjoyed by the hostess. We might request her permission thus:


600 Riverside Drive,


April 25, 1922.


My dear Mrs. Dean,


May I ask you the favor of bringing with me on Wednesday evening, May the second, my old classmate, Mr. Arthur Price? He is an old friend of mine and I am sure you will like him.


If this would not be entirely agreeable to you, please do not hesitate to let me know.


Yours very sincerely,


Herbert Page.


For a card party


500 Park Avenue


My dear Mrs. King,


Will you and Mr. King join us on Thursday evening next at bridge? We expect to have several tables, and we do hope you can be with us.


Cordially yours,


Katherine Gerard Evans.


March the eighteenth



Or whatever the game may be.



Sometimes the visiting card is used with the date and the word "Cards" written in the lower corner as in the visiting-card invitation to a dance. This custom is more often used for the more elaborate affairs.


Miscellaneous invitations


The following are variations of informal party and other invitations:


83 Woodlawn Avenue,


November 4, 1921.


My dear Alice,


I am having a little party on Thursday evening next and I want very much to have you come. If you wish me to arrange for an escort, let me know if you have any preference.


Sincerely yours,


Helen Westley.


500 Park Avenue,


May 12, 1922.


My dear Alice,


On Saturday next I am giving a small party for my niece, Miss Edith Rice of Albany, and I should like very much to have her meet you. I hope you can come.


Very sincerely yours,


Katherine G. Evans.


The Letter of Condolence


A letter of condolence may be written to relatives, close friends, and to those whom we know well. When the recipient of the condolatory message is simply an acquaintance, it is in better taste to send a visiting card with "sincere sympathy." Flowers may or may not accompany the card.


But in any case the letter should not be long, nor should it be crammed with sad quotations and mushy sentiment. Of course, at best, writing a condolence is a nice problem. Do not harrow feelings by too-familiar allusions to the deceased. The letter should be sent immediately upon receiving news of death.


When a card is received, the bereaved family acknowledge it a few weeks later with an engraved acknowledgment on a black-bordered card. A condolatory letter may be acknowledged by the recipient or by a relative or friend who wishes to relieve the bereaved one of this task.


Formal acknowledgment engraved on card


Mrs. Gordon Burroughs and Family

Gratefully acknowledge

Your kind expression of sympathy


The cards, however, may be engraved with a space for the name to be filled in:




Gratefully acknowledge





Kind expression of sympathy


When the letter of condolence is sent from a distance, it is acknowledged by a note from a member of the bereaved family. When the writer of the condolence makes the customary call afterward, the family usually makes a verbal acknowledgment and no written reply is required.


Letters of condolence


(A)


My dear Mrs. Burroughs,


May every consolation be given you in your great loss. Kindly accept my deepest sympathy.


Sincerely yours,


Jane Everett.


October 4, 1921


(B)


My dear Mrs. Burroughs,


It is with the deepest regret that we learn of your bereavement. Please accept our united and heartfelt sympathies.


Very sincerely yours,


Katherine Gerard Evans.


October 5, 1921


(C)


My dear Eleanor,


May I express my sympathy for you in the loss of your dear mother, even though there can be no words to comfort you? She was so wonderful to all of us that we can share in some small part in your grief.


With love, I am


Affectionately yours,


Ruth Evans.


July 8, 1922


(D)


My dear Mrs. Burroughs,


I am sorely grieved to learn of the death of your husband, for whom I had the greatest admiration and regard. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy.


Yours sincerely,


Douglas Spencer.


October 6, 1921


A letter of condolence that is something of a classic is Abraham Lincoln's famous letter to Mrs. Bixby, the bereaved mother of five sons who died for their country:


Washington, November 21, 1864.


Dear Madam:


I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.


Yours very sincerely and respectfully,


Abraham Lincoln.


This is the letter that Robert E. Lee, when he was president of Washington College, wrote to the father of a student who was drowned:


Washington College,


Lexington, Virginia,


March 19, 1868.


My dear Sir:


Before this you have learned of the affecting death of your son. I can say nothing to mitigate your grief or to relieve your sorrow: but if the sincere sympathy of his comrades and friends and of the entire community can bring you any consolation, I can assure you that you possess it in its fullest extent. When one, in the pureness and freshness of youth, before having been contaminated by sin or afflicted by misery, is called to the presence of his Merciful Creator, it must be solely for his good. As difficult as this may be for you now to recognize, I hope you will keep it constantly in your memory and take it to your comfort; pray that He who in His wise Providence has permitted this crushing sorrow may sanctify it to the happiness of all. Your son and his friend, Mr. Birely, often passed their leisure hours in rowing on the river, and, on last Saturday afternoon, the 4th inst., attempted what they had more than once been cautioned against—to approach the foot of the dam, at the public bridge. Unfortunately, their boat was caught by the return-current, struck by the falling water, and was immediately upset. Their perilous position was at once seen from the shore, and aid was hurried to their relief, but before it could reach them both had perished. Efforts to restore your son's life, though long continued, were unavailing. Mr. Birely's body was not found until next morning. Their remains were, yesterday, Sunday, conveyed to the Episcopal church in this city, where the sacred ceremonies for the dead were performed by the Reverend Dr. Pendleton, who nineteen years ago, at the far-off home of their infancy, placed upon them their baptismal vows. After the service a long procession of the professors and students of the college, the officers and cadets of the Virginia Military Academy, and the citizens of Lexington accompanied their bodies to the packetboat for Lynchburg, where they were placed in charge of Messrs. Wheeler & Baker to convey them to Frederick City.





With great regard and sincere sympathy, I am,


Most respectfully,


R. E. Lee.



From "Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee," by Capt. Robert E. Lee. Copyright, 1904, by Doubleday, Page & Co.



Letters of Sympathy in Case of Illness


When President Alderman, of the University of Virginia, was forced to take a long rest in the mountains in 1912 because of incipient tuberculosis, the late Walter H. Page, at the time editor of the World's Work, wrote the following tenderly beautiful letter of sympathy to Mrs. Alderman:


Cathedral Avenue, Garden City, L. I.,


December 9, 1912.


My dear Mrs. Alderman:


In Raleigh the other day I heard a rumor of the sad news that your letter brings, which I have just received on my return from a week's absence. I had been hoping that it was merely a rumor. The first impression I have is thankfulness that it had been discovered so soon and that you have acted so promptly. On this I build a great hope.


But underlying every thought and emotion is the sadness of it—that it should have happened to him, now when he has done that prodigious task and borne that hard strain and was come within sight of a time when, after a period of more normal activity, he would in a few years have got the period of rest that he has won.—But these will all come yet; for I have never read a braver thing than your letter. That bravery on your part and his, together with the knowledge the doctors now have, will surely make his recovery certain and, I hope, not long delayed. If he keep on as well as he has begun, you will, I hope, presently feel as if you were taking a vacation. Forget that it is enforced.


There comes to my mind as I write man after man in my acquaintance who have successfully gone through this experience and without serious permanent hurt. Some of them live here. More of them live in North Carolina or Colorado as a precaution. I saw a few years ago a town most of whose population of several thousand persons are recovered and active, after such an experience. The disease has surely been robbed of much of its former terror.


Your own courage and cheerfulness, with his own, are the best physic in the world. Add to these the continuous and sincere interest that his thousands of friends feel—these to keep your courage up, if it should ever flag a moment—and we shall all soon have the delight to see and to hear him again—his old self, endeared, if that be possible, by this experience.


And I pray you, help me (for I am singularly helpless without suggestions from you) to be of some little service—of any service that I can. Would he like letters from me? I have plenty of time and an eagerness to write them, if they would really divert or please him. Books? What does he care most to read? I can, of course, find anything in New York. A visit some time? It would be a very real pleasure to me. You will add to my happiness greatly if you will frankly enable me to add even the least to his.


And now and always give him my love. That is precisely the word I mean; for, you know, I have known Mr. Alderman since he was graduated, and I have known few men better or cared for them more.


And I cannot thank you earnestly enough for your letter; and I shall hope to have word from you often—if (when you feel indisposed to write more) only a few lines.


How can I serve? Command me without a moment's hesitation.


Most sincerely yours,


Walter H. Page.


To Mrs. Edwin A. Alderman.


Joaquin Miller wrote the following letter to Walt Whitman on receiving news that the latter was ill:


Revere House, Boston, May 27, '75.


My dear Walt Whitman:


Your kind letter is received and the sad news of your ill health makes this pleasant weather even seem tiresome and out of place. I had hoped to find you the same hale and whole man I had met in New York a few years ago and now I shall perhaps find you bearing a staff all full of pain and trouble. However my dear friend as you have sung from within and not from without I am sure you will be able to bear whatever comes with that beautiful faith and philosophy you have ever given us in your great and immortal chants. I am coming to see you very soon as you request; but I cannot say to-day or set to-morrow for I am in the midst of work and am not altogether my own master. But I will come and we will talk it all over together. In the meantime, remember that whatever befall you you have the perfect love and sympathy of many if not all of the noblest and loftiest natures of the two hemispheres. My dear friend and fellow toiler good by.


Yours faithfully,


Joaquin Miller.



From "With Walt Whitman in Camden," by Horace Traubel. Copyright, 1905, 1906, by Doubleday, Page & Co.



When Theodore Roosevelt was ill in hospital, Lawrence Abbott wrote him this letter:


Please accept this word of sympathy and best wishes. Some years ago I had a severe attack of sciatica which kept me in bed a good many days: in fact, it kept me in an armchair night and day some of the time because I could not lie down, so I know what the discomfort and pain are.


I want to take this opportunity also of sending you my congratulations. For I think your leadership has had very much to do with the unconditional surrender of Germany. Last Friday night I was asked to speak at the Men's Club of the Church of the Messiah in this city and they requested me to make you the subject of my talk. I told them something about your experience in Egypt and Europe in 1910 and said what I most strongly believe, that your address at the Sorbonne—in strengthening the supporters of law and order against red Bolshevism—and your address in Guildhall—urging the British to govern or go—contributed directly to the success of those two governments in this war. If Great Britain had allowed Egypt to get out of hand instead of, as an actual result of your Guildhall speech, sending Kitchener to strengthen the feebleness of Sir Eldon Gorst, the Turks and Germans might have succeeded in their invasion and have cut off the Suez Canal. So you laid the ground for preparedness not only in this country but in France and England.


I know it was a disappointment to you not to have an actual share in the fighting but I think you did a greater piece of work in preparing the battleground and the battle spirit.



From "Impressions of Theodore Roosevelt," by Lawrence F. Abbott Copyright, 1919, by Doubleday, Page & Co.



In reply Mr. Roosevelt sent Mr. Abbott this note:


That's a dear letter of yours, Lawrence. I thank you for it and I appreciate it to the full.


Acknowledgments


(A)


My dear Mr. Spencer,


I am grateful to you for your comforting letter. Thank you for your sympathy.


Sincerely yours,


Mary Cole Burroughs.


October 26, 1921.


(B)


My dear Mrs. Evans,


Let me thank you in behalf of myself and my family for your sympathy. Do not measure our appreciation by the length of time





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