In this paperless e-world of ours, it's fun, retro, and just plain courteous to send an actual thank-you note, emblazoned with a stamp and everything. (And no, a text that reads "kthanxbai" does not count as a thank-you note.) According to Nancy Sharon Collins' book, The Complete Engraver: Monograms, Crests, Ciphers, Seals, and the Etiquette of Social Stationery, it's a practice that we should keep up. "A thank-you note is always appropriate. Any act of thoughtfulness, kindness, or recognition should be reciprocated promptly with a handwritten note."


The Complete Engraver follows the history and etiquette of engraved stationery, and though the book sometimes comes off a little dry, it's filled with beautiful images--original specimens of social stationery, calling cards, and monograms--that help make up for that.

Some of the notes on etiquette are pretty amusing (step four in The Writing of a Personal Note or Letter is "wash your hands," and did you know that "monarch sheets [stationery that is 7 1/4" x 10 1/2"] are perfect for writing a polite inquiry to the neighbor about why the new dog, or nanny, acts so strangely"?), and some are actually quite useful (it is "improper to use a card preprinted with 'thank-you' as a follow-up to an employment interview" and "a letter of condolence should be written by hand with a black or dark blue ink pen"). Also, it's kinda cool to know the difference between a cipher and a monogram (the letters in a cipher don't have to connect while the letters in a monogram do, FYI).

Pick up a copy of The Complete Engraver at to learn more stationery etiquette, then geek out to your friends about it. And there's a bonus: two free fonts based on engraver's style typefaces are available for readers to download via a weblink in the book. Who doesn't like free stuff?

New Fall Issue d217c





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