The art of letterwriting is almost dead


When was the last time you received a personal letter through the post?  Not an email, not a bill nor even a postcard.

A letter, maybe running over three or four pages, in finely formed copperplate and covering a variety of topics of mutual interest?

When was the last time you wrote one to someone, excluding the person you love?

copperplate-scriptWhy need the art die out?  Write a letter to someone today.  Go to WH Smith or wherever you go across the pond, take the lettering guide above here, pick up the fountain pen and start scribbling.

Personal letters

Remember the guidelines:

1.  Your address top right, begun near the centre of the page [laterally], each new line indented from the previous one;

2.  Begin with Dear … and the name, then a comma, that comma then used as the indent margin for all subsequent paragraphs on all subsequent pages [unless the name is so long that this is clearly impracticable, in which case, indent a thumb’s width];

3.  Sign off with whichever form you like but only capitalize the first letter in each line, apart from your actual name;

4.  Remember that every time you quote, it’s a new paragraph.

9 comments for “The art of letterwriting is almost dead

  1. October 26, 2009 at 09:43

    Despite being a lover of fountain pens, especially vintage Conway Stewarts (I particularly love my Cracked Ice CS28 and my Tiger’s Eye CS58). Sadly my handwriting has gone down the toilet and it’s been years since I wrote a long letter,

  2. October 26, 2009 at 10:29

    Love to but Royal Mail is on strike. Yet again. So I won’t bother.

    I didn’t think letter writing was dying I’m sure I went to its funeral in the early part of this decade. Its already dead. Only its memory is kept going by those unwilling to accept progress. A bit like those old ladies who still make doillies. Plenty of time and not much to do.

    There is even a new language coming out of this. Things like :), LOL, ROFL, FYI and a million others that we already have dictionaries to translate.

    EMail, SMS and phone replace the written letter for 99.99% of the general public. The only thing that keeps it going is that government and big corporations insist on written communication because like the lumbering giants they are they take forever to change.

    We are in the age of instant communication. We get replies back in hours not weeks and those that are prepared to wait weeks only get a few per year compared to others who get almost daily communication.

    So it’s not copperplate and its not formatted correctly according to the rules but it passes over information and keeps people in touch. Its the modern version of the letter sent through the post.

  3. dearieme
    October 26, 2009 at 13:25

    Dear Hob,

    Yours aye,


  4. October 26, 2009 at 17:06

    I wrote a letter enclosing a postcard, to my sister, who lives in Dinan, N.France, whilst I was holidaying in Spain, last week.

    She replied, by sending an Anniversary card and enclosing a letter.
    We received it today.

    My Grandchildren write to us quite often, particularly, by way of ‘thankyou’ letters when we have sent them a gift or they have something interesting to tell us.

    I like writing letters but find it increasingly more difficult, owing to Rheumatoid Arthritis which affects my hands.

    I do try though, as I like to receive letters too.


  5. October 26, 2009 at 20:53

    I still get occasional letters of my Aunt and sometimes from a lady I met doing my family history research 🙂

  6. October 27, 2009 at 09:55

    Yes, that’s what it’s come down to.

  7. October 27, 2009 at 16:53

    i enclose letters with birthday cards…. and do send the odd postcard too 🙂

    • October 27, 2009 at 18:56

      That’s a start, Sally.

  8. October 27, 2009 at 21:26

    I got one on Saturday, actually. But it is rare. My handwriting’s so bad now that I can hardly read it myself!

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