This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
If the town is a large metropolis, the county may be omitted. In that event the street and number are usually given, or the post office box. Each should be written very conspicuously upon the envelope, for the convenience of the post office clerk and the mail carrier; thus,
If written in the care of any one, the following may be the form :
If, after remaining in the office at its destination a certain length of time uncalled for, the writer is desirous of having the letter forwarded or returned, the same may be indicated upon the outside of the envelope; thus,
Letter Sent by a Private Party,
Acknowledging on the envelope obligation to the person carrying the same
It is usually safest, in nearly all cases, to give the county, even if the town is well known; thus,
Tourists, when receiving letters abroad, frequently have their letters directed in the care of the bankers with whom they deal when on the continent, the form of superscription being thus:
Letter to a Person in the Immediate vicinity
Sent by carrier, but not through the mail
A letter to Germany will be superscribed somewhat as follows:
Letter from Germany:
The county, town, etc., on a letter to Ireland, is shown on the envelope as follows:
When it is desired to have the letter returned, if not called for, sooner than it otherwise would be, the direction may be so specified upon the upper left hand corner, similar to the following:
His Excellency and Mrs. U. S. Grant. Governor and Mrs. Wm. H. Brown. Hon. and Mrs. D. B. Henderson. Rev. and Mrs. Chas. H. Smith. Professor and Mrs. K. A. Benson.
Where a letter is addressed to a husband and wife, each of whom have a title, the address may read as follows:
Drs. John E. and Jane H. Brown.
To a man and woman, engaged as partners in business, but unmarried, the address may read:
Mr. Wm. H. Smith and Miss Mary H. Boone. Or, Wm. H. Smith and Mary H. Boone.
To a husband and wife, where the wife, alone, has the title, the superscription will read:
Mr. J. B. and Mrs. Dr. E. L. King.
To a husband and wife, each of whom have a title, the address may be as follows:
Rev. W H. and Mrs. Dr. A. B. Smith.
Where the wife has a title, and is, alone, addressed, the form may be
Rev. Mrs. Chas. D. King. Or, Rev. Mrs. Jane E. King. Or, Rev. Jane E. King.
If the lady's husband, alone, has the title, the address will properly read:
Mrs. Rev. Chas. D. King.
If the lady is unmarried, and is a minister of the gospel or physician, her address may read:
Rev. Miss Mary Williams.
Or, Rev. Mary Williams.
Miss Dr. Helen E. Snow.
Or, Dr. Helen E. Snow.
If people wish to have their letters perfectly secure from observation it is better to seal them with wax, which cannot be broken without exposure. The ordinary envelope is easily opened, and sealed again, leaving no trace of the fact; though a very heavy fine is imposed as a penalty on any one convicted of opening a letter, that is not authorized to do so.
In the United States, a letter not called for within a certain length of time is then advertised, after which it is held thirty days, when, no owner being found, the letter is forwarded to the Dead-Letter Office at Washington, where it is opened. If the address of the person who wrote the letter can there be learned, the letter is then returned to the writer.
If the name or address be written or printed upon the envelope, instead of going to the Dead-Letter Office, the letter will be returned to the writer at the expiration of thirty days. If desirous of having it sooner returned, the writer should add, " Return in 5 days," or " 10 days," etc., as seen in the letter of Jansen, McClurg & Co., shown above.
It is safest for persons sending letters to place stamps upon the envelopes themselves, and not depend upon postmasters or their clerks to do so, as, in their haste, they sometimes forget directions.
It has been suggested that the State be written first upon the envelope; thus,
As the State to which the letter is directed, is, however, no more conspicuous at the top of the superscription than at the bottom, there is no advantage gained in this mode of address, on the score of legibility.