A simple plan aiding the busy correspondent is given by J. T. Mills.
When arranging a correspondence file, care should be taken that not only must the letters be filed in such a manner as to be easily accessible, but that their contents be recorded so that whatever correspondence has already passed, concerning any subject which may be brought up, may be quickly brought to mind. The following system may be adapted, however, with few alterations, to meet the requirements of any business house.
A card record is kept of all letters received and written. These cards are filed alphabetically, according to the name of the correspondent. The form of the card shown in the illustration (Figure I) is about three by five inches. At the top is entered the name and address of the correspondent, and a file number is assigned to it. Under "Date" is written the day on which the correspondence is received, and under "Subject" is noted the gist of the letter. If a letter is sent to any other place than the file proper, its destination is noted under "Disposition." All letters received are entered in black ink, while those sent out are entered in red. The object of this is apparent, as otherwise it would be necessary to have a card double the size of the present one to accommodate the extra columns required.
If the correspondence requires attention at a future date a small metal pointer or clip is placed over that particular date. As the pointers for any particular day are all in a row on the top of the file, the cards bearing them are easily withdrawn. Thus a double file is made; the cards themselves are arranged alphabetically and also according to date. This is especially convenient where a "follow-up" system is required.
When the matter which requires attention has been attended to, but requires further correspondence, the pointer is moved along to such date as desired. In this way attention is called to the card, automatically, at the proper time.
The letters themselves are filed in open-topped drawers or boxes. Each correspondent is assigned a file number and his letters are placed in a large manila envelope and the several envelopes are filed numerically.
The advantages claimed for this systern are: First, when an inquiry or advice is received from a certain party, the correspondent may tell, by consulting his card, just what and when he wrote and what disposition was made of the letter. If it was placed in the regular file, the file number is given to the file boy and the complete correspondence is at hand. Second, all letters which require attention are automatically brought to notice each day by the pointers, which saves the time of looking over the cards each day. Third, a brief history of the previous correspondence is condensed into a small space, thus obviating the necessity of reading through all previous letters before the correspondent can "get his bearings."