Art of Letter Writing


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An introduction to the art of letter writing with samples from the archives of Waterford County

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Art of Letter Writing

  1. 1. THE ART OF LETTER WRITING Letters from the County Archive Joanne Rothwell County Archivist
  2. 2. QUILL PEN <ul><li>The word pen comes from the latin word penna meaning feather </li></ul><ul><li>Quill pens were made from the feathers of a variety of birds. Raven or crow were chosen for the finest work. The sturdiest and most reliable feathers were from turkeys, swans and geese. The goose quill pen was the most common </li></ul><ul><li>The feathers used for pens are the flight feathers on the leading edge of the bird’s wing. </li></ul><ul><li>The quill was stripped to a comfortable length or completely. Then it was buried in heated sand The quill was then cut into a nib – cut away one side, then cut off the two corners and then slit the centre, then trimmed to create the nib. </li></ul><ul><li>Quill pens had to be dipped frequently and as a result tended to wear and require retrimming </li></ul><ul><li>Metal pens first emerged in the 18 th century but did not come into widespread use until the latter part of the 19 th century when advances in production made it easier to mass produce them. </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon black (lampblack) inks first reached wide use in Europe in the 17 th century. Sticks of black ink that could be liquefied in water were imported from the Orient and known as Chinese or Indian ink. Black inks were made from tannin from the galls of oak and nut trees, blue from indigo berries and sepia ink from cuttlefish </li></ul>
  3. 3. PAPER <ul><li>Paper was produced by using rags to create the pulp </li></ul><ul><li>17 th Century use of the hollander to beat the rags into pulp and introduction of moulds to form the sheet </li></ul><ul><li>Woven wire fabric developed for mould giving wove paper in 1757 </li></ul><ul><li>Only white rags could be used to create white paper – no bleach </li></ul><ul><li>Shortage of rags due to high demand for paper in the late 18 th and early 19 th centuries </li></ul><ul><li>By 1800 there were 60 paper mills in Ireland and 430 in England and Wales </li></ul><ul><li>The first successful paper machine was installed at Frogmore, Herfordshire in 1803 and 1809 John Dickinson patented a cylinder mould/vat machine </li></ul><ul><li>Chlorine bleaching with “secret” recipes became more successful </li></ul><ul><li>By mid-19 th Century mechanised production for paper and use of wood and esparto grass as alternatives to rags. </li></ul><ul><li>By 1884 reduction of paper mills to 14 in Ireland and 250 in England and Wales </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Postal Service <ul><li>1516 Henry VII appointed a Master of the Posts </li></ul><ul><li>1579 A postal crossing was established between Waterford and Milford Haven to facilitate the carriage of war despatches during the Munster Rebellion </li></ul><ul><li>1597 A letter from Waterford to London cost the equivalent of £9.50 </li></ul><ul><li>1600s Post stages on Dublin to Cork Road with stages at Carlow, Kilkenny and Callan from where there was a service to Waterford by 1659 </li></ul><ul><li>C.1730s Direct deliveries to Lismore, Tallow and Youghal 3 times a week and to Carrick-on-Suir 2 a week </li></ul><ul><li>By 1760 there were 45 letter offices in Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>1784 Independent Irish Post Office established </li></ul>
  5. 5. Letter from Chearnley Papers Copyright Waterford County Archive
  6. 6. Postal Service Continued <ul><li>1789 Mail Coaches were introduced </li></ul><ul><li>1831 The Irish Post Office was brought under the control of the Postmaster General in the UK </li></ul><ul><li>1837 Post Office Reform – uniform rate of postage 1d per ½ ounce. Cheapest at the time was 4d and the average was 6¼d. (Labs. earned 6d per day) </li></ul><ul><li>1838 Money Orders introduced </li></ul><ul><li>1840 Penny Post introduced </li></ul><ul><li>1874 International Postal Congress Bern </li></ul><ul><li>1883 Parcel Post </li></ul>
  7. 7. 1819 Letter from Chearnley Papers Copyright Waterford County Archive
  8. 8. Letter from Chearnley Papers Copyright Waterford County Council
  9. 9. Letter from Chearnley Papers Copyright Waterford County Archive
  10. 10. Chearnley Papers Copyright Waterford County Archive
  11. 11. Chearnley Papers Copyright Waterford County Archive
  12. 12. Lismore Workhouse 1882 Requesting clothes to leave Workhouse Copyright Waterford County Archive
  13. 13. Lismore Workhouse 1882 Request for clothes. Copyright Waterford County Archive
  14. 14. Lismore Workhouse, request for assistance Copyright Waterford County Archive
  15. 15. TENANT LETTER Chearnley Collection Copyright Waterford County Archive
  16. 16. BG/WATFD/30 Letter from Emigrant Office Quebec Canada to Waterford Workhouse Copyright Waterford County Archive
  17. 17. Copyright Waterford County Archive
  18. 18. Copyright Waterford County Archive
  19. 19. Copyright Waterford County Archive
  20. 20. Letter to Dobbyn and McCopy, solicitors acting for Waterford County Council Copyright Waterford County Archive
  21. 21. Page from Waterford County Council Damp Press Letter Book Copyright Waterford County Archive
  22. 22. Page from Damp Press Letter Book WCC Copyright Waterford County Archive
  23. 23. Page from Damp Press Letter Book Copyright Waterford County Archive
  24. 24. Copyright Waterford County Archive
  25. 25. I Shall Go To The Ball <ul><li>Lismore 11 April 1864 </li></ul><ul><li>Sir, I must apologise for tespassing on your time but I feel it due to my husband to draw your attention to a circumstance which at the present moment is calling forth much public opinion in the town. I allude to the ommission of his name from the list of Professional Town’s people who had lately received cards for the coming Ball at the Castle…As it is most certainly not a matter of birth or hereditary descendants every one seems puzzled to explain why so decided. so marked a slight should be given to Mr. Slattery. The actual going to the Ball is a matter of no earthly consideration whatsoever. but being left out. excluded. The placing of the Ban – the mark of exclusion from society of his fellow man on him is indeed a very serious thing. </li></ul><ul><li>Of all persons in the County he would have asked and expected your helping hand . Many persons think you cannot be at all aware of the ommission. I am inclined to think so as I cannot possibly see any earthly reason you could have for wishing to injure him and patronize strangers. Of course everyone is well aware that the Duke knows nothing on earth of the Town’s people it seems to be unkown is to be recognised. </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Slattery would be extremely angry if he knew that I would notice this or address you about it – he has different views on these subjects than me. </li></ul>
  26. 26. VISIT THE ARCHIVE <ul><li>Waterford County Archive </li></ul><ul><li>Open Tuesdays 10-2 and Fridays 1-5 </li></ul><ul><li>At other times by appointment </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone: 058 23673 </li></ul>