Ancient Etiquette

While reading Madness Under the Royal Palms by Laurence Leamer (very good, by the way) I came across a reference to the practice of crossing out one's name on stationery. I had a vague recollection of this but couldn't put my finger on the reason for it. After a bit of research I found that it is an old custom demonstrating to close friends and family that you, and not your social secretary, wrote the note. While a lady may be "Mrs. Charles Smith" on her stationery, she may also be "Aunt Poodie" to her niece, in which case she would strike a line through her formal name and sign Love, Aunt Poodie.

So my question is this: When does tradition become silly? (Or in this case pretentious, unless you do have an actual social secretary, in which case Congratulations!) And at this point if you are striking your name are you staying true to your upbringing or blindly following said tradition?


Samma said...

I loved that book too! I would not strike out my name, but most people know my handwriting so the point is moot.

annabelle said...

I've seen something similar done on business correspondence between friends--i.e. "Dear. Mr. Jones," and then the writer strikes through it and writes Mark or John. I guess this sends the same message that you read the letter and didn't have your secretary or administrative specialist(!) send it for you. Seems kinda overkill on a personal letter thought, doesn't it?