Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Endeavors in 1860's Letter writing.

 Over the summer Michelle was asked to write 1860's style letters for some soldiers. They were to be used as "props" per say, at an event, during mail call. It was a super fun project - we had alot of fun executing the task at hand. We'd love to have the opportunity to do it again, maybe without such a close deadline this time tho. ;)
 She might disagree, but from my observation thinking of a diverse, variety of proper things to write - was infact, the more difficult task at hand. For the actual content. She found several original letters online and also got some books from that library that had copies of originals as well. Those definitely helped with the level of creativity... :D Since then I've been saving any I find around for future reference. lol
 As usual several of fabulous, living historians jumped in and offered wonderful advice and resources in various forms.
Since we only had a couple days to put them together we weren't able to get our hands on any paper that was particularly special. We just had to use regular printer paper. She tried to make each one alittle bit different from the others as you can see...she even made a CDV for one. :p
Jasper supplied me with 'stamps', which we printed out and then Michelle cut around every little bump on the edge. :D Thank goodness for our little stork scissors. lol He also sent the template we used for the envelopes. (Yeah, I think he's the best too. :D lol)
Miss Stephanie has several fabulous posts on the subject Spencerian handwriting. (One of which the above diagram came from). Dip Pens and Period Inks. Spencerian Ladies' Mid 1800's Handwriting Part 1 and Part 2. The latter 2 were incredibly helpful!
I'm told ink can be obtained at Hobby Lobby, Micheals, or Dick Blick. Higgins Eternal Ink decanted into a period container works. Also that John Neal Bookseller offers the most accurate steel nibs available along with all the materials to learn proper Spencerian penmanship (its noted to use the straight shaft pen and not an oblique, but same directions).  
Onto paper. Paper does not have to be white...I was advised you could cut down sheets of yellow legal pads to about 5X6". I'm hazarding to guess college ruled would be the way to go as that's more the proportion I've seen in originals. Any cotton bond paper will work for the period which can be found at walmart. Also laid paper from Sullivan Press, but I hear they are not always easy to order from. And lastly one can cut Strathmore laid resume paper in ivory down to 8"x10"... folded this becomes 5"x8" booklet form that is most common for letters. Goldenrod resume paper for the envelopes, as that was more common than ivory. And that's the wrap...
 Sorry about the sad lack of posts lately. I'm currently trying to adjust to life. Having just graduated from high school and not having a job, etc. I'm attempting to find a healthy balance, but still be productive. Easier said then done - for me at least. I promise I am doing alittle sewing...Several of the things I've been working on are for The Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge I'm participating in. So I'll be posting things when I finish - them coinciding with the deadlines. I'm hoping it will help me get back in a grove...

**Disclaimer** Not claiming to be a pro and I can't be held responsible for the accuracy of said information. This is merely me compiling information that I've found to be helpful.


The Whitakers said...

Love it!

Anonymous said...

So interesting!! Thanks!!! :)

john swartz said...

very cool.always wanted to learn to write in that style. Thanks alot :)