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Monogram Magic: Monogramania Hits Fever Pitch in the Victorian Age

In our previous blog, we explored the ancient history of the monogram. We saw that for centuries, people used monograms widely – on everything from coins to letters to homes and pottery. But people really went crazy for the monogram during the Victorian Era (1837-1901). In fact, one writer of the day called the art of collecting monograms an “epidemic” and named the monogram’s most ardent fans “monogramaniacs.”

Whitlock Monogram from Giftsin24.com

Our Whitlock Monogram is based on a popular Victorian motif.

What was going on? The Industrial Revolution ushered in a new middle class of factory owners, bankers, railroad managers, insurance agents, merchants and all the salaried professionals who helped run these businesses, as well as new ranks of civil servants, teachers, doctors and lawyers, according to Donna Loftus, author of “The Rise of the Victorian Middle Class.” Millions of people now had disposable income, and they desired some of the comforts of the upper classes. They began purchasing household goods as well as clothing, watches and jewelry, which the new economy had made more plentiful and affordable than ever before.

Celebrity and the Monogram

At the same time, the idea of celebrity took on power in popular culture. People began collecting crests and monograms of the rich and famous, according to Nancy Sharon Collins, author of The Complete Engraver. 

Monogram for Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria’s Monogram went through many iterations. Here is a simple one.

Enthusiasts created albums of their most prized monograms, marks and seals. In this age of avid letter writing, “coats of arms or monograms from famous families, politicians, opera stars, or members of the theater were particularly coveted and displayed,” writes Collins.

Whole books explored and documented monogram design, such as An Encyclopedia of Monograms, published in 1884. The book included 5,000 decorative monograms to inspire artists and craftspeople.

Popular women’s magazines of the time, such as Godeys Lady’s Book and Peterson’s Magazine, regularly included alphabets, initials, names and monograms. Middle class readers copied them to embroider nearly every scrap of cloth – tablecloths, sheets, towels, pillowcases and clothing. “Hardly an item in her home escaped from being monogrammed,” writes Rita Weiss, editor of Victorian Alphabets, Monograms and Names. “Young girls learned how to embroider simple alphabets on the linens for her trousseau,” Weiss continues. “By the time she got married, her skills improved and she was ready for more expert work.”

Louis Vuitton monogram

Louis Vuitton company developed its monogram in 1896.

Monogrammed Needlework Attains Art Status

The expert needlework skills attained by women – at all levels of society – and the invention of the Jacquard loom, which spurred faster and cheaper textile manufacturing, coincided to create the perfect circumstances for a boom in monogrammed linens like we’ve never seen before or since, according to Robin Molbert in Monograms and Antique Linens. “Bold and artful monogramming burst into vogue, serving as a kind of democratizing factor in the personalization of one’s linens,” writes Molbert. In England, France and the U.S., women formed sewing and embroidery circles to enjoy and support one another in their endeavors. They shared ideas and perfected their art, incorporating many other aspects including lacework, cut-outs, florals, animal figures and much more.

To this day, many people still cherish, value and collect antique linens from the Victorian Age. A rather funny example: In December 2016, a pair of Queen Victoria’s monogrammed bloomers went on auction, expected to be sold for £6,000. Some famous monograms developed by the Victorians continue to be in vogue. The world of consumer goods offers a perfect example: The interlocking L and V on Louis Vuitton’s bags and luggage. His son Georges designed the iconic image in 1896 to increase sales.

And the practice of monogramming continues to be popular. Whether it’s stationery or wine glasses, ornaments or napkins, personalizing one’s possessions conveys tradition and a sense of pride.

Our story about the monogram isn’t over. Next we ask: what exactly is a monogram?

Explore our lines of monogrammed Cards, Notes, Notepads, Napkins & Guest Towels, and all Monogrammed Items.

 

Sources:

Nancy Sharon Collins. The Complete Engraver: Monograms, Crests, Ciphers, Seals, and the Etiquette of Social Stationery. Princeton Architectural Press, 2012

Donna Loftus. “The Rise of the Victorian Middle Class.”   BBC History. Website.

Robin Molbert. “The Royal Lineage of Table Linens.” Monograms and Antique Linens. HM Books, 2016.

J. O’Kane. An Encyclopedia of Monograms. Originally published in 1884. Reprinted by Dover Publishing in 2003.

Rita Weiss, editor.Victorian Alphabets, Monograms and Names. Dover Publishing, 1974.

 

 

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    Gutsy or Geeky? Typography & Personal Style

    Monogram Coaster from Giftsin24.com ships in 24 hours.

    Here’s our Classic Monogram engraved on a cork coaster.

    Here at Giftsin24, we are completely and utterly ga-ga over typography. It’s really our first love. We offer so many different lettering styles and monograms just so you can find one that perfectly expresses your personal style.

    Yes, we completely enjoy the creamy, dreamy, thick paper we use. And yes, we can’t get enough of our shimmery raised inks and foil colors. And yes, we “lurve” embossing, which is, ahem, half the name of our brand of stationery, Embossed Graphics.

    But typography is where it all begins. For us, typography is really all about an essential attitude. It’s about personality. It’s about STYLE.

    Express Your Personal Style with Typography

    If you select Dune, a bold lettering style, for your stationery, you are telling others you have the courage of your convictions. You’re a risk-taker who doesn’t back down.

    If you select our Classic lettering style– best represented by our Classic Monogram — maybe you love history and custom and see yourself as part of a long tradition of manners and community and fellow-feeling.

    If you select Anthony, a casual hand-lettered font, you signal a fun-loving attitude and that you’re not too invested in “the rules.”

    See what we mean? Typography expresses the un-erasable part of you, the area of your psyche that can’t be denied or squished into someone else’s idea of what’s “cool.” It’s your personal style.

    Not caring about typography is like not caring about the clothes you wear or the food you eat. Crazy, right? Yes, you could walk around day after day in a white t-shirt and khaki pants and eat plain pasta 3 squares a day. But where would that get you in life? And perhaps the more important question is: would life be any fun?

    So the next time you select personalized stationery, pay attention to your gut reaction to each lettering style and select the one that really speaks to you. Don’t worry about what’s popular or what that next guy or gal chose. Typography is all about you.

    That’s why we offer so many options– many of them exclusively created by Embossed Graphics. We know that secret, inner you is just dying to announce herself through an expression of personal style.

     

     

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      Viva Las Vegas! US Postal Service Issues Elvis Stamp 8/12

      Elvis stamp by United States Postal Service

      This commemorative Elvis stamp was issued by United States Postal Service in 2015.

      Grab your “Blue Suede Shoes”: Thousands of people are celebrating Elvis Week in Memphis August 8-16. Can’t make it? All fans of “The King” can demonstrate their “Burning Love”by getting the new Elvis Presley Forever(R) stamp. The United States Postal Service (USPS) will issue it on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, with a dedication ceremony at Graceland.

      Whether you’re sending our stationery to the “Heartbreak Hotel,” a “Hound Dog” or the”Devil in Disguise,” rest assured your letter will arrive with the Elvis Forever stamp.

      Elvis Stamp Works for All Giftsin24 Stationery

      Our cards and notes weigh about one ounce, which fits within the USPS maximum dimensions for standard first class postage. That includes our line of oversized Chesapeake cards, as well as luxury triple-thick notes.

      Purchasing USPS Forever stamps ensures you can easily send a card or note anytime. You won’t have to worry about the current value of stamps or changing postage costs in the future. And “That’s All Right!”

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        It’s Hip to Be Thankful

        thank you note writing and showing gratitude never goes out of style.

        Gratitude is in. Thank you note writing has been circulating around in pop culture lately.

        Gratitude is hip. In the news just this week, Nascar driver Daniel Hemric  penned thank you notes to American servicemen and women. They keep our country safe.

        Thanking supporters

        Taylor Swift is writing thank you notes to DJs, radio hosts and others who help support her musical career.

        Writing of your gratitude

        And, Regis Philbin helped late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon complete his regular thank you note writing bit last Friday night.

        These celebrities demonstrate the power of thank you notes. They help strengthen relationships and are a main way to express your love. Plus, they may even help you in your career.

        Thank you notes are powerful because people yearn to feel appreciated and acknowledged.

        But you knew that already, didn’t you?

         

         

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          What Kind of Person Are You?

          What Kind of Person Are You: are you a kind person?

          Empathy, compassion and gratitude are some of the beautiful qualities shared by Giftsin24 customers. Be a kind person.

          Here at Giftsin24, we sell personalized stationery. But that’s not all. When you purchase our product, you are doing more than simply buying stationery. You are ultimately acting on being a kind person. A polite person. A thoughtful person.

          On the heals of commencement speech season, many speakers choose to focus on the importance of character and kindness. Yes, academic achievements are important, but when push comes to shove, being kind might just get you farther in life. Here are two speakers and their speeches that explore this topic and are generally judged among the best commencement addresses:

          George Saunders  2013 at Syracuse University

          David McCullough Jr. 2012 at Wellesley High School

          Acknowledging the generosity of others keeps that positive vibe flowing. The concept of “paying it forward” has become very popular in recent years. And there’s a great reason why: Connecting with others makes life more happy, more meaningful.

          Kindness is King

          Writing a note in your own handwriting is a small yet powerful way to share your gratitude with those around you. From the basic thank you for a birthday gift, to the expression of your deep gratefulness to someone who changed your life, penning thoughts on paper is a wonderful, simple way to act on your best impulses, and bring more love and connection into your life.

          So, we thank you, dear customer, for being the kind person you are.

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            Winter Blahs-Busting Stationery

            Giftsin24 offers beautiful stationery to chase away the winter blahs

            Beat the winter blahs with new stationery.

            When the skies are grey, temperatures plunge and daylight barely breaks ten hours, we all need a break from the drear. How about some happy stationery to perk you up and help you connect with friends?

            With a good pen and a stamp, you can cheer yourself up by writing a friendly note to your old college roommate, favorite cousin or old next-door-neighbor. Won’t they be surprised to get your letter?

            Three of our happiest cards and notes

            Notable Note: One of our best selling notes! Your monogram appears in an ebullient, rounded script lettering style in one of ten luscious raised-ink colors. Choose fuchsia, red or purple for a pick-me-up vibe.

            Blossom Note: Another exquisite design by America’s leader in social stationery! Our Blossom Note features superb embossed and creamy, triple-thick paper. Yo’u’ll enjoy writing a letter on this note. The Japanese-inspired motif features a spray of flowers deeply impressed into the paper. Below, your name appears in shiny raised ink. Choose from 6 pretty lettering styles and 10 ink colors.

            Manhattan Card: This single panel card lights up an ordinary day with a ticker tape parade of polka dots, highlighted by your name in a curling script. For a real treat, choose lined envelopes in your choice of 5 patterns and 4 colors.

             

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              More Letter Writing Blogs We Love

              Letter writing blogs

              Find other people who love to write letters through letter writing blogs.

              We love reading about writing! Do you? Two months ago we listed some of our favorite letter writing websites. Here are a few more; these are blogs that explore the not-so-lost art of letter-writing.

              Check out these letter writing blogs

              Letter Writers Alliance Their mission is to be an “An Alliance for those who enjoy letter writing and postal adventures.” Recent posts have been about pens, the US Postal Service’s consumer commission and carbon paper (remember that?).  Learn about letter writing events near you and much more. For just $5, you can become a lifetime member and receive a badge.

              Mrs. Murphy’s Mailbox Magic   This website has a clean look and short, engaging articles that are fun to read. Recent posts have been about Flat Stanley, round robin letter writing groups and more.

              Letters of Note  If you enjoy the historical aspects of letter writing, you’ll enjoy this blog, an “attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.” Famous events and people are examined through the lens of the pen.

              Red Letter Day  This San Francisco-based blog has a modern edge and focuses on mail art and other related topics, including ink stamps, stamps and postcards–all beautifully curated and described.

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                Friends & Letters

                Pen and paper can connect us to friends and strengthen relationships

                By writing letters, we connect with friends and family in ways that are sometimes difficult to do in person.

                On the 20th anniversary of the popular Friends television series, and shortly after Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts: An Intimate History wrapped on PBS in Chicago, we’re thinking about how we connect to our friends and family, and how we sometimes do that through letter-writing.

                Friends celebrated the close-knit relationships of young people living away from their families in New York City during the 90s.  Do you remember the episode in Season 4 when Rachel writes a letter to Ross; he needs to read it for them to reunite. But he falls asleep and then “fakes it” when Rachel wants to discuss it, with funny consequences.

                The Power of the Pen

                Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt depended on letter writing to formulate and share ideas, express their love and keep in touch, just as we still do today. The Roosevelts maintained long distance friendships through letter writing when they were called away from home by their duties as public leaders.

                In the Roosevelt’s time, letter writing was more common and almost necessary. But today, as Friends demonstrates, we use letter-writing to convey our most intense thoughts with people important in our lives. Sometimes it’s easier to deliver our messages on paper, rather than verbally, especially, as in Rachel and Ross’ case, emotions are high.  Love letters. Condolence letters. Letters of apology. And even congratulatory letters. These are all cases when letters are beautifully appropriate and perfect.

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                  How to Write a Get Well Soon Message

                  Tips for writing a good get well soon messageThroughout our lives people we love get hurt or sick. A handwritten note expressing our concern and wishes for recovery will mean so much to the recipient. It shows that we’re thinking about them and we’ve taken the time to let them know. Writing a get well soon message is not complicated.

                  5 Tips

                  • Be positive and upbeat. This is not a formal letter, so express yourself naturally.
                  • If the letter is going to a friend or family member, you could bring up something that you both experienced or shared. This will make your message more personal.
                  • Let them know you miss them, and perhaps offer a specific example.
                  • A humorous anecdote or good news is always welcome and will lighten the mood.
                  • Reassure them of your support and assistance.

                  Dear Elizabeth,
                  I was so sorry to hear that you’ve been under the weather recently. I certainly hope that you’ll be back up and feeling like yourself again soon. We really miss your sense of humor around here at the office — not to mention your homemade cookies.
                  I hope that you’ll get plenty of rest and feel better soon. Please let me know if there’s anything at all that I can do for you to make things easier. I’d be happy to go to the grocery store or run an errand for you. Don’t hesitate to call me if there’s something I can do for you. Wishing you a speedy recovery!
                  Sincerely,

                  Don’t procrastinate — write your get well message in a timely manner. They’ll appreciate your sincere and genuine interest in their well-being.

                  Writing a heartfelt get well message for someone, whether family, friend, colleague or co-worker, is a thoughtful and considerate gesture. They’ll greatly appreciate and remember your thoughtfulness.

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                    Our Favorite Letter Writing Websites

                    Letter writing websites can inspire your own letter writing craft.

                    Handwritten letters from all over the world

                    Here at Giftsin24.com, we love to write letters. Who doesn’t love the surprise of finding a handwritten envelope at your mail slot? We’ve dug up some cool letter writing websites and blogs to inspire you.

                    Who knows? You may find your next pen pal.

                    This beautiful site takes nominations for people in need of a bundle of love letters from strangers. You can propose someone you know, or you can write a letter to someone in need www.moreloveletters.com

                    The London-based blog Positively Postal collects letters from all around the world. Consider sending in one of your own: www.positivelypostal.co.uk/around-the-world-in-letters

                    Snail Mail My Email is a worldwide collaborative art project where volunteers hand write strangers’ emails and send physical letters to the intended recipients, free of charge. http://snailmailmyemail.org

                    International Pen Friends supplies people with penpals worldwide since 1967. www.ipf.net.au

                    Thank a deployed service member or veteran through the Operation Gratitude website: www.operationgratitude.com/get-involved/write-letters/

                    The blog Lovely Handwritten Notes asks for letters and sends them out, no questions asked. http://lovelyhandwrittennotes.tumblr.com/contact.info

                    Do you have favorite letter writing websites or blogs? Include them in the comments section and we’ll consider them for our next blog on this topic.

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