Victorians’ Secrets: The Love Letter

Sir Horace Edmund Avory, a noted British solicitor and jurist of the late Victorian era, reportedly said “No one but a lunatic would keep a copy of his love letters.” If so, I’ve read many poignant letters written by famous and obscure lunatics.

Victorians consulted popular manuals on letter writing etiquette. Lovers wishing to keep their communications private used coded messages and stamp positioning to indicate meanings to the recipients. Letters were often hidden in the secret compartments of writing desks, canes, and parasols. If discovered, the incriminating missives could lead to scandal, divorce, blackmail, or murder.

In this age of instant messaging is the art of writing love letters dead, too?


Nineteenth Century Manual (with tips on letter writing and stamp positioning)

Nineteenth Century Letters and Codes

Nineteenth Century Box with Hidden Compartments

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