Cross Writing from 1856

N.C. Hudson to Helen R. Joy ~
August 15, 1856

Same letter as above

Cross writing was a popular way to save on postage and paper in the 1700s and 1800s. Fortunately for me, there are not a lot of cross-written letters in the Hudson and Joy collection I'm working on, and when the people do cross write, it's usually only a small portion of the letter. Some examples can get pretty extreme, though, as you can see from these letters that came up in a Google image search.

I've found cross writing to be easier to read than you might think, especially once you get used to someone's handwriting. In the case of Nathaniel's letter to Helen (above), I had to get out the old Agfa Lupe to be sure about his first line (after the date and "My Dearest Helen"). Not only does the writing cross, but it's extremely light. There is not usually much fading in these letters, but either his ink was thin, the paper was slick and the ink didn't adhere very well to the first page, or it really did fade.


Aha! It's the ink. At the end Nathaniel apologizes for "this miserable looking letter - I believe my ink is entirely spoiled."

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