Delightful things from the early 1870s

I am charmed that on occasion (twice now) George Henry Horn started his letters with a colorful little flower above the salutation. I wonder if this spontaneous illumination made John L. LeConte’s day, too.

Thrifty authors sometimes sliced paper in half. Several times I’ve come across a full, folded sheet of 5×8 paper accompanied by a half-sized second page. I say “thrifty,” and there may have been concern over material or postage cost. But it could also have been a conservatory streak or a social convention—perhaps blank space was considered less polite. I am now curious about nineteenth century correspondents’ relationship with their stationery.

Per the pre-printed “Directions for Sending Insects” on the letterhead of the Missouri State Entomologist: “Botanists like their specimens pressed flat as a pan-cake, but entomologists do not.”

Whenever I read “My dear Doctor,” the voice in my head is Anthony Ainley’s.