As mentioned in the section on transcription methods, Josephine Louise Newcomb handwrote all of her letters located in the McConnell family papers collection. By and large, her handwriting is quite legible and consistent over the years. The editors have made every effort to transcribe the letters as accurately as possible. That said, JLN also had her distinct system of writing and many abbreviations are used. The text below will explain some of these idiosyncracies. It is also available as a pdf.

Commonly used capitalization and punctuation practices characteristic of JLN’s writing style:

Does not capitalize the word following a period

Often follows a question mark with a period

Uses commas, semi-colons, colons, and dashes in the place of periods

Does not use commas where convention now requires; uses commas where convention does not require

Omits punctuation in salutations, closings, and signature. She most often signed her name as Jo[period] L Newcomb[period]

Uses the symbol “&” for “and”

Runs together “&” with the word following

Frequently underlines

Rarely indents paragraphs

Wrote “extra” where P.S. is more commonly used

Used a superscript x to indicate an omitted word or words (x)


Abbreviations characteristic of JLN’s writing style:

Mrs. Newcomb frequently used abbreviations in letter writing, and such abbreviations often were super-scripted. Over many letters, the repetition usually makes the abbreviations obvious. Abbreviations often contain the first few letters of the word and then the last letter super-script. Days of the week and names of the months are abbreviated using super-script “y” or “r” as in Tuesy and Nov’r

&c = appears to mean etcetera

C = Carson, James “Carson” Dixon was the son of Brandt and Eliza Dixon. He died in 1896 at age 22.

Col or Coll = Colonel

C.W.T. = [Unknown to editors]

E.E.N.&T H’tal = Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital

Exr = Executor

fd,frd = Friend

Fk = Frank

F.W.C. = Frank Walter Callender, also called Mr C

H.D.N. = Horatio Dalton Newcomb, Warren Newcomb’s brother and also Horatio Dalton Newcomb, Jr.

H F = Holy Father

H.A.P. = H. A. Pomroy

H.K.P. = Henry K. Pomroy

Ho = hotel

H.S.N.M.C. = H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College

Husd = husband

G-wood = Greenwood Cemetery

J.L.H. = Josephine Louise House, student residence where Mrs. Newcomb had a suite reserved for her.

Lx, Lexton = Lexington

Miss B = Alice Bowman. Occasionally Miss B refers to Miss Bancroft who would then be specifically mentioned in the letter of that date.

Mr B. C. W. = Mr. B.C. Wetmore

Mr C = Frank Walter Callender. Also F.W.C.

Mr Joe A. H. = Joseph Hincks, JLN’s 3rdcousin

Mr McC = James McConnell, member of the Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund and attorney for Tulane University

Mr S = Possibly Francis L. Stetson, a New York attorney

Mrs C = Mrs. Carson, Brandt Dixon’s mother-in-law

Mrs C’lain, C’ln = Mrs. Chamberlain

Mrs D = Mrs. Brandt Dixon

Mrs Dr R = Ida Richardson, wife of Dr. Tobias Gibson Richardson, nee Ida Slocum, also Mrs Dr T. G. R.

Mrs Ten B = Mrs. Ten Broeck (Mary), the second wife and widow of Horatio Dalton Newcomb, Warren Newcomb’s brother. They had two children. After Horatio’s death in 1874, she married Richard Ten Broeck.

P.E.C. = Protestant Episcopal Church

Rcfld Springs = Richfield Springs

S.H., Salon H = Salon Humphreys, a personal friend, named by Warren Newcomb in his will as one of the trustees of the $200,000 trust he left to his daughter, H. Sophie Newcomb

Sinly = Sincerely

s’ld = should

trea’rs = treasurers

W = William “Willie” Dixon, son of Brandt Dixon

Wh or w’h = which

Women’s B. M. Women’s Board of Missions

W.S. S’pgs = White Sulphur Springs

y = day; frequently used in writing the day of the week such as Tuesy

YF = yellow fever

yr = your

yrself = yourself