What could this mean?!? (Letter/Signature question)

A question about two typewritten personal letters from the 1930s. Both are signed with initials in all caps. The first follows the initials with a slash and a lower case b. The second follows the initials with a slash and a lower case m.

Like so:

Anyone know what the slash and the lower case letters might mean?

Dictated by Nathan Henry Baker, transcribed by Brenda; transcribed by Mary (names made up to protect somebody).

Gary T nailed it. I saw this used on business letters into the 1990s. I think it died when typewriters and secretaries went away.

Thanks so much!

It still lives on in long-established law offices where some dusty old senior partner with a personal secretary can’t be bothered to type their own letters.

I was a receptionist/courier/gopher in a small-town in my teens, and I did this for my boss. He was impressed by my typing speed, but he was a really slow dictator, and would go back and correct or change his thoughts halfway through. Sometimes it was interesting stuff, mostly it was boring. The funny thing was that he could type very well himself, and could even program, but he was convinced that me taking dictation was more efficient for letters.

ANY office where some old senior citizen with a personal secretary can’t be bothered to type their own letters.

Back in the early 80s, when I joined the workforce, I had to type my own letters. Our office had a secretary, but she mostly just typed the manager’s correspondence.

I would put EFAM/me after the signature.

I would later find out that I wasn’t the only one to do that. Not by a long shot. And, I thought I was being original…

That might make sense if he was (and it sounds like this might be the case) better at ‘thinking out loud’ then actually getting his ideas onto paper. He might lose his train of thought when he stopped to type, but just spouting it out at someone in the room must have worked for him, and maybe he needed someone else to polish the letter and deal with the grammar, formatting and all of the other kind of stuff.

I’m sure that’s a LOT better than the kind of fierce dictator with guns and tanks torture chambers. :slight_smile:

it allowed you to blame the typos on someone.

This practice is still common in any organization in which a higher-up wants to review and sign important correspondence. In my career, I’ve often prepared letter reports that took some time to put together, which are then reviewed and signed by a manager or VP. To identify the letter as my work, I often include VP/me at the bottom of the letter.

Our group is mostly a bunch of engineers. We write letters, log them into the data management system, and take a copy to our administration section for formatting and any routing for approval needed. Formatting includes proofreading, putting things into standard format so that everything from our section has a standard look, and printing on letterhead.

Everything gets an XX:xx. Or if someone higher up will be signing it, an XX:XX:xx, with the first XX being the authority signer and the second XX being the writer. For some standard types of letters, there’s two signature blocks and 2XX signs over their own block, but under an unsigned 1XX block.

xx is responsible for seeing that it gets into the mail and sometimes for making requested edits. Other times 2XX makes edits and coordinates with xx. xx makes sure that CCs and emcs (electronic copies) are sent and that a copy is put into central files.

Years later, it’s possible to see who did what, and who might have a copy in their desk files. Most documents also have a file name and path printed at the bottom, so that we can pull up the electronic version easily.