When did married women stop being addressed as Mrs. Husband'sFirstName Husband'sLastName?

I don’t think anyone was upset by that, i just thought it was a mildly amusing and relevant anecdote.

And at “back to school night” and other events where i would be socializing with people who didn’t know me, but whose kids knew my kids, i used to write “child name’s mom” next to my name on the name tag.

When my mother was active in the PTA during the late '60’s and early ‘70’s, she would occasionally get a list of parents’ names and dial each in succession, always beginning her end of the conversation with “This is Mrs. MyDad’sFirstName MyDad’sLastName calling.” While I thought it archaic, she explained it was proper. Next time I talk to her, I’ll ask her when she started referring to herself by her first name on such occasions.

Sure. In the UK for example, from what I understand, if you are the Duchess of Southumberland you will get correspondence addressed to (Her Grace) the Duchess of Southumberland. But if you are married to the Duke of Southumberland, letters will be addressed to… The Duchess of Southumberland.

Doesn’t seem like it should be too hard to at least be a Mrs in your own right, though.

My mother got married just before WW2 and took her husband’s surname but AFAIK retained her Christian name. After the way, and by the time I was old enough to notice these things, she sometimes got formal letters addressed to Mrs Captain Robert Santa, but mostly she would be Mrs J Santa.

I’ve never seen anyone in my family addressed as Mrs John Smith.

My mom got mail as Mrs Jane Smith. Using her married name. I think she would have been insulted to get mail in my dad’s name.

I saw mail at my grandparents house. I can’t recall how it was addressed. My grandmother loved writing letters to relatives and old friends. I’m pretty sure personal letters were addressed directly to her.

The daughters of the Duke of York, who are both married, appear in the Court Circular as —

HRH Princess Eugenie, Mrs Jack Brooksbank; and

HRH Princess Beatrice, Mrs Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Shouldn’t it be HRH Princes Beatrice, Countess Mozzi?

From this article when they got married in the summer:

Titles awarded by the Kingdom of Italy (as this was) ceasedt to be officially recognised or used in 1946, when the republic was established. They are sometimes used socially as a courtesy, but I imagin the Court circular is going to stick to the official usage.

Is your last name Smith?

No. Smith is just an example.

I asked my mom last night. She wasn’t familiar with women being addressed as
Mrs husband’s first, last name either.

Our grandparents and great grandparents were poor working class. Formal names may have been different in elevated social circles.

Ahh, I thought the Court acknowledged titles held in pretense from former monarchies as a courtesy. Like how they invited the King of Greece to Charles & Diana’s wedding.

I still address envelopes Mr. & Mrs. Husband’sFirstName Husband’sLastName. It will often appear that way in the phone book, too - which I still use occasionally for work. In spoken address I will use Mr. & Mrs. Husband’sLastName, even if the missus kept her maiden name or did a hyphen thing.

If I know the woman is married but am writing her I’ll use Mrs. First Last (missus). If I don’t know whether she is married I use Ms. First Last (miss). For a girl I’ll write out Miss. In spoken address I use Missus Lastname or Miss Lastname depending on personal knowledge of her marital status.

I learned these forms in… kindergarten and first grade, I believe. This century.


You shouldn’t default to “Mrs” just because you know she’s married. Lots of people know my name and know I’m married - but not nearly as many know that I didn’t take my husband’s name. And although I know there are websites out there that will tell you Mrs just means married so Mrs Birthname is OK, that’s not true. Historically, married women who kept their name for professional purposes were referred to as Miss Lucille Ball ,for example. And now that Ms. exists, every woman I know who didn’t change her name prefers and uses “Ms” with her last name, even those who don’t mind being addressed as Mr &Mrs Husband’s name socially.

Ms. is generally safest if you don’t know the person’s preference, not just if you don’t know their marital status.

I was just teasing my wife about this today. Her parents’ Christmas card was sent to Mr. And Mrs. Digger. My wife has a PhD and should at least be getting the Dr. treatment from her parents. We get a lot of mail from our college to Dr. and Mr. Digger but she also changed her last name when we got married so that is actually correct.

Too late to edit but the Christmas Card from her parents was addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Ore Digger so she only got the Mrs. and they ignored her Dr.

Well, the default assumption is that a woman who is married goes by Mrs. I can only think of one time I have been corrected for using “Mrs.” with what turns out to be a maiden name, and she was very nice about it.

If we have a couple in our lobby (which we frequently do) and I need to speak with the woman, and I don’t know whether she is married, I’ll address her as miss [name]. Sometimes I am harshly corrected for addressing a married woman as “miss” in front of her husband, but I couldn’t know that was her husband - it would be unreasonable and potentially illegal for me to presume so. So it’s unavoidable. Most of the time I know beforehand if this woman is married, and I’m not particularly looking forward to apologizing every time it turns out she expects to be addressed as missus.


In those circumstances, I would generally avoid titles altogether. Just saying “Excuse me” usually suffices. The exception would be when in France (or, I guess, if the couple is French) when the default is always Mam’selle.)

The problem of form of address extends to the workplace too. Do you call your boss Janet, Ms/Mrs/Miss Smith or Ma’am?

Christmas card tally:
From wife’s college chum: Mr & Mrs. HisFirst HisLastAlsoHerAdoptedLast.
From wife’s church’s “Honorary Mom to all”: Mr HisFirst & Mrs. HerFirst HisLastAlsoHerAdoptedLast.
From neighbors who know both of us equally:

    Mr & Mrs. HisFirst HisLastAlsoHerAdoptedLast.

    HerFirst & HisFirst HisLastAlsoHerAdoptedLast.

I think we can conclude that “standardized etiquette” is dead. Which is probably a good thing.

While the Court isn’t always consistent, I think they usually make a distinction between those who held a title personally under the monarchy (Constantine was actually on the throne for a few years back in the 1960s) and those who would have held a title if the monarchy still existed (Edo was born long after Italy became a republic).