Crossed letter

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A crossed letter, 1837, Ontario, Canada
Cross-hatched letter of 1837, Massachusetts, USA.

A crossed letter is a manuscript letter which contains two separate sets of writing, one written over the other at right-angles.[1][2] This was done during the early days of the postal system in the 19th century to save on expensive postage charges, as well as to save paper. The technique is also called cross-hatching.[3]

This is distinct from a palimpsest as manuscripts were written this way at one sitting or for the same purpose (such as a diary), rather than being re-used later.


  1. ^ "A crossed letter". Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  2. ^ Livingston, Ira (1997). "The Romantic Double-Cross: Keats's Letters". Arrow of Chaos: Romanticism and Postmodernity. University of Minnesota Press. p. 143. ISBN 0-8166-2795-9. 
  3. ^ Hassam, Andrew (1994), Sailing to Australia: shipboard diaries by nineteenth-century British emigrants, Manchester University Press ND, p. 27, ISBN 0-7190-4546-0 

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