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October 28, 2013


Sheila A Beck

Very nice.


I actually have a huge stack of sympathy cards from the 1960's when my grandmother died. They are an unexpected link to a woman I never met.

Christy Schiffer

I live in Vienna, and you can still find this stationery (in fact, I bought it the first time thinking it looked cool, and not realizing it was mourning stationery). Most of the time, they are just black-edged single pieces of card stock, with matching envelopes. I always understood that they were supposed to be for sending condolences, not just for the person themselves in mourning.

I'm fortunate that I haven't had to use mine very often, but I think the look is terrific. I wouldn't want to send one to someone out of context (gosh that would be some bad mojo!), but I think it's such a great look. This would be terrific in a variety of colors, and I think I'm going to edge some Christmas card envelopes this year!


Interesting. In today's world, that would be seen as seeking attention.


That's an interesting perspective, Jeff, and one that I myself have wondered about. I considered that one could use the mourning stationery to acknowledge condolences received.

It is interesting that, while often the Victorians are characterized as being "obsessed with death," the whole mourning process was much more accepted and considered normal than it is today. We are just expected to get on with it....

I don't know what I would think if an acquaintance wrote me a letter on mourning stationery, especially if I was not aware that he or she had lost a family member or loved one. I almost see it as an open acknowledgement of the fact that Things Have Changed and that, if the writer seems different, it is because he or she in fact is.


I purchased some black-edged writing paper from a Hallmark store last year only to sit down to write and think , " this looks like mourning stationery". I turned out to have need of it in January when my step father passed away. While we were not close, the experience of wakes, funerals and my family's heartache made the black-edged stationery seem suitable. Just as writing letter that week on hello Kitty stationery would have seemed oddly insensitive and inappropriate.


Crane carries them as well. I bought a largish pack of them when my father died and used them exclusively for correspondence until they ran out. It wasn't a full year, but it felt right to observe mourning in that way.


Also, re: Jeff's comment. I honestly don't think anyone noticed. I used some to reply to condolences I received, but most went completely unremarked upon—by both those who knew my father had died and those who didn't. I think the custom is old enough—and letter writing rare enough—that "nice stationery" is to be remarked upon before "stationery with a black border".

…I also sealed exclusively in black wax until the stationery ran out.

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