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History of Monogramming

By Barbara Davidson

Monograms first appeared on coins, as early as 350BC. The earliest known examples are of the names of Greek cities who issued the coins, often the first two letters of the city's name.

Monograms have been used as signatures by artists and craftsmen on paintings, sculptures and pieces of furniture.

Christograms appeared in biblical times and Royal Monograms were used by monarchs as part of the insignia of public organizations in kingdoms, such as on police badges. This indicated a connection to the ruler. Royal monograms often appear on coins, frequently with a crown.

Countries that have employed this tradition include Great Britain, Russia, Sweden and many German states.

Individual monograms

An individual's monogram is often a very fancy piece of art used for stationery, for adorning

luggage, for embroidery on clothing, and so forth. These monograms may have two or three letters.

A traditional three letter monogram has the initial of the individual's last name (surname) set

larger, or with some special treatment in the center, while the first name initial appears to the left

of it and the middle name initial appears to the right of it. For example, if the individual's name is Mary Ann Jones, and Jones is the surname, then the arrangement of letters would be M J A, with the surname initial set larger in the center, the M for Mary to the left and the A for Ann to the right.

Married or engaged couples may use two-letter monograms of their combined initials. Married couples may also create three-letter monograms incorporating the initial of their shared surname.

For example, the monogram M J A might be used for Michael and Alice Jones. However, monogramming etiquette for the married couple varies according to the item being. Monograms can often be found on custom dress shirts where they can be located in a number of different positions.

Corporate logos

Some companies and organizations adopt a monogram for a logo, usually with the letters of their acronym. For example, as well as having an official seal, and the Texas Longhorns logo, the

University of Texas at Austin uses a "UT" monogram (in the same color as the Longhorns logo, burnt orange). The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team also uses a monogram on their ball cap insignia. The Consolidated Edison logo, with a rounded "E" nested inside a "C" has been described as a "classic emblem”.

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