Text of letter advertising French Coffee -
Great American Tea Company

The letter below was enclosed in the advertising cover shown on my A page (and at the bottom of this page). Is it really handwritten, or is this just an early example of the phony "personal touch" still so popular with modern mail advertisers such as Publishers Clearing House? It's obvious that the salutation was added after the body - was the letter mechanically reproduced, or did the company have a stable of workers copying out thousands of these by hand? (See scan of the original at bottom)

New York, Set. 28th, 1894

T. A. Kingsley

Dear Sir -

We are introducing to the public a very superior article of French Brk. & Dinner Coffee which we are fully assured will give better satisfaction than any other coffee now in use. As we have been supplying the City trade with it for years it has been fully tested, but never until lately have we introduced it to the country trade.

Your name has been handed to us as a desirable party to assist in introducing it to the public. Among the advantages this coffee has over others is, that we buy all our Coffee by the Cargo and select none but the best. Our profits are smaller than any other house is willing to sell for. We have the oldest and most experienced Coffee roaster in the country. And we have a secret in manufacturing known only to ourselves, which improves the flavor and appearance very much.

With your permission we will send you a Sixty lb. Box of this Coffee as a sample for trial. If you find it sells well, and gives good satisfaction and that it is for your advantage to keep it, you may send us the pay for it, and if it does not please you and suit your trade you can return the Coffee within Sixty Days, we paying freight & expenses "both ways".

Our price of this Coffee is 25 cts per lb, and when sold by the "trade mark" is usually sold for 35 cts per lb.

Your early reply is solicited,

Very Respectfully Yours,

The Great American Tea Co.

35-37 Vesey St.

This proposition expires in ninety days.

Below are scans of the cover and letter - click on either image to view a full-size high- res version.


All Letter images Copyright © 1997, 2000, SF chapter of AIGA
All text Copyright © 2000, William M. Senkus

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Revised -- 08/06/2001