Salutes and signatures [152]


Encoding of salutations and signatures in letters using <salute> and <signed>


A salute is a salutation or greeting, either preceding a textual unit such as a foreword, or included within the opening or closing of a letter. The TEI’s description of <salute> and <signed> (TEI Guidelines, section 7.2.2) makes <salute> and <signed> sound as if they are almost interchangeable; however, the WWP does distinguish more closely between them. The <salute> contains words addressed to (“saluting”) the reader or to the addressee of a letter, appearing either at the beginning or end of a <div> or a letter. The <signed> contains words naming the writer or writers, usually containing a <persName>. A single <signed> element may contain multiple names. Both should always be enclosed within an <opener> or <closer> element, together with any other opening elements such as <dateLine>. See examples 1 and 2.

Phrases referring only to the letter-writer, particularly phrases that include the signature itself, should be encoded using <signed> rather than <salute>. Phrases referring to the addressee should be encoded using <salute>. In cases where the two are intermingled, we encode the phrase using <salute>. See examples 2 and 3.

Note that although the person signing the letter is the author of the document, you should not use <author> instead of <persName> here, since <author> is meant to be used only in a bibliographic way. Often it is somewhat difficult to tell whether or not the prose preceeding the <signed> is a <salute> or not, so think carefully when you mark up openers and closers. Example 4 shows a case with no <salute> element. Example 5 shows a more complex case.


Example 1: A simple opener with place, date, and salutation
<dateLine><placeName>Hardscrabble Hall</placeName>, <date>12 July 1814</date></dateLine>
<salute>To the most illustrious Lord Denby of Denby,</salute></opener>

Example 2: A simple closer with a salutation and signature
<closer><salute>MADAM, Your Majesty’s most Loyal, most Humble, and most Obedient Servant,</salute>
<signed><persName>Mary Chudleigh</persName>.</signed></closer>

Example 3:
<closer><salute>I have the honor to remain, Sir, </salute>
<signed>Your most humble and obedient servant,<persName>Mary Chudleigh</persName></signed></closer>

Example 4: A closer with no salute:
<closer><dateline>Written in the Inquisition-Prison
in the Isle of <placename>Malta</placename>.</dateline>
<signed><persName>Katharine Evans</persName>.
<lb><persName>Sarah Chevers</persName>

Example 5: a more complex example from Familiar Letters by Katherine Philips, page 141.
<closer rend="slant(italic)">
<salute rend="indent(1)"><rs rend="slant(upright)case(allcaps)">Madam</rs>,
<lb>Your Ladiships most faithful Servant,
<lb rend="indent(2)">and passionate Friend,
<signed rend="slant(upright) align(right)">
<persName rend="case(allcaps)">Orinda</persName>.</signed>
<dateline rend="slant(italic)"><date value="1658-06-25" rend="slant(upright)">June <hi rend="slant(italic)">the</hi> 25th</date>.
<placename> Priory of <hi rend="slant(upright)">Cardigan</hi></placename>.</dateline> </closer>

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