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of the President's commission and the committee on economy and efficiency in that department:

After study of the reports upon the subject submitted to the President's commission and a personal examination of the methods employed in some of the bureaus and offices of the department, the committee has reached the following conclusions:

The following are adopted as fundamental principles: 1. That all correspondence should be filed flat in vertical files. 2. That no briefing upon the back of correspondence should be permitted. 3. That no bound book registers of correspondence received and sent be permitted.

The committee finds that these principles are in practice in every bureau and office in the Department of Commerce and Labor, and they are set forth here simply that the attitude of the committee be definitely stated.

4. That no book or card record of incoming or outgoing correspondence be made except where absolutely necessary,

5. That the correspondence of the several bureaus and offices of the department, both incoming and copies of outgoing, be filed wherever practicable upon a subject classification, arranged as nearly as possible upon a self-indexing basis; and where file numbers are regarded as essential therewith, that such numbers be according to a logical arrangement under a decimal or analogous system, to insure the proper grouping of all correspondence upon each subject.

6. That carbon copies constitute the record of outgoing correspondence, and that press copying be discontinued except in such instances as the secretary shall expressly except, owing to the peculiar needs of two or three offices.

As to recommendations made in paragraphs numbered 4, 5, and 6, the committee finds that many of the filing offices have already put these principles into successful practice, although not in all cases as methodically as possible, so that with the formal approval of these recommendations but little work will remain to effect as complete uniformity as is possible in the various offices of this department.

7. We are of opinion that the dictation machine can be used to advantage in some of the bureaus of the department. We recommend that this committee be authorized to institute tests in cooperation with bureaus desiring to ascertain the practicability of the use of the dictation machine for correspondence, and that appropriate statistics be kept during the progress of such tests to show the ratio of output by the use of the dictation machine, as compared to the output by the stenographic method.

8. We are of opinion that many forms used in connection with correspondence can be improved by a rearrangement that will concentrate the filled-in information or data into one ample space instead of being scattered throughout the form. Such an arrangement saves time in two ways: (1) The reviewing officer or employee can see at a glance, because of its compactness and definite location, everything that has been filled in by the typewriter, without loss of time in reading any part of the printed form, and without long skips. (2) The typewriter can fill in such a form more rapidly if the information is concentrated in one place and is written straight-away than if he has to skip from place to place to insert words or items.

We recommend the designation of a representative from each bureau and division of the department who has knowledge of the purpose and use of the forms used in connection with correspondence in his office, to collect such forms and to cooperate with this committee in rearranging the matter thereof in the manner suggested, so that the committee can make suitable recommendations regarding the correspondence forms of each office.

9. We recommend that in all service correspondence, that is, all correspondence originating in and directed to an office or officer of the Department of Commerce and Labor, whether the officer addressed be higher or lower in position than the officer or employee writing the letter, the following rules be prescribed:

(a) That the salutation and complimentary close be omitted.

(6) That the name of the official or employee addressed be omitted and the address consist exclusively of the title wherever such title is sufficiently exclusive and distinctive as to cause no error or confusion. ("Official” is used herein to designate administrative officers appointed by the President, and "employee" to designate all below such rank, and to include chief clerks of all grades, chiefs of offices, divisions, sections, stations, etc.). This recommendation is designed to eliminate all useless writing of names; but names must of course be used where titles are not sufficiently exclusive.

(c) That all purely formal or ceremonial phrases at the beginning or end of communications, such as, “I have the honor," "I would respectfully," " I have the honor to be, etc.," be omitted. (These are used only to a small extent in this department.)

(d) That only the last name of the signing official or supervising employee be used, and that the full name or initials be employed only where necessary to prevent confusion.


(e) That the title of the signing official be omitted after his signature, wherever the letterhead clearly indicates this title. This rule would require the use of the title in cases like the following: (1) When the signature is that of an acting official. . (2) When the letterhead has simply the name of the bureau, division, service, or station, and affords no evidence of the title or designation of the signing official or employee.

I That the department prescribe a standard list of abbreviations or shortened titles for use in cases where the exact titles are cumbersome; for example, Supervising Inspector-General, Steamboat-Inspection Service. The ninth recommendation is based upon the following considerations:

The reports made to the President's Commission on Economy and Efficiency on the subject of handling and filing correspondence show that there are dictated to and prepared by stenographers and typewriters in the Department of Commerce and Labor in Washington approximately two million communications annually. It is believed to be a reasonable estimate that three-fourths of this number, or say one and one-half millions, are "service" communications; that is to say communications between Government officers and employees. Any saving, no matter how slight, in the way of simplification and abbreviation of correspondence, when multiplied by 1,500,000, becomes an element of considerable importance, and the elimination of useless words and phrases would in the aggregate effect a saving of large amounts.

The elements of a letter in the order in which they customarily appear are as follows: 1. The title and location of the person or office from which the letter emanates. 2. The date. 3. The name, title, and location of the person addressed. 4. The salutation. 5. The body of the communication. 6. The complimentary close. 7. The signature. 8. The title of the person signing.

The essential elements of a letter are the date, the person from whom or office from which the letter emanates, the person or officer to whom the letter is sent, the body of the communication, and the signature. The salutation, such as “Dear Sir,” and the complimentary close, such as Very respectfully,” add nothing to the letter from the standpoint of transacting the business of the Government. These elements serve no practical purpose and can be eliminated without detriment to the public business and at a considerable saving of time and expense.

Considerable saving can also be made in the other elements of the letter. For example, the title of the person from whom the communication emanates is usually stated twice—first, in the letterhead, and again below the signature. Stating this information once serves the practical purposes of the letter, especially as the official position of the writer is well known to the person addressed. Also, the name of the official or person addressed may frequently be omitted, with more advantage than the mere saving of time; and the longer titles can well be abbreviated. The following fictitious letter (which is supposed to be on the letterhead of the chief clerk of the department), written in the common and then in the simplified form, will illustrate the saving recommended by the committee:


Chief, Division of Supplies. DEAR SIR: Please prepare for the Secretary a report, with totals by fiscal years and by bureaus and divisions, showing the expenditure for vertical filing furniture for offices in Washington, from the organization of the department to June 30, 1911. Very truly yours,

R. M. PINDELL, Chief Clerk. Simplified form:


Please prepare for the Secretary a report, with totals by fiscal years and by bureaus and divisions, showing the expenditure for vertical filing furniture for offices in Washa ington, from the organization of the department to June 30, 1911.

PINDELL. Every practical purpose of the communication is as well subserved in the second form as in the first, and 13 words or initials are saved. (Thirteen times 1,500,000 would be 19,500,000 words and initials, or enough to use up the time of one typewriter, at full speed, for three to five years.) The estimate of 1,500,000 “service" letters includes only letters prepared in the department in Washington; the incoming “service” letters from the field service would add nearly a million to these figures, That this proposition is not based upon theory alone is evident from the fact that several foreign Governments in some of their large departments have actually elimi. nated from their correspondence the salutation and complimentary close, as well as abbreviated titles of their public officers. In the United States some large corpora tions are doing the same thing. One of the greatest railroad companies in America, whose methods were examined by two members of your committee, is simplifying its correspondence to the extent of eliminating the salutation and complimentary close and also employing only the initials of the individual from whom the letter emanates and to whom it is addressed in correspondence within certain divisions of its service. This is being done as an experiment and is meeting with such success that its use will probably be extended all over the system. In one of the largest mail-order houses of the country, in which are prepared from 17,000 to 23,000 letters a day, the salutation is omitted from all correspondence the company has with the public. The natural opinion would be that a concern soliciting business from the public would be guided by courtesy or formality to such extent as to leave the salutation in the letter. The concern, however, has evidently reached the conclusion that system in its business would be appreciated by the public quite as much as unnecessary formality.

In the German Navy, as well as in our own Navy Department, the salutation and the complimentary close are omitted from correspondence within the service, and the signing officer writes his last name only, with omission of title below the signature. In the French Na ically the same rule is followed. In the British vy simplification and abbreviation have been carried further than is here proposed.

Appendix No. 8




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