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A Monogram, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a sign of identity usually formed of the combined initials of a name.

Historically, monograms were used as a royal signatures. Monograms were first used as currency. Romans and Greeks marked clay coins with the initials of the ruler of the region. Monograms were then added to mark the valuable items of the royalty.  The silver, gold and other metals now had the markings of belonging to a particular person or family. In the Victorian Era, monograms were used to show others their place in high society.   

Early monograms consisted of only two initials, while common monograms are three initials. The Victorian format is first initial, large last initial, and middle initial.  The traditional male monogram consists of the same-size letters first, middle, last initial.

Monograms of the 19th century had the three initials side by side with no overlap. The first and last name initials were a smaller font size than the middle initial.   To move into a more modern design, a "symbol" was created from the large last name initial overlapped by the smaller first and middle name initials.

Rules or Helpful Hints for monogramming

There are rules to be followed when creating a monogram, but of course, they are flexible!  A common way to personalize an item is with a single initial, usually the first letter of the last name.  On table linens, this looks simple and elegant.  Many people prefer the 3-letter monogram, the order of letters is based on preference.  Married couples are blending monograms now- female first name initial on left, male first initial on right, last name larger in center.

Single women: most often use first letter of given name, surname and then middle name Ann Barbara Connors would be aCb. 

Single men: pretty simple for David Evan Friend he can choose DEF or dFe.

Married women: many women upon marriage, drop their middle name and add their husband's surname  so Ann Connors is now married to David Friend her new monogram is aFc.

Married couples often merge their initials to make a married monogram so Ann and David's couple monogram is aFd.