Since the advent of writing, people have made up monograms. A monogram is a symbol of someone’s or something’s name, usually made up of two or more letters. Even when people wrote in cuneiform, all persons of importance had a monogram.
Later on, the monogram took the form of seal rings or ornate stamps. Anything sealed with a person’s monogram was considered to be that person’s official word on the subject. Monograms have also served to represent individuals no longer bodily present, such as the Chi-Rho monogram that is commonly used to represent Jesus Christ.
In more recent times, monograms usually take the form of someone’s initials and mark an item as belonging to that person. Items such as attaché cases, linens, flatware and glassware have long carried monograms, and during the preppie fad in the early 1980s, monograms were standard on sweaters, handbags, wallets and the like. It was a status symbol to have one's monogram on a variety of items.
Some brides do not feel their wedding preparations are complete until they have ordered cards, notepaper and envelopes with their new initials monogrammed on the paper. Monograms also may appear on gold foil stationery seals. In times past, brides also ordered all their household linens and flatware marked with their monograms. Some sterling or gold flatware today is still monogrammed.
Many business people have monograms on their briefcases, and some men have their monograms on the cuffs of their shirt sleeves. Some business people have monogrammed pens or pencils. Jewelry can also carry monograms. Cufflinks, class pins, class rings, signet rings and signet pins may all have monograms.
I.D. bracelets, popular in the late 1970s, frequently had monograms, although they were also imprinted with the wearer’s name, astrological sign or a witty phrase. Monogrammed sunglasses were popular at this time, as well. Some luxury cars carry the owner’s monogram on the dashboard or on the seats. Athletes may have their monograms on their shoes or uniforms. Many people also have their luggage monogrammed.
Monograms serve to confirm identity, but they also allow people to individualize their belongings. A monogram is often a personal statement. Monograms appeal to those who like to add a personal touch to their belongings.