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Archive for April 16th, 2011

I am preparing a letter to the VP in his role as President of the Senate to be signed by our CEO. For addressing the letter, would I use the protocol for addressing him as The Vice President, Old Executive Office Building, Washington, DC; Dear Mr. Vice President or asPresident of the Senate?  If it should be as President of the Senate, would he be addressed asThe Honorable Joseph Biden?
I refer to your Web site often and find it very helpful – thank you very much for any assistance you can give me.
— Pat at MCC in DC

Dear Pat:
There is always a flurry of comments in the media when they pick up that The President of the United States addresses The Vice President presiding as The President of the Senate at the State of the Union Address as Mr. President.
But he is absolutely correct in doing so, because in that room The Vice Presidentis Mr. President of the Senate.
George Bush one year addressed Dick Cheney as Mr. Vice President and the protocol professionals went into meltdown mode.
I include that form of address on page 168 of my book. The envelope to the Vice President as President of the Senate is addressed to The Vice President at his/her Senate’s office on Capitol Hill:
The Vice President
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
The salutation is to the Vice President in his capacity as President of the Senate is:
Dear Mr. President
If the letter is to him or her as the Vice President it goes to The Old Executive Office Building … the salutation is to:
Dear Mr. Vice President
This is consistent with the American tradition that we give an official just one title at a time …but address a person who he or she is to us at that moment. I usually give the example of a Navy Captain who is an MD … who you address as “Captain” as your commanding officer but as “Dr.” when he is examining your foot,
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

Mr. Hickey – this is HUGELY helpful, thank you very much and yes, I will order your book.  We were close to getting it all right except for the envelope, so glad you included that info – thanks again, Pat

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Can a former U.S. Army Captain that was medically retired after three years of service use their rank … e.g., Cpt (full name) USA, Ret. or is that designation reserved for service members that completed 20 or more years of military service and reached full military retirement?
   — Kristen Selleck

Dear K.S.:
If the member was medically retired they may use the rank in the same manner as a service member who retired after serving for 20 years.  However, it they were medically separated or temporarily retired then … they would not.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I am preparing a wooden ‘keepsake’ for a confirmand – and I am personalizing the piece with the child’s name, date of event and the name of the celebrant: Bishop John J McIntyre. 
Which is the more appropriate written form of address for this purpose (keepsake for a child):
  Bishop John J. MacIntosh
 or
  The Most Reverend John J. MacIntosh
~ D.M. Novak

Dear D.M.N.:
The formal form of written address is:
 The Most Reverend John J. MacIntosh
The form to use in conversation — or in a letter’s salutation is:
  Bishop MacIntosh
So on the keepsake use the formal written form of his name:
   The Most Reverend John J. MacIntosh
       – Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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How would I address and invitation to Rabbis that are husband and wife?
   — D.K.

Dear D.K.:
The most formal way would be to list them both fully …. first one … then the other.
   Rabbi Joel Pine
and Rabbi Julia Pine
2141 Wilson Boulevard
Silver Spring, Maryland 20987
Which one you put first will depend on the topic on which you are writing:
If it’s an invitation to her and he is on the letter as her spouse …. she’d be first
If it’s to him or to them together use the Mr. and Mrs. order …. list him first.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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How would you address (letter and envelope) to a Union NJ Committeeman?
~ Kathleen P. McK.

Dear Ms. McK.:
In my book I have a form for a member of a city our county council.
I give much more in my book of course — and only cover some of the basics here on-line.
In the salutation Mr./Ms. (Surname): would be the most formal
…. but it would not be incorrect to use Dear Committeeman (Surname):
       – Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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A physician and his wife are co-chairing a hospital event.  How do I recognize them on the invitation and signage.
Are these the only 2 options?
Dr. and Mrs. John Doe
John and Mary Doe
Anyway to include the wife’s first name and also mention husband is a MD??
~ Fluharty in Lynn, MA

Dear Fluharty:
Most formally would be:
Dr. John Doe and Mrs. Doe
Dr. and Mrs. John Doe
… but if you wanted to include her name you could consider:
          John Doe, MD, and Nancy Doe
It is not as formal, and includes his academic post-nominal (usually used just on official correspondence sent to his office) but does allow for you to include her given name.
      – Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I am addressing envelopes for invitations to the retirement of a municipal employee.  One couple being invited is our former municipal court judge (she is retired) and her husband who is a brigadier general (Army), also retired.  Your book says that once honorable, always an honorable.  Is a judgeship considered a “rank”?  Who has the higher rank in this situation?
       ~ Virginia @ Public Works

Dear T. Suzuki:
Joint forms can be complicated!  I cover all this in my book in the chapter onJoint Forms of Address.
Yes, being “the Honorable” is indeed a personal rank which stays with the person.
On the envelope it would be
The Honorable Nancy Doe
and Brigadier General William Doe
As a retired judge she is still the honorable.
USA (United States Army) and Retired are not used on social correspondence.
Elected officials and judges of federal, state, and municipals courts are higher than an appointed armed service officer … Unless he is the one you are actually inviting and she is just his “guest” … your invitee is listed first … their guest is listed after them.
On the inside envelope list them as you would address them in conversation:
   Judge Doe and General Doe
       – Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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