Notation of dates in England vs America

Lyda Fens-de Zeeuw is very curious to learn more about why/when/(how) the notation of dates in letters became different in U.S. English as opposed to British English (or vice versa??), i.e. mm-dd-year vs. dd-mm-year. What was common in England in the Early Modern period? and in America? And how did this develop later? Since when(exactly?) was there a structurally different way of notation? (Her own corpus of the eighteenth-century American-born grammarian Lindley Murray shows dd-mm-year exclusively).

The Almanacs of the period that she has consulted have not yet helped her further, since these mainly show lists of days in a particular month or year.

What did you observe in letters that may be in your possession? Are you aware of any literature on the subject? She is very interested to hear your ideas and suggestions.

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  1. Sam Kaislaniemi

    Postmarks regularly give the date with the month above the day. I’m sure there’s literature on them at least.

    I had a quick look in the CEEC; collections/writers with letters which have dates m/d/y include: Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia, Andrew Marvell, the Oxinden family, Francis Blomefield, William Cowper, David Garrick, Humphrey Prideaux, Ignatius Sancho, Thomas Secker, Thomas Twining, Thomas Warton, Josiah Wedgwood, Wentworth..

    Looks like a 18thC development to me. Also, in 18thC the style “Month XXth, 17XX” is common.

    What about continental influence? The whole old style/new style division only ended in 1752..

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