Acronyms and Abbreviations used in Finding Aids

These acronyms are sometimes used by the Manuscripts and Special Collections Unit in finding aids, particularly to describe autograph materials, i.e., documents written and/or signed by a particular person.

A.D. - autograph document
A handwritten document that was not signed.
A.D.S. - autograph document signed
A document (other than a letter) that was hand-written and signed by the person named.
A.L. - autograph letter
A.L.S. - autographed letter signed
A letter that was hand-written and signed by the person named.
A.N. - autograph note
A brief hand-written message.
A.N.S. - autograph note signed
Brief message hand-written and signed by the same person.
A.S. - autograph signature
C.D.V. - carte de visite
A thin paper photograph mounted on a thicker paper card of about 2.5 by 4 inches, popularly used as visiting cards in the U.S. in the 1860s.
D - document
D.S. - document signed
A document (other than a letter) that was printed or hand-written by someone else, but signed by the person named.
EL - indicate a folio size or extra-large document
L.S. - letter signed
A letter that was hand-written by someone else, but signed by the person named.
M.S. - Manuscript Signed
Mss. - manuscripts
ca. - circa
"in approximately" or "around," referring to a date
n.d. - no date
An undated document whose date cannot be determined by its content.
n.p. - no place
The place where the letter or document was written is unknown.
n.s. - note signed
Brief message signed by the person named.
s.n. - sine nomine
Name of publisher unknown.
T.L.I. - Typed letter initialed
T.L. - Typed letter
T.L.S. - Typed letter signed
v.d. - various dates
Last Updated: March 11, 2020