Aptly Translated R.S.V.P.
S. B. A. N.
It is Said That Senator Vance Originated This Abbreviation.
The Savannah Morning News of last Sunday, contained the following item:
“Some one has aptly translated the R.S.V.P. placed on wedding invitations, as has been done
occasionally “Real Silver Vedding Presents” and why not? An amusing anecdote is told in
connection with this subject. A lady here, on receiving an invitation with R.S.V.P. inscribed,
placed on her reply the unfamiliar combination S.B.A.N., which roused great curiosity, and
feeling on the part of the recipient that she must be far behind the times. After searching through
Ollendorf for any possible phrase that might bear the mysterious initials S.B.A.N. she gave it up,
and was amazed to find weeks afterward that the letters intended simply to convey the fact, in
plain English that the note was sent by a messenger of color!”
Mr. P. H. Hughes, of Savannah, who sends us the above adds: “So far my recollection goes
Senator Vance was the author of “S.B.A.N.” which I explained to the sender of an invitation to
attend a banquet in Washington years ago as meaning “Sent by a negro.” Seems the Senator
was not very well __ on French and did not understand what “R.S.V.P.” meant, but determined
not to be outdone placed the letters, “S.B.A.N.” on the envelope containing his reply to the invitation.
This puzzled the brains of the senders more than did the letters “R.S.V.P.” which appeared on the
invitation received by our late lamented Senator.”
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