Job Reference From My Great-Grandmother, 1918

A hundred years ago, employers probably already had a hard time thinking about how to write a job reference letter, same as today. And what made it even harder for them, they didn’t have office software with text templates to choose from.

This is a reference letter, written in Kurrent script, which my great-grandmother received in 1918 for her work as cook at a big farm. It has a few spelling mistakes (AutoCorrect hadn’t been invented yet 😉 ), however, it sounds very favourably.


Waltrop, 1st Nov 1918

Reference letter

Miss Lilli Düllmann from Fley near
Hagen was from 1st Nov 1916 until 1st Nov 1917 working here as
an apprentice cook, and afterwards until 1st Nov 1918 as a
support (cook). During this time, she did
very well, and excelled with diligence and honesty.
In the common as well as in the
finer kitchen she knew how to combine the good
with thrift very well, and paid highest attention to tidiness and
cleanliness. She was an example
for her subordinates and she was loved and respected
by the children. That is why we regret
her leave. It should be my pleasure
to recommend her as a trustworthy,
well-behaved and peaceful person, and we let her
go with the here learned skills for
her further life.

Frau Jos. Schlüter
née Schulte Oer.


An old, handwritten reference letter, written in Kurrent script.
The original reference letter.