Business letter in the system of regional documents in the middle of the 18th century
The development of the business letter as a separate type of documents is the issue the present article focuses on. The material for the study is collected in the Volgograd Oblast State Archive (Fund 332, Inventory 1). The linguistic and documentary analysis of business letters dating back to the middle of the 18th century, when Cossack administrative entities incorporated into the state social-and-political system of Russia, was carried out. It was aimed at determining the status of business letters in the local system of documents. There have been identified several indicators of business letter consistency, like its self-designation, the direction of communication, capability of initiation, inclusion into a particular group of documents on the basis of their function. Within the system of business correspondence, which existed in the offices of the Don Cossack Army, business letters were informing and regulatory documents that accompanied the process of investigation, provided multi-level business communication (from a superior to an inferior, from an inferior to a superior, between equal-status communicants). The business letter is established to occupy a peripheral position in the system of the Don Army documents, because, despite obtaining unity in some form features, it was still an underdeveloped document type. It was manifested in irregular self-designation, variable directions of communication, and capability of initiation implementation options; the combination of functions, as well as lack of specific differentiation between the letter and the donoshenije (report), reflected in the available documents.