We use the term “cc” all the time. Some of us remember using actual carbon paper to make copies of a typed document. There are many carbon copies in the Federation files from the decades before office photocopiers became common, probably in Federation’s case in the 1970s. The carbon copies are problematic for many reasons. 2 reasons stand out for me:
1. The paper used for the copy was a cheaper quality than the letterhead used for the original letter or report, and often turns brown and becomes brittle. More on this in a later post.
2. Multiple carbon copies could be made using as many pieces of carbon paper as you could and still get a legible copy. Many documents in these files are multiple sets of the same document, filed so that if another copy was needed, the document would not have to be retyped – which, often, it was. There were rooms full of typists at many organizations and companies in the 1920s to 1950s, creating all the necessary sets of the same document as were needed – usually correspondence, as longer documents could be professionally printed.
A problem with carbons of course was that the greater the number of copies made at one time, the weaker the later copies would be – farther from the strike of the typewriter key and the inked ribbon. The 2 versions of the document below subtly illustrate the difference. If just a later carbon copy survives, it can be difficult or impossible to read or reproduce the document.