Mexico’s escribanos: sending email without the internet (The Toronto Star)

Also known as scribes, they continue to be in demand, writing letters for estranged lovers and complaints to government

Jose Edith Gonzalez, 73, has been an escribano for 45 years. (Photo: Kimberley Brown)

MEXICO CITY—Typewriters are long thought to be a thing of the past, or an essential piece of vintage decor, but not in Santo Domingo Square in Mexico City. Here, some 20 escribanos sit outside, behind their typewriters and small wooden writing desks, waiting for customers. 

The escribanos are Mexico City’s professional letter writers. They’ve existed in this square for more than 150 years, taking dictation from academics, writing love letters for estranged lovers and helping friends and families correspond.

Jose Edith Gonzalez, 73, has been doing this job for 45 years. Today a woman has asked him to write a birthday letter for her mother-in-law. His jaw drops in astonishment.

“In all my years here, I have never heard of a wife and her mother-in-law loving each other,” he says.

(For the full article, continue to The Toronto Star)

A client approaches Jose and asks him to write a personal letter for her mother in law (Photo: KB)


The Plaza Santo Domingo, the outside office of the ecribanos (Photo: KB)


Escibanos, printers and stationary designers and venders have a long history in the Plaza Santo Domingo (Photo: KB)

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