“I must refer you to himself for his character.”
Benjamin Franklin wrote the following recommendation from France for an acquaintance about to sail to America.
Benjamin Franklin's Letter of Recommendation
Paris, April 2, 1777
The Bearer of this who is going to America, presses me to give him a Letter of Recommendation, tho' I know nothing of him, not even his Name. This may seem extraordinary, but I assure you it is not uncommon here. Sometimes indeed one unknown person brings me another equally unknown, to recommend him; and sometimes they recommend one another! As to this Gentleman, I must refer you to himself for his character and merits, with which he is certainly better acquainted than I can possibly be; I recommend him however to those civilities which every stranger, of whom one knows no harm, has a right to, and I request you will do him all the good offices and show him all the favour that on further acquaintance you shall find him to deserve. I have the honour to be, &c.
Founders Online: "Model of a Letter of Recommendation of a Person You Are Unacq ...
The Bearer of this who is going to America, presses me to give him a Letter of Recommendation, tho' I know nothing of him, not even his Name. This may seem extraordinary, but I assure you it is not uncommon here.
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher (an excerpt)
Dear Admissions Committee Members:
This letter recommends Melanie deRueda for admission to the law school on the well-heeled side of this campus. I've known Ms. deRueda for eleven minutes, ten of which were spent in a fruitless attempt to explain to her that I write letters of recommendation only for students who have signed up for and completed one of my classes.
This young woman is certainly tenacious, if that's what you're looking for. A transfer student, she appears to be suffering under the delusion that a recommendation from any random faculty member within our august institution will be the key to her application's success…
Dear Committee Members | Julie Schumacher
Winner, Thurber Prize for American Humor Winner, Midwest Booksellers Choice Award New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice National Public Radio: one of "Best Books of 2014" Boston Globe: one of "Best Books of 2014" Chicago Tribune: "Laugh Out Loud Book of the Year" Shelf Awareness, one of "Best Books