Making Letters

Two quick workday things:

  1. The Early Office Museum has lots of cool pictures of and information about office tools such as typewriters, adding machines, pencil sharpeners, paper fasteners, and so on. If you’re a geek for that sort of thing, have at it.
  2. Deron Bauman points out a WaPo article on the decline of cursive (which I’d already seen mentioned on Bill Walsh’s blog this morning but hadn’t actually gone over to read), which gave me the idea of looking for some handwriting manuals from my grandmother’s time and place. She learned to write in turn-of-the-century Atlanta and had a lovely round hand that was probably typical for her day. In the grand tradition of letting the Internet do my legwork for me, do any of ye Gentle Readers have any suggestions for books I might get from Alibris or Abebooks?

My own day-to-day handwriting is usually a slovenly mix between print and cursive, but I can write a pretty regular script when I pay attention. A couple of months ago, I collected all the samples of my dad’s handwriting I could find, with the intention of trying to make a font out of it; he was trained as an engineer and wrote a very neat, elegant, partially linked print. So far, no further action on that, but it’s in the back of my mind.

2 thoughts on “Making Letters

  1. 1) I adore the Early Office Museum. I browse it purely for fun, and I turn to it for help in dating mechanically-produced documents. (I’m an archivist.)

    2) You might want to investigate a manuscript collection held by NYPL, the Horace Grant Healey Penmanship Collection.

    According to the online catalog record:

    Horace Grant Healey (1867-1938) was a practitioner of the art of penmanship. His career included teaching in New York City schools and affliation with the Penman’s Art Journal and its successor, Business Journal. Collection consists of scrapbooks, notebooks and posters, all of which contain writing specimens. Scrapbooks include calling cards, letters, envelopes, flourishes, photographs, and various samples of penmanship sent to Healey. Other writing samples are penmanship exercises and assignments done by students. Also, some photographs of correspondents.

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