Gems of 19th and early 20th century penmanship
February 24, 2007 9:40 PM   Subscribe

Prestidigitation applied to paper. Bravo!
posted by furtive at 9:59 PM on February 24, 2007

Real Pen Work has some amazing ones.
posted by mediareport at 10:07 PM on February 24, 2007

As a child during the birth of the personal computer concept, my schools downplayed the importance of penmanship. And as an adult, I feel this was a loss in my life. My handwriting is awful, though in the years since I've discovered this failing of mine, I've worked very hard to compensate. Unfortunately, I have several engineer friends who are slightly older, who didn't suffer the same lack of attention to their handwriting skills and can produce wonderfully clear writing in both text and script. I am constantly jealous of this trait.

Interestingly, I have at least two employees who are a decade or two younger than me who have magnificent script, so at least I know the skill-set is not completely lost to the ages. (and yeah, I'm deeply jealous of their abilities as well.)

I can't even fathom having the skills to produce the kind of work in the original post. My envy runs deep every time I look up an old patent or something where the genius that had a good idea, also had perfect penmanship. It hurts my pride.
posted by quin at 10:43 PM on February 24, 2007

That is a fantastic resource. Just as a self linking aside, the first time I posted some images from IAMPETH, the grandson of one of the artists (penmen? calligraphers?) stopped by, which I thought was pretty amazing.
posted by peacay at 12:17 AM on February 25, 2007

Hmm. Perty.
posted by Brittanie at 4:24 AM on February 25, 2007

Sublime! Ahhh. Really enjoyed that! Thanks mediareport.
posted by nickyskye at 2:37 PM on February 25, 2007

Wonderful post, mediareport - thanks!
Ah, I remember a sadistic nun that made me practice penmanship for hours with a penny balanced on my wrist. We learned the Palmer method.

Zanerian is another good site of ornamental penmanship with galleries of famous penmen, among other collections.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:57 PM on February 25, 2007

This is really cool.

When I was younger, I wanted a super nintendo. Believing that I should earn such a luxurious gift, my dad wanted me to earn it. He gave me the task of practicing all of my letters for a page each, not because I was just learning to write, but because my handwriting was terrible. I went through the motions and got my super nintendo, but I don't think it really improved my penmanship. I think if I'd had something more guided than just "practice your penmanship", I might have gotten somewhere with it. Or maybe I was just a stupid kid who wanted a super nintendo and wasn't dorky enough yet to think good handwriting was awesome. Now that I'm an engineer(ing student) I really wish I wrote better. Some of my colleagues can write amazingly small and clearly and I always envy their neat assignments when I turn in my messy bunch of papers.
posted by !Jim at 7:44 PM on February 25, 2007

I don't understand these people who say they never learned penmanship. I'm 26. I was in grade school from 1986 to 1992 (circa) and I had to study regular penmanship, Denelian and cursive. I have really, really good handwriting, even though I do most of my writing on the computer.

I don't know how old quin is but I find it odd that they don't teach this stuff anymore. Then again, I did go to school in Oklahoma, so the methods there may be as archaic as they get.
posted by Brittanie at 7:52 PM on February 25, 2007

35 Brittanie, and my younger siblings will attest that they still certainly do teach penmanship in schools. I just happened to be attending when the educational facilities in my area were making the transition to computers. They didn't stop teaching hand writing skills, but they encouraged us to turn in reports and essays in a printed format. That lack of practice, probably more than anything else, hurt my abilities later in life.

I was always bad a penmanship, and I'm sure it caused some sort of feedback loop where, knowing I wasn't good at it, I made use of the printers to compensate, and thus did not get the experience I needed.

My fault, to be certain. It was only much later that I realized how awful it was to look over my old handwritten notes and be not able to read them. It's is what inspired me to completely retrain myself.
posted by quin at 9:19 PM on February 25, 2007

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