Who Writes Like That?

Refelection on the Earth, Penmanship Exercise, Joseph Franks, 1793Recently a colleague was looking through handwritten catalog cards and remarked, Who writes like that today?  His comment reminded me of the penmanship handbooks and scrapbooks we hold in the Phillips Library collection.  So, I went into the vault and pulled three volumes of penmanship samples from our Essex County manuscript collection, which had been completed by students in the Salem schools in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Jennifer Hornsby, the Assistant Archivist, and I enjoyed a pleasant morning looking through the volumes, marveling at the many beautiful examples of this lost art.

Read more