For scholars of American penmanship
Below is a list of published American works on the Art of American Penmanship. I will continue to add titles as I come across them and have an opportunity to digest them. Seminal works are highlighted. Links provided when accessible.
Last updated May 4th, 2022
Listed by chronological order of the edition linked. Check Worldcat for previous or subsequent editions. Items marked * are in our collection but are not scanned. Doing Research? Make an image request.
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Founding of Jamestown (1607)
- Fisher, George. The American Instructor, Or, Young Man’s Best Companion. Philadephia: B. Franklin and D. Hall, 1758. https://books.google.com/books?id=KttCAQAAMAAJ.
- Powell, Thomas. The Writing Master’s Assistant. Philadelphia: Thomas Powell, 1764. https://www.worldcat.org/title/writing-masters-assisant-containing-a-concise-practical-system-for-teaching-to-write/.
- Holbrook, Abiah. “The Writing Master’s Amusement”. Unpublished manuscript, 1767, manuscript. https://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.HOUGH:33664392.
American Independence (1776)
- Dean, Henry. * Dean’s Analytical Guide, to the Art of Penmanship: Containing a Variety of Plates in which are exhibited A Complete System of Practical Penmanship Made easy and attainable In much less time And greater perfection, Than by any other Method. New York: Hopkins & Bayard, 1808.
- Jenkins, John. The Art of Writing: Reduced to a plain and easy system on a plan entirely new in seven books. 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: Flagg & Gould, 1813. https://archive.org/details/JenkinsArtOfWriting.
- Huntington, Eleazer. An Introduction to The Art Of Penmanship: Or, A New And Improved System of Round and Running Hands. 2nd ed. Hartford: n.p., 1821. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433006223956.
- Gould, Nathaniel D. Penmanship or the Beauties Of Writing: Exemplified in a Variety of Specimens Practical and Ornamental. 3rd ed. Boston: Annin J. Smith, 1822. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=umn.319510021181020.
The Common School Movement (1830)
- Foster, Benjamin F. Practical Penmanship: Being A Development of the Carstairian System. Albany: B. D. Packard and Co., 1830. https://archive.org/details/FosterPracticalPenmanship.
- Noyes, Enoch. An Analytical Guide To The Art Of Penmanship: In which the correct principles of the Round and Running Hands are systematized and simplified Designed to teach this important and elegant Art with the utmost facility. Boston: Jenks & Palmer, 1839. https://archive.org/details/NoyesPenmanship.
- Spencer, Platt R., Victor M. Rice Spencer & Rice’s system of business penmanship : containing a full series of copies, rules, and explanations carefully prepared for the counting-house and schools, and youth fitting for business transactions. Cleveland: M.C. Younglove & Co., 1848.
- Spencer, Platt R., Victor M. Rice Spencer & Rice’s system of ladies’ epistolary and ornamental penmanship : containing a full series of copies, rules, and explanations carefully prepared for the use of public and private schools, and seminaries.. Buffalo: C.E. Young, 1848.
- Spencer, Platt R., Victor M. Rice Spencer & Rice’s system of business penmanship, or Third book of copies, rules, and explanations, carefully prepared for the counting-house and schools, and youth fitting for business transactions. : These copies are a fac-simile of the author’s writing, intended to impart to the learner a hand-writing at once beautiful and practical. Geneva, Ohio: n.p., 1848.
- Duncan, John S. Gems of Business and Ornamental Penmanship. Pittsburgh: P. Duff, 1858. https://archive.org/details/DuncunGemsOfPenmanship.
The American Civil War (1861-1865)
- Spencer, H. C. Spencerian Key to Practical Penmanship. New York: Ivison, Phinney, Blakeman & Co., 1866. https://archive.org/details/cu31924029485467/.
- Williams, J. D., Packard, S. S. Gems of Penmanship. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1867. https://archive.org/details/WilliamsAndPackardGemsOfPenmanship.
- Payson, Jesse W., Seldom Dunton, William M. Scribner, George H. Shattuck, A. S. Manson. The Payson, Dunton, & Scribner Manual of Penmanship. New York: Potter, Ainsworth, and Company, 1873. https://archive.org/details/paysonduntonscri00paysrich/mode/2up.
- The “Spencerian Authors” Theory of Spencerian Penmanship: For Schools and Private Learners.. New York: Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor and Co., 1874. https://archive.org/details/theoryspencerian00auth/.
- Knowles & Maxim. Real Pen Work: Self Instructor in Penmanship. Pittsfield, MA: Knowles & Maxim, 1881. https://archive.org/details/realpenworkselfi00libg.
- Ames, Daniel T. Ames’ Compendium of Practical and Ornamental Penmanship. New York: D. T. Ames, 1883. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.ee0000094961.
- Gaskell, George A. The Penman’s Hand-Book: for Penmen and Students. New York: G. A. Gaskell, 1883. https://archive.org/details/penmanshandbookf00gask.
- Gaskell, George A. Gaskell’s Guide: To Writing, Pen-flourishing, Lettering, Business Letter-Writing, Etc.. New York: Office of “The Penman’s Gazette,”, 1884. https://archive.org/details/gaskellsguidetow00gask.
- Ames, Daniel T. Ames Guide to Self Instruction in Practical and Artistic Penmanship. New York: Daniel T. Ames, 1884. https://archive.org/details/AmesGuideToSelfInstruction.
- Ames, Daniel T. Ames’ Alphabets, Adapted to the Use of Architects, Engravers, Engineers, Artists, Sign Painters, Draughtsmen. 5th ed. New York: W. T. Comstock, 1884. https://archive.org/details/amesalphabetsad00amesgoog.
- P. R. Spencer’s Sons New Spencerian Compendium of Penmanship. A Comprehensive Work Upon The Art in its Various Departments: Practical Writing, Calligraphy, Text and Lettering, Flourishing, Pen Drawing. New York: Ivison, Blakeman and Company, 1887. https://archive.org/details/NewSpencerianCompendium.
- Zaner, Charles P. Zaner’s Gems of FLourishing. Columbus: n.p., 1888. https://archive.org/details/GemsOfFlourishing/.
- Stoakes, James W. How To Use The Automatic Shading Pen. Milan, OH: J. W. Stoakes, 1891. https://archive.org/details/howtouseautomati00stoa.
- Bixler, Gideon. Bixler’s Physical Training in Penmanship: Or The Real Secret to Good Writing. Wooster, OH: Bixler’s Business College Printing Department, 1892. https://archive.org/details/bixlersphysicalt00bixl.
- Parks, W. T. Two Hundred and Fourteen Common-sense Lessons in Business and Artistic Writing, and Rapid Lettering. Nashville: W. T. Parks, 1892. https://archive.org/details/twohundredfourte00park.
- Zanerian Authors. * Zanerian Theory of Penmanship. Columbus: Zanerian Art College, 1892.
- McDonald, A. C. Penman’s Leisure Hour. Milwaukee: Gilett & Company, Printers, 1893. https://archive.org/details/PenmansLeisureHour.
- Farr, John W. Farrian Complete Penmanship: Correspondence, Business Forms and Book-keeping. Atchison, KA: Home Printing Co., 1894. https://archive.org/details/farriancompletep00farr.
- Jackson, John. The Theory and Practice of Handwriting. New York: William Beverley Harison, 1894. https://archive.org/details/theorypracticeof00jackrich.
- Jackson, John. Upright Versus Sloping Writing: Being an inquiry into respective Merits of Sloping and Upright or Vertical Writing. New York: William Beverley Harison, 1894. https://archive.org/details/uprightversusslo00jack.
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
- Courtney, Francis B. Jewels of The Pen. n.p.: n.p, 1898. https://archive.org/details/jewelsofpen00pilk.
- Zaner, Charles P. The Road to Sketching From Nature. Columbus: Zanerian Art College, 1898. https://books.google.com/books?id=SyZEAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover.
- Ames, Daniel T. Ames on Forgery: It’s Detection and Illustration. New York: Ames-Rollinson Company, 1900. https://archive.org/details/amesonforgeryits00ames.
- Zaner, Charles P. The New Zanerian Alphabets: An Instructor in Roundhand, Designing, Engrossing, Etc.. Columbus: Zaner and Bloser Co, 1900. https://archive.org/details/NewZanerianAlphabets.
- Kelchner, Lloyd M. A Complete Compendium of Plain Practical Penmanship. n.p.: n.p., 1901. https://archive.org/details/KelchnerCompleteCompendiumOfPlainPracticalPenmanship.
- Zaner, Charles P. Zanerian Script Alphabets: A Variety of Styles With Instructions to Aid the Home Student, to Inspire the Amateur, to Assist the Professional. Columbus: Zaner & Bloser, 1902. http://digitalservices.scranton.edu/cdm/ref/collection/zanerbloser/id/7261.
- Mills, Edward C. Modern Business Penmanship. New York: American Book Company, 1903. https://archive.org/details/MillsModernBusinessPenmanship.
- Stacy, L. E. The Blue Book: Containing Photographs and Sketches of a Few Commercial Teachers. Meadville, PA: Tribune Publishing Company, 1907. https://archive.org/details/TheBlueBook_201411.
- Ricketts, C. L. Laird & Lee’s Modern Penmanship and its Practical Application. Chicago: Laird & Lee, 1907. https://archive.org/details/lairdleesmodernp00rick.
World War I (1914-1918)
- Wesco, John A. * The Wesco System Of Penmanship: Wesco’s Movement, Change, Time and Count Analysis for Penmanship Practice. Portland: n.p., 1914.
- Dennis, William E. Studies in Pen Art. Cedar Rapids: The A. N. Palmer Co., 1914. https://archive.org/details/studiesinpenart00den.
- Jones, C. W. Ninety-Five Lessons in Ornamental Penmanship: Combining Form, Study, Skill, and Movement. Brockton, MA: C. W. Jones, 1914. https://archive.org/details/ninetyfivelesson00jone.
- Freeman, Frank Nugent. The Handwriting Movement: A Study of the Motor Factors of Excellence in Penmanship. Chicago: The University of Chicago, 1918. https://archive.org/details/handwritingmovem00free.
- Palmer, Austin Norman. Palmer’s Penmanship Budget. Cedar Rapids: The A. N. Palmer Company, 1919. https://archive.org/details/PalmersPenmanshipBudget.
- Palmer, Austin Norman. Portfolio of Ornate Penmanship. Cedar Rapids: The A. N. Palmer Company, 1919. https://archive.org/details/PortfolioOfOrnatePenmanship.
- Walker, Henry C. The Walker Method of Functional Writing For Use in Public and Private Schools: Teachers’ Manual,. St. Louis: Walker Publishing Co., 1919. https://archive.org/details/walkermethodoffu00walk.
- Zaner, Charles P. Lessons in Ornamental Penmanship. 3rd ed. Columbus: Zaner & Bloser Company, 1920. https://archive.org/details/lessonsornamenta00zane
- Hausam, L. H. The Hausam System of Plain Penmanship. Topeka: Capper Printing Co., 1923. https://archive.org/details/hausamsystemofpl00haus
- Lupfer, Earl A. The Zanerian Manual of Alphabets and Engrossing: An Instructor in Roundhand, Lettering, Engrossing, Designing, Pen and Brush Art, Etc.. 2nd ed. Columbus: Zaner-Bloser Company, 1924. https://masgrimes.com/archive/zanerian-manual
- Wesco, John A. * The Wesco System Of Penmanship: A practical and scientific method of learning and teaching permanent skill in penmanship. Its chief values being, ease of learning with speed and legibility. Portland: n.p., 1928.
The Great Depression (1929-1933)
- Bailey, Joseph J. The Bailey Method of Penmanship. Toronto: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons (Canada) LTD., 1929. https://masgrimes.com/archive/bailey-method
- Voorhis, Thelma G. The Relative Merits of Cursive and Manuscript Writing. New York: Bureau of Publication of Teachers College, 1931. https://archive.org/details/relativemeritsof00voor
World War II (1939-1945)
- Bloser, Parker Zaner. Lessons in Ornamental Penmanship. Columbus: The Zaner-Bloser Company, 1948. https://archive.org/details/BloserLessonsInOrnamentalPenmanship
- Morison, Stanley. American Copybooks: An Outline of their History from Colonial to Modern Times. Philadelphia: W.F. Fell Co. 1951.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
- Nash, Ray. American Writing Masters and Copybooks: History and Bibliography Through Colonial times. Boston: The Colonial Society of Massachussetts, 1959.
- Nash, Ray. American Penmanship 1800-1850: A History of Writing and a Bibliography of Copybooks from Jenkins to Spencer. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1969.
- Sull, Michael R. Spencerian Script and Ornamental Penmanship. Gardner, Kansas : LDG Publishing, 1989.
- Thornton, Tamara P. Handwriting in America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.
- Henning, William E., Paul Melzer An Elegant Hand: The Golden Age of American Penmanship and Calligraphy. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2002.
- Vitolo, Joseph M. Learn To Write Script In The Copperplate Style. n.p.: Joseph M. Vitolo, 2012. http://www.zanerian.com/VitoloCopperplateBook2017.pdf