Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania visits Peirce's Penmanship Past

Bart Everts is Peirce's Reference & Instruction Librarian, as well as curator of our archives. He'll be kicking off a new feature on the blog exploring the history of Peirce College, so stay tuned for his monthly posts.

These days, we don’t tend to think too much about penmanship. You might have spent some time in grammar school learning to write cursive, and maybe you still use a paper notebook in your classes, but you’d probably get a strange look (and a poor grade) from your professor if you turned in a handwritten assignment.

However, to succeed in business in the 19th century, skilled penmanship was vital and early courses at Peirce reflected this. Our archive contains many items related to penmanship courses at Peirce, and we recently had the opportunity to show off the collection when staff members from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) visited the library.Take a look below:

HSP currently has an exhibit on penmanship, and they were interested to see Peirce’s contribution to 19th century writing instruction in Philadelphia. This was the second time visitors have been interested in our penmanship collection; in 2005 members from the Philadelphia Calligrapher’s Society and the International Association of Penman, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting examined the collection and declared it a “goldmine” in their respective journals.

The collection also includes the artwork of Thomas May Peirce Jr. who designed the original Peirce logo as well as early promotional materials. You can view more items from the Peirce archives on the library’s Facebook page.