A Corrected and Revised History of American Handwriting and Penmanship

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(Article under construction)

A Corrected and Revised History of American Handwriting and Penmanship

Author's note: The goal of this article is to crowd-source material that needs to be openly discussed and either revised or corrected. In the way that science research improves and ideas change over time, so too is that true for the research of handwriting and penmanship. Making a commitment to revision and correction will allow researchers now and in the future to be able to build on a more solid foundation and to be able to identify ideas and trends in thinking. I invite you to please send me the misinformation or inaccuracies so that I can post them here so that we can all benefit from this.

I thank in advance and praise those whose work is noted here for desiring to correct the material that they have written or for reconsidering their sources. Not all authors have been able to revise their editions, but in time, one hopes that newer editions will allow for revision and correction.


Topic:Vertical handwriting
Material:Handwriting Identification: Facts and Fundamentals, By Roy A. Huber, A.M. Headrick, 1999, page 26.
Original statement: “Starting in about 1890 and lasting for about 10 years, a new system sprang up across the country—vertical writing.”
Necessary correction: Not revised by authors. There are no records that I can find at this point that document the teaching of vertical penmanship before 1893 in the United States. However, one can find it earlier in Europe and England. See, for example, the following link [1]
See also the date of January 1893, for the introduction of vertical writing in Brooklyn by Joseph V. Witherbee. [2] Also, it is interesting to note that Zaner dates vertical writing in the US from about 1894 - 1904 [3]; however, one sees that it was still being taught in 1905. [4] One can see vertical writing persist: evidence of vertical writing being taught in schools is here in the handwriting chart of Thorndike from 1910. [5]



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