(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 apologize to those whose names appear here and hope that they will know that history is often rewritten later when more facts come to light. In no way is this meant to embarrass others. The issue is that failing to provide these corrections will only lead to further confusion now and in the future.
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
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 
See also the date of January 1893, for the introduction of vertical writing in Brooklyn by Joseph V. Witherbee.  Also, it is interesting to note that Zaner dates vertical writing in the US from about 1894 - 1904 ; however, one sees that it was still being taught in 1905.  One can see vertical writing persist: evidence of vertical writing being taught in schools is here in the handwriting chart of Thorndike from 1910. 
Topic: Spencer and Palmer are the dominant (or only) influential American penmen and heir styles account for all writing in the periods of their influence. This idea appears nearly everywhere in material in the last 75 years, and it is seldom corrected with more thoughtful language that accounts for the fuller, more truthful, and more complete history. It should also be noted that self-promotion, advertising, and hyperbole by Spencer, Palmer, and enthusiasts should not be mistaken for the truth. Truth is easier to find in the writing of critics, scholars like Ray Nash, and in the manuscripts and books of the time. Sadly, the myth has remained active despite all of these facts to the contrary. I do not want to discount the influence and dominance of Spencer and Palmer. But let's please take a deeper look at the whole truth, and not just two men out of hundreds and thousands of teachers of writing during this time.
Handwriting in America by Tamara Plakins Thorton
"Developed in the 1880s, by 1890s the Palmer method had begun to displace the decades-old Spencerian. By the second decade of the new century, it reigned supreme. Rivals existed, but these were merely Palmer by another name, much as systems of the second half of the 1800s were ultimately Spencerian. (Thorton 66). footnote: PAJ 2 (September 1878): 8; Robert E. Belding, "The Penman Builds an Empire," Palimpsest 61 (1980): 138–45; Carroll P. Gard, "A Romance of the Second 'R,'" Journal of Education (5 February 1934): 67–69. Joseph S. Taylor, "A.N. Palmer: An Appreciation," Educational Review 76 (June 1928): 15–20; Mary Dougherty, "History of the Teaching of Handwriting in America," ESJ 18 (December 1917): 284; A. N. Palmer, Palmers Guide to Business Writing (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Western Penman, 1894); A. N. Palmer, The Palmer Method of Teaching Practical Writing in Graded Schools (New York: A.N. Palmer, 1910). (Thorton 208)
Revised statement: no revision by author
Necessary correction: This was among the first of the myths that I focused on when I first began doing research. In no way do these ideas hold up to careful scrutiny. Evidence to the contrary can be found in many places. As I mention in a number of places, including my "Context and History of Library Handwriting," Also, one should note that "Spencerian" is a term often misapplied by those who conflate the many earlier styles of penmanship either provided in books by many authors or taught in the 19th century by a great number of penmen, penwomen, writing teachers, tutors, etc., as noted on a timeline that I have begun to construct, and as mentioned in my short article "The Study of American Penmanship and Handwriting." As Albert Sherman Osborn notes in his 1910 book Questioned Documents on page 174,“The various systems of modern writing came finally to be described as a whole as Spencerian. This no doubt was due to the superiority of the system and, in large measure, to its able and energetic authors and advocates, several of whom are still living.”  This confusion is also due to the fact that Spencer's sons and publishers promoted his style and many others that are not his own, yet still under his name; therefore, authorship continues to be assigned by libraries to Platt Rogers Spencer for styles he did not use nor invent for such books as Spencerian Penmanship: Vertical Edition, though its publication is more than thirty years after his death."
Ross Green writes in the introduction of William E. Henning’s An Elegant Hand: The Golden Age of American Penmanship and Calligraphy, “The roots of Spencerian Script, and of all other fine penmanship styles developed in the Victorian era, can be traced to the Carstairs System, as promulgated by Benjamin Foster.”
Calligrapher Don Marsh takes the history much further back. He wrote me in a private email, “I have yet to find a single thing invented by American penmen. All they did was take previous European writing innovations and organize them into writing systems; often in an attempt to get a piece of the very lucrative public schools publishing market. The answers to these questions are to be found in pre-American era penmanship.” He added, "research in my upcoming book will reveal the principles of whole arm movement often attributed to Carstairs and subsequent American penmanship innovators was actually being taught by English Writing Masters a full century before Carstairs."
Palmer's writing is very much in the commercial style. The average person looking at samples before Palmer began writing will see that many writers used this and taught this. He is one among many trying to launch a book. Yes, he has a slew of imitators, but there is more to the story if one looks deeper.
I would further point out that the vertical writing movement took place from 1894-1904, roughly, and this is without mention. The implication that writing went from Spencerian to Palmer is flatly untrue.
Further, I would encourage people to look at medial and practical handwriting. These were both styles and angles that helped usher in Palmer in many ways. They may be in part the reaction against the vertical, and the return to slanted script. Again, no one ever bothers to mention these, though books can be found readily for anyone interested in doing research of any kind.
I do not wish to argue or quibble or incite angry emails being sent to me. And I do not have the energy for a point by point refutation of the original statement. I would simply ask that people please look at all the material before publishing a book that includes this kind of simplification, as I cannot in my mind in anyway believe it to be true, and I do not wish the history to be misunderstood for another century. Anyone who disagrees is invited to send me an email and I will post your comments here or create a new article to deal with this myth and any controversy surrounding it.