Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spencerian, Anyone?

The forthcoming experiment in handwriting rehab began after reading a review of Kitty Burns Florey's book Script & Scribble over at at Notebook Stories. My scribble isn't something I like to show in public, but have had to when reviewing inks and pens. Alas!

So I clicked on the link to and was very taken with one of the recommendations Spencerian Penmanship (Theory Book plus five copybooks). I'd heard of Spencerian, never realizing it was what we used to call "cursive" back in the day. So I was thinking "exotic" and "over-the-top" and Palmer-esque when I went a-looking at I added the course to my checkout, and was pleased to open the brown box with the black arrow last week and take out my Spencerian Penmanship lesson book and five semi-blank workbooks--all looking as if they'd come straight from the 1880s with brownish covers and illustrations to match.

The first important point the book makes it how to sit at a desk properly; the second is how to hold the fountain pen (an ink dipper, btw). I spend close to 10 minutes trying to copy that illustration with my own fountain pen, only to realize that the swaying curve in the drawing was in real like my knuckle and not some imaginary flowing line.

I'm going to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's Day reading through the lessons and practicing the figures. I'll publish the results, hopefully attracting rather than driving away the carriage trade. :)


  1. I've got those same books but just haven't been able to make myself really practice. Sigh. Need a schoolmaster standing over my shoulder I guess. No classes, instructors, or even other like minded people around here to movtivate me.

    Here's a link to a site that has a lot of Spencerian (and more) manuals scanned into PDF format for downloading. It's a good resource.

    I wish you better luck than my lazy posterior has had.

  2. Very nice!

    Another source is Sam & Frank have reproductions of penmanship books from the 1800s & 1900s. In addition to an online presence they attend several pen shows & have a store in the downtown area of Fort Madison, Iowa.

  3. I can't wait to see your samples!!

  4. Ok, you got me - I went and ordered this - I've been looking for an excuse to order Journal Spilling, which has been sitting in my cart for weeks.

    Guess we'll see how it goes. Good practice for all those ink reviews that I need to do.

  5. Thanks all for the comments. Lol, Julie, can't wait to see what you do as well!

    I think I've seen the samples, MikeWas. It's too discouraging, but I'll have to look again. The blank workbooks in this set have lovely paper, in the Clairefontaine range so I'm looking forward to trying this out.

    Bleubug, this calls for a new pen, don't you think? Maybe another Namiki 823, the Smokey one on eBay? Hmmmm..

  6. A new pen? I should say that no new pens till I can show progress with handwriting. I may not have that much self control, though.