The centuries-old art of handwriting is practiced daily by millions, yet few have any idea of its history or the tools used in handwriting. In Pen, Ink, and Evidence, Joe Nickell traces the development of writing and writing materials from the ancient cuneiform tablet to today's ball-point-scribbled memo.
Nickell not only describes how ink, paper, pens, and pencils have been manufactured and used over the centuries, but also explores the history of such ancillary activities as learning calligraphy, cutting quill pens, deciphering old scripts, detecting forgeries, identifying watermarks, dating ink bottles, and reading faded manuscripts. He also traces the development of autograph collecting, describes how to identify inks, and offers sidelights on postage stamps, early typewriters, mourning stationery, fountain-pen fillers, and the evolution of the desk.
Richly illustrated from the author's own collection, the book includes photos of historic inkwells, traveling writing kits, pens of glass and gold, ink eraser knives, quill cutters, paperweights, letter openers, pen racks, and sealing-wax melters, as well as documents ranging from valentines and genealogical records to secret messages.
Pen, Ink, and Evidence is an essential text for calligraphers, archivists, literary scholars, historians, genealogists, collectors, document analysts, teachers of handwriting, and all others with an interest in writing and its accoutrements.