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The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication Hardcover – January 22, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0767907453 ISBN-10: 0767907450 Edition: 1 Reprint

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The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication + The Art of the Personal Letter: A Guide to Connecting Through the Written Word + The Art of Civilized Conversation: A Guide to Expressing Yourself With Style and Grace
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 Reprint edition (January 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767907450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767907453
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

When you receive the daily mail do you jump to open the handwritten envelopes first because you can’t wait to see who has written and why? Or do you hold those letters aside to savor and enjoy after you are done sorting your bills and tossing the junk mail? Whatever your approach, you no doubt recognize the importance of the note that comes in a unique envelope with distinct handwriting and possibly a decoration or two. Indeed, in an age when even birthday greetings are sent by e-mail, the personal letter is appreciated more than ever before.
For those who enjoy writing notes, or those who value doing so but find themselves intimidated by the task, acclaimed calligrapher Margaret Shepherd has created both an epistolary tribute and rescue manual. Just as you cherish receiving personal mail, you can take pleasure in crafting correspondence. Love, gratitude, condolences, congratulations–for every emotion and occasion, a snippet of heartfelt prose is included, sure to loosen the most stymied letter writer.
Not only providing inspiration for the content of the missives, The Art of the Handwritten Note gives thorough instruction in the specific details that give so many men and women the jitters when it comes to correspondence that can’t (or shouldn’t) be produced on a keyboard. From overcoming illegible penmanship to mastering the challenge of keeping straight margins, avoiding smeared ink, and choosing stationery that is appropriate but suits your style, this is a powerful little guide to conveying thoughts in an enduring–and noteworthy–way.

About the Author

Margaret Shepherd is a noted calligrapher and author whose clients include numerous headliners. The author of thousands of personal notes and thirteen instructional books on calligraphy, including the bestselling Learning Calligraphy and the just published Learn Calligraphy (Broadway Books, 2001), she has exhibited her work in many museums and galleries. She lives in Boston.

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More About the Author

Margaret Shepherd is a writer, calligrapher, and teacher. In addition to The Art of the Handwritten Note, she has written thirteen books on calligraphy. Each year she speaks at MIT's 'charm school' about the importance of gracious communication. She lives in Boston.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

195 of 203 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Etc. VINE VOICE on April 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Average five stars and one star, and you get three stars. If you've heard of delectable cookbooks being referred to as "food porn," you'll understand why I might refer to the first four chapters of The Art of the Handwritten Note as "stationery porn." Shepherd describes beautifully why and how to handwrite a variety of notes and letters. I've written hundreds myself and can vouch for the soundness of her advice. And I love reading different authors on the beauties of pens and papers, as I am one of those addicts.
However, in Chapter Five, "Opportunities to Write the Note That Counts," she goes seriously astray in discussing the etiquette of letter writing. She presents her own preferences as etiquette rules, when they certainly aren't. For instance, one does not need to write thank-you letters when gifts are exchanged in person, though it is a nice touch. And one sample shows a thank-you letter for a baby shower gift signed by - ugh! - the baby. The text contradicts this sample letter, saying "You write these as the parent, acknowledging your gratitude for gifts given to your children, until the children learn to write for themselves," but the lack of captions for the sample letters makes one wonder if this was supposed to be an example of misguided cuteness. But then she says you can phone or email these thanks instead. No, no, no!
And a "printed card in the mail or an announcement in the newspaper" to respond to condolence notes? Hardly! She even allows "frank" responses to gifts one doesn't like, suggesting that you may ask the giver to exchange it for you - WHAT IS SHE THINKING??
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By RUSSELL L. STUTLER on February 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When I first heard of the existence of this book, I immediately ordered it. It turned out to be both inspiring and instructional (practical).
First, it gives you many reasons why it is so important to make the effort to send handwritten notes and how valuable they are to the recipient. It inspires you to go sell all you have and get some nice stationery and start sending notes to everyone.
It also goes over the practical aspects of note writing from the different kinds of writing instruments and stationery available, to penmanship lessons (there are tips to show you how you can refine your handwriting, repair it, or rescue it if it is really bad!). It gives examples for constructing various types of notes (useful formulas, and what to avoid) so your notes will most effective and classy.
There are many photos and facsimiles of actual handwritten notes including some by past presidents.
It is the kind of book you will want to loan out to a friend after you are finished.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By G. Faville on August 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What a pleasant and useful little book this is! I heard the author on National Public Radio and she was extremely interesting to listen to, and she took calls from people all around the country who are still writing notes and letters to each other and keeping the spirit of humanity and kindness alive in the process. It was a heartening show that led me to ordering this book from Amazon.com.
The book starts off by listing basically every known excuse we have as a society about why we don't take pen in hand and write to each other, be it letters or thank you notes, and then gives us the excuses we need to break those bad habits of not communicating with our fellow colleagues with personal handwritten thoughts.
The book gives you all of the help you might need to get your note writing back in shape and off the ground. Tips on rescuing handwriting, advice on writing utensils and types of paper to use, ideas on managing your time in order to have time to write, and a whole section on appropriate language and basic etiquette for notes in basically every important social situation you might come across.
The Art of the Handwritten Note is an invaluable resource in our era of continuing technological isolation.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book & it has been helpful in starting me to write NOTES. I guess I thought that you had to fill up a whole page with "something". It is a lot easier to write a short amount on some nice note paper. Not as frightening as a full size sheet of paper.
I had just finished the book, when I had to write a condolence note & a welcoming note to my daughter's mother-in-law before she came to the US for a visit. The book was a big help.
I gave to all my kids for Christmas.
KM
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William E. Prince on February 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book! Full of inspiring ideas and tips on reconnecting through handwriting. Lots of good habits to teach the next generation, too. If you've ever thought of wanting to express something special to someone else and didn't know how to start or what to say, read this book before you decide to do nothing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Maria on March 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I expected samples of of bereavement notes, sympathy notes and other difficult notes to write. Much of the material covered in the book is plain common sense i already knew. It's not what was represented in the description of the item. I will definitely be returning this item.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By W. A. Carpenter VINE VOICE on January 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I hardly ever wrote notes or letters - especially the dreaded "thank you" note for a gift (a process that I still remember as a childhood punishment) - despite the good intentions of my mother.

Now, over 40 years later, I am beginning to become civilized at last. Thanks to the helpful advice in this book, coupled with very useful sample phrases and "do's and don'ts" lists, I can write a pretty good note as needed. My friends and family appreciate the change.

And I am continually surprised at work at how much goodwill a hand written note generates! Whether it's to a coworker, one of my employees, or the head of another department, a hand written missive gets a lot more attention than just another e-mail.
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