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The Universal Penman Paperback – March 18, 2014
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Think back to the era when these plates were engraved. The young scholar would have been red with fury had the price been inflated with hand holding of that sort. Having already learned one "hand, ie style of penmanship, the learner knew perfectly well how to draw lines for practice. Likely starting on cheap paper with pencil, then moving to more expensive paper with ink, they would have followed the well known maxim that heavy lines are down strokes, light lines are upstrokes, and practice was all.
In addition, these plates contained an education in refined business correspondence and speech. Letters of Credit, Carpenters Bills, Commissions to Ship master, all served as a clerks education, giving the new clerk a portfolio to show. Maxims on modesty, Poetry ,pride, honesty, etc, gave the young clerk the confidence to mingle with his better off employers, and polished some of his rough spots.
In a world before television, internet, or even free lending libraries, a book such as this was a goldmine In a striving mans access to a bit of upwards mobility in one of the few positions that allowed that. Clerks, once established, could travel, leaving their humble beginnings behind.
I find it fascinatining in this context.
Because I have already learned Spencerian Script, I am equipped to practice from this book. I began with tracing paper, moved on to isolating letters, and am now working my way through a particular alphabet. I feel learning one script at a time is best. I am not, and will never be an expert, but as a person interested in both history and handwriting, this book is amazing.