Handwriting week

Welcome everybody in the New Year; let’s hope that it will be a good one!
Did you know that the 23th of January was a National Handwriting Day in USA? It made me think about the process of writing and the ‘hand’ that everyone who can write have (mine is horrible, I can barely read myself:-). I looked at the different styles, different shapes of the letters and the way people choose to make it beautiful. No two writing characters are the same.
Among various books in our collection we also have those that were written by hand, often by more than one person. We have letters and notebooks, scrapbooks and official documents. Here are some examples.
This one comes from the students’ registry, 1918:

1918
And here is the example that was written after the WWII:

1945
Note how the general shapes of the letters change. Before war the style that was dominant in these documents was this careful and flowery copperplate. Then it turned into this small, economical and angular style, but maybe a little easier to read. I know next to nothing about calligraphy. I can’t say if this change was something sociological, political or just plain coincidence. But the difference is quite striking.
This one is a teacher’s notes front page. It gives the notes almost formal look:

Photo0546
This one is just an example of someone trying to make the rather dry pages a little more interesting and having fun with their ‘P’’:

P
Today the handwriting goes the way of the dinosaurs. In my class alone, I can see that half of the people already make notes completely in electronic format. With time it might become obsolete altogether. However it may go a different way. Maybe it will become an art form as it is Japan. In Japan, a calligraphy master is held in the same esteem as a painter would and his/her work is judged by critics as a picture would. What do you think? Is there a future for handwriting?

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Filed under artefacts, special occasions

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