Cooper Union Typography

All about Typography, well, mostly about Typography.

Rare Books on Calligraphy and Penmanship

Mike Essl has just sent me a link to a great visual resource of old calligraphy and penmanship manuals, where the above images are from. What’s even more impressive is that most of them are available in PDF form. Take a look at what they have:

More images after the cut…


  1. Header image from: A Complete Compendium of Plain Practical Penmanship by L.M. Kelchner, 1901
  2. Top three images from: Ames’ Guide to Self-Instruction in Practical and Artistic Penmanship, by Daniel T. Ames, 1884
  3. Thanksgiving Postcard
  4. Lessons in Advanced Engraver’s Script, by Louis Madarasz
  5. Last two images from: Real Pen Work, Self-Instructor in Penmanship

Filed under: Books, Calligraphy, Lettering, Links, Reference

4 Responses

  1. kajivar says:

    Great collection of great historical subjects!

  2. Bill Moss says:

    I was going through my dad’s estate and came across some old books on Penmanship.
    They are all published by “The Zaner-Bloser Company”, Columbus Ohio.
    These books date from 1911 to the 1950’s.
    I also have the pens my dad used for his Calligraphy. It looks like most of them were also made by the Zaner-Bloser Company
    All the items are in very good shape for their age…my dad was 100 when he passed in 2009. Some of the books could almost pass for new.
    I’m looking for information as to the value and where I might be able to sell this to someone that would appreciate them.
    A reply and any help would be nice.
    I can send picture if needed and a list of the books.
    Bill Moss

  3. Cara says:

    Hi Bill,
    You might try asking the folks at IAMPETH. They area among the people most interested in 19th C. penmanship. John Neal Booksellers may be able to tell you something, also Oak Knoll Books handles such used books. Good Luck. -Cara

  4. Ed Sirchio says:

    I am trying to locate a penmanship book written (1940-1950) by 6th grade teacher, Miss Irene Innes. I was very fortunate to be in her class in 1959 at the Sussex Avenue Grammar School in Newark, NJ. I have tried to locate this text at my local library and the Barnes and Nobel Book Store, with no success. She was one of my favorite teachers and my job in class was to erase and wash the blackboard. It was like erasing works of art. I would tell her that everyday.

    If you have any suggestions in locating her book and/or its title, it would be most appreciated. She always told me to slow down, but my penmanship skills will never reach her heights.

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