Today, there is debate over whether cursive handwriting should be taught in schools. One vocal camp believes it is no longer necessary. This greatly perplexes me as cursive writing is both faster and easier than print, as the pen must only leave the page between words as opposed to between each letter.
One hundred years ago, despite the invention of the typewriter, learning penmanship was an important part of a person’s education.
Victorian and Edwardian Penmanship
Around the turn of the 20th century, there were rules dictating how letters should be written. There also were rules for penmanship.
Instruction books were written on proper penmanship. The two most popular ones were the Spencerian Method and the Palmer Method.
The Spencerian Method was taught beginning in the mid-19th century. It was characterized by a fancy script that resembled calligraphy. Words were written rhythmically. The Coca-Cola logo is an example of Spencerian script.
The Palmer Method used a simpler, faster script. The method was used from the late 19th century until well into the 20th century. It was intended to make writing automatic. It also was intended to masculinize handwriting, even if the writer was a woman.
Other methods also were devised. The goal was to ensure handwriting was clear and could easily been read by others.
Updated: 22 October 2020