Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Alphabe Thursday..."P" as in Penmanship

It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored my Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." Today's assignment is the letter "P" as in PENMANSHIP.

Is PENMANSHIP becoming a lost art? So many things are going by the wayside with computers. Even the post office is in trouble because mail volume is going down due to E-mail. How often to we drop someone a handwritten note?

I was reading about vintage autograph books that Cheryl over at My Sister's Cottage had and it prompted me to go looking for my grandmother's autograph book. Back in the 1980's I became interested in genealogy and worked on it for quite a while. My mother would find pictures and other memorabilia that she thought might help me in my quest to learn more and I guess I somehow became the official family historian. One of the things she sent me was my grandmother's autograph book. I've recently become interested in genealogy again and I'm slowly but surely entering all that 1980's information into Family Tree Maker and hope to eventually jump onto to try and learn more. All of my research was done before I had Internet access. Meanwhile, I'm also digging out my mother's old notes and the little treasures she sent me.

You can click on the pictures below to enlarge them...

Here's my grandmother's old autograph book and some examples of PENMANSHIP. Sadly, as I was scanning some of the pages the cover fell off. I'm afraid that was inevitable considering the years. The first autographs were written in 1905. I have no idea what the April dates on the left hand page mean. I think Willie Volz might have been her cousin. Perhaps those are the dates her cousin and Uncle John died? Maybe I'll discover something when I dig into the family roots again. I think the book might have been a gift from her Momma?

Here's another page from June 15, 1905.

And the page on the right is from my autograph book and written by my sister in 1954. Obviously, that poem had already been around for a long time. Do children still have autograph books today? If so, they might be still writing this poem.

I found this page from my grandmother's book interesting. In the poem she talks about dipping her pen in the ink. I'm afraid that's something that's long in the past now.

And this was written by my grandmother's cousin. I did know that one of her father's sisters was married to a man named Grode and this must have been their daughter.

I was also surprised by some of the artwork people took the time to include with their autographs. (In the first picture that's a real four leaf clover that my grandmother had between the pages of her book.)

I also came across a newspaper clipping my mother had sent me. It was from my grandparents wedding on January 1, 1919. (You'll have to click on the article in order to enlarge and read it.) The article talks about the PRETTY wedding.

And here's their PRETTY wedding.

I think I'm going to take a vacation from posting on Blogger for a couple of weeks. I'm having trouble putting pictures in posts since Blogger made the changes to Blogger In Draft and I went back to the previous version. For some reason my pictures will no longer appear in the post where I put the cursor. When I upload them they appear at the very top of the post and then I try and drag them or I have to go into the html version and copy and paste where I want them to go. It's also messing up the spacing and although I fix it I find that when I publish it's still sometimes wacky. It's taking way too much time to put up a simple post with pictures, so I'm taking a break in hopes that things will magically improve while I'm gone. I had intended to show more pages from my old autograph book, but decided to save it for another time when things might be working better.

Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog and visit some more Alphabe-Thursday posts!


  1. My gosh, Betty, you have the most amazing ephemera collection from your family and ancestors! I'm sorry you are having blogger trouble :-(.

  2. What wonderful heirlooms and keepsakes. I've been having problems arranging my pictures in Blogger - I can't seem to get them to line up in a row. It's good to get a break sometimes.

  3. I'm having trouble too - everything looks like it is in huge writing! Sheesh.

    Hey your articles are priceless - and I love seeing them.

    Yes penmanship is a lost art - they don't even learn it at school any more.


    Hope you have a nice day.

  4. Love the vintage are right, it is quickly fading away. Some of the most beautiful script can be found on quilts from the early 1800's - complete with very similar art work that you have.

  5. I like this! I think it boils down to people being so impersonal today! I just joined a pen pal swap. It is secret between now and December than we reveal ourselves to the pen pal! But we have to send a card, note or letter each month for 5 months! I love it and I love your terrific post! I work for a doctor. His penmanship is perfectly horrid!

  6. The pages with pictures are so pretty.

  7. As a retired teacher I'm sorry to say that penmanship is a lost art. I, too, have my autograph book from the early 60's...when children really wrote in cursive! Now all they do is write/print crude remarks in yearbooks!

  8. Anonymous3:34 AM

    Yes, I've heard recently that some school systems are taking cursive out of their curriculum or offering it only as an option. That's a shame IMHO. I still remember how excited all the little girls were to finally get to third grade so we could learn cursive (the boys, much less so!). It takes a lot of discipline to develop a nice handwriting but well worth it. If children aren't taught cursive, I wonder how they will sign things? I guess a printed signature is still as valid, but most won't have much style.

    Good luck with your blogging issues. I hope to see you back again soon.

  9. I don't even know if they teach handwriting in elementary school like a class in which you get graded any longer.

    We had autograph books, but they'd gone by the wayside when my kids were in school.

    Great post, Betty. Lovely ephemera. Enjoy your break from blogging, but don't be gone too long!!!! :)

  10. This post was plain fascinating! I wish we hung on to the written word a little better. I am trying to do my part, but I can see that penmanship (along with the treasures it produces) is on the wane.


  11. What a beautiful post. I so wish that I could 'write' this comment!

  12. Yes, Betty, we are so much alike! You have, without knowing it, given me the nudge to start displaying my dolls. We both have so many wonderful memories of our respective childhoods, the love of dolls and all things vintage. We treasure family heirlooms and "things" that might have belonged to a relative. I'm so nostalgic and I'm sure that you are too. I just can't believe how our childhoods and memories have paralleled!! I read your blog almost daily and I followed Reid's latest bout with chemo and the stem cell transplant. Thanks for being a kindred spirit.

  13. I loved your post today. I had one of those school autograph books. Could not wait to see what some wrote, especially if it was a boy.

  14. Anonymous7:43 PM

    I can see you and I have a lot in common, Betty! Thanks for stopping by my blog and introducing yourself!

  15. lovely penmanships, I like seeing these, it makes one feel certain attachment to the past.

  16. I just love vintage penmanship! I'm afraid you're's becoming a lost art. I remember spending lots of class time doing writing drills, both in handwriting and in drafting. Thanks for sharing your family treasures.

  17. I really enjoyed your post. I too have become the family historian but I enjoy it so much. My Dad dabbled in it a little bit in the 80's (before internet) and had a good starting point for my search. But there is no question that the internet made researching so much easier. I still run into brick walls but I have made a lot of discoveries too. I subscribed to and haven't regretted it. They do have a 14-day free trial and it's a great way to see if it will be beneficial.
    Your autograph book is a real treasure. The penmenship and the artistry are not something you see today! I have an article from the newspaper about my grandparent's wedding too (1927). The way they wrote back grandmother was described as a "girlish" bride, and my grandfather was a young businessman held "in the highest esteem". It's a great read!!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I enjoyed my visit here and I'm your newest follower.

  18. This is a wonderful post. I love to look at old letters and see the beautiful penmanship. Fascinating. I wanted to wish you a good day today as you care for the many cats that have come into your care. You are very sweet to take on so much and I thank you for them. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x4

  19. This was such an interesting post, Betty! I love vintage penmanship and your grandmother's book is a treaure!
    My children had autograph books when they "graduated" from elementary school to junior high, but I don't think schools do this anymore.

    If you go to the blog "A Haven for Vee" she has a link to instructions on her sidebar as to how to get the old Blogger editor back--that might help you!

  20. What a perfectly enchanting post. I love that you have all these wonderful family memories. How fortunate that you can look back on the more elegant times when penmanship was an art...and a written letter was like a gift.

    This was a perfect P link. And you said you were struggling with this letter!

    My favorite link so far!

    Hugs and A+

  21. Yes, I think it probably is a lost art. Lovely post.

  22. Such a lovely post! Sorry for your blogger troubles, I have had some, too! I hope it is solved soon! Hugs and blessings from Kerrie


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