The Road to Good Penmanship
J. J. Bailey was a master penman during the “Golden Age of Penmanship” (~1870-1930). Bailey was especially known for his skill in “Business Penmanship”, which you would probably think of as traditional cursive writing. Check out one of his most popular pieces, Mile Stones on the Penmanship Highway - his writing was unbelievably exceptional.
Bailey was just one of many that achieved a mastery of American penmanship during the Golden Age. Eventually, the typewriter came along and the penmanship profession largely died off. As the years went on, acquiring good or even legible penmanship became less and less important. In America today, many schools don’t even teach cursive.
Despite the decline of handwriting as a practical skill, calligraphers have kept the art of beautiful writing alive. Older generations kept calligraphy alive through magazines, newsletter groups, and local meetups or “guilds”. Their passion for sharing, teaching, and archiving the history of calligraphy has inspired younger generations who are gathering on social media. Many calligraphers are talking about the “calligraphy renaissance” that is happening and we can only speculate about why it is happening now.
With our 9th and latest letter, we joined forces with The Calligraphy Podcast to pay tribute to the master penman of the Golden Age, the calligraphers who create beautiful writing today, and the art form itself.
The premium burgundy envelope is decorated with white ink flourishes by Christen of The Calligraphy Podcast. Each envelope is hand addressed by Dave of Posted with a white ink pen in traditional American cursive. This letter will stand out in any stack of mail!
The note was handwritten by Dave in traditional American cursive and printed on 88lb natural white card stock. The note touches on the calligraphy renaissance and asks, “Why now?”.
The quote is from J. J. Bailey’s “Mile Stones on the Penmanship Highway”, a document that Bailey penned for a series of ten publications in the Business Educator (the most popular penmanship magazine of his time). The quote is printed on a laid finish paper and written in Spencerian script by Ajab of The Calligraphy Podcast. The border flourishes were done by her co-host, Christen. Using a traditional script called “Marking Alphabet”, Dave of Posted credited the artwork.
The Multi-Script Alphabet
Alphabets are a common subject of Calligraphic art and we decided to do something a little different by creating an alphabet that features three different scripts. In this alphabet, you’ll see Christen’s black letter forms (A), Ajab’s Spencerian forms (B), and Dave’s cursive forms (C). This alphabet shows the beauty of different calligraphic scripts as well as the diversity of interests among calligraphers.
As always, we give you a simple way to display some of your letter on the fridge. This magnet features a pen drawing of a nib by Dave. It also repurposes some of the lettering done by Ajab for the quote.
The Calligraphy Podcast
It was a privilege to work with Ajab and Christen of The Calligraphy Podcast on this letter. They graciously donated their time and artistic talent to help create this beautiful letter. We reached out to Ajab and Christen because they are a notable part of the calligraphy renaissance. Their podcast is another sign that the calligraphy community is continuing to grow and evolve. If you are at all interested in the art of calligraphy, we highly recommend you give their podcast a listen.
In fact, you can start with Episode 12, which features Dave from Posted. We talk about the state of cursive handwriting and discuss the benefits of learning the skill.
You can listen to the Calligraphy Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, wherever you find podcasts, or online here.