They don’t teach cursive in school anymore. The kids have too much material to cram in their little brains to regurgitate on the standardized tests, no time to waste on archaic skills like penmanship. I think it’s a shame. I know these kids have to know how to type, and most of them do without sitting through the old, odious, typing tests…jjjkjjjkjjjkj Learning cursive, though, is important for improving general handwriting, even if you never use it as an adult (although I do).
The thing is, there’s this idea that we will move to a paperless world by the time these kids are grown, so they have no need to know how to write in cursive, or even legible block printing. The problem with that is that we’ve been promised this “paperless” world for a long time, it won’t happen for many many generations.
Anyway, off my soapbox. This is a photograph I found at my favorite antiques store (Terrace Oaks Antiques). It’s not much in the way of an interesting visual image, until you look at the back. Here, the man in the photograph wrote; “I was running toward the camera to get out of this picture when he took it. Cris”. I found it amusing that he was running toward the camera to get out of the way. What really drew me, though, is the style of cursive he used. It’s called the Palmer Method of Business Writing.
The Palmer Method was developed at the beginning of the last century in order to allow those manually transcribing conversations in a business environment to do so quickly, accurately, and with a minimum of effort. As you can see from the example above, shortcuts such as secondary “t’s” not being crossed, aid the writer to move from word to word quickly, without pausing or going back for unnecessary details. I think it’s fabulous. It’s beautiful and simple, and must have been a very important development, as there were several different methods designed to accomplish the same thing.
As someone who loves all things antique, who often makes props that are supposed to come from times past, and someone who likes doing historical and genealogical research, it’s really important for me to be able to decipher and replicate these old writing styles. The single greatest resource I have found is the website of the International Association of Master Penmen, Engravers, & Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH). This site is brilliant and sucks me in for hours at a time. I’d love to go to the convention in July, but Albuquerque in July sounds a little hot! Maybe next year’s convention will be easier for us East Coasters to get to!