Collection inventory

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Penmanship Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 21 Sep 2015

Biographical History

According to The Educator, "L. A. Platz, Hand-Writing Expert, Syracuse, N. Y... is a very skillful penman and was a very close friend of the late A. W. Dacon [Dakin]." [Vol. 48, No. 5, January 1943].

Albert P. Meub of Pasadena, California was "a penman of national note," known for his efforts to retain penmanship as part of the regular school curriculum, and an inductee into the Penman's Hall of Fame. In a 1927 letter to Platz (not part of this collection), he writes, "I, too, believe you should take up the teaching work. You are such a fine penman I know that you would have big success."

The Zanerian College of Penmanship was founded by Master Penman Charles Paxton Zaner in 1888. In 1895, after noted penman Elmer Ward joined the firm, it became known as the Zaner-Bloser Company. Its script was a streamlined version of Spencerian. It offered penmanship courses and published professional materials about handwriting and illustration. The company still exists today.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Penmanship Collection contains correspondence, printed material and specimens of fine penmanship.

Correspondence, L. A. Platz contains letters to expert penman L. A. Platz of Syracuse, New York. Correspondents include other notable penmen such as Henry Behrensmeyer, A. W. Dakin, Melvin H. Leib, Albert Meub, Charles Romont, and Francis L. Tower. Many are beautifully written and some are ornamented. There are also numerous letters from aspiring penmen, with samples of their work, and some general correspondence.

Printed material contains two publications from the Zanerian College of Penmanship, and assorted advertisements and circulars relating to penmanship and writing supplies.

Specimens contains autograph albums, business cards (handwritten), and scrapbooks. The scrapbooks include examples of Spencerian, copperplate, engrossing (a large, round, legible hand), and other similar scripts, as well as some examples of ornamentation such as the classic "bird flourish." There are also numerous examples of white ink on colored paper.

Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by name or topic.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Behrensmeyer, Henry P., 1868-1948.
Dakin, A. W.
Leib, Melvin.
Meub, Albert P.
Romont, Charles.

Corporate Bodies

Zaner-Bloser (Firm)


Calligraphers -- United States.
Calligraphy -- Specimens.
Calligraphy -- United States -- History.
Lettering -- Specimens.
Penmanship, American -- History.
Penmanship, American -- Specimens.


Syracuse (N.Y.)

Genres and Forms

Business cards.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Penmanship Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2015.

Notebook in English and German, transfer from Rare Books, 2017.

Table of Contents

Correspondence, L.A. Platz

Printed material