The reception for the exhibit, “The World’s Best Penman: The Artistic and Business Career of Charles Paxton Zaner, 1864-1918,” will be held tonight in the Library’s 5th Floor Heritage Room, from 6-8 p.m. Michael Knies, Special Collections Librarian, will give a lecture titled “Charles Paxton Zaner and the Penmanship Profession.” The event, which is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library, is free and open to the public. Don’t miss it!
Michael Knies was interviewed about the exhibit by WVIA’s Erika Funke, which can be accessed below. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-941-6341.
Wednesday evening, October 24, from 6-8 p.m., the Library will host a reception for the exhibit “The World’s Best Penman: The Artistic and Business Career of Charles Paxton Zaner, 1864-1918,” in the 5th Floor Heritage Room. Generously sponsored by the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library, this event is free and open to the public. Michael Knies, Special Collections Librarian, will give a lecture titled “Charles Paxton Zaner and the Penmanship Profession.”
The exhibit will be on display through December 14 during normal library hours. For more information, please email email@example.com or call 570-941-6341.
The Heritage Room is featuring an exhibit on the career of Charles Paxton Zaner, penman extraordinaire and founder of the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Company. The Weinberg Memorial Library has been the home of the Zaner-Bloser Collection since 2010, and the collection has been used in a number of exhibits. Zaner-Bloser, which is still in business, has been a leading publisher of penmanship instruction materials since 1888. However, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of C.P. Zaner’s tragic death in an automobile collision with a train at the age of 54. Consequently, the exhibit will focus on Zaner’s career and feature calligraphic alphabets, flourished birds, other artistic work and penmanship exercises. But Zaner was more than a penman. He was a businessman, a publisher, an essayist, and author of penmanship manuals. The exhibit will also display manuscript copies of his essays, copies of manuals he authored, accompanied at times by the original penwork and printing blocks, and material from the company he created.
The exhibit, titled “The World’s Best Penman: The Artistic and Business Career of Charles Paxton Zaner, 1864-1918,” will be on display until December 14 during normal library hours. There will be a reception and lecture, by Special Collections Librarian Michael Knies, on Zaner’s career and the profession of penmanship during his lifetime on Wednesday, October 24, at 6 PM in the Heritage Room. The reception is free and open to the public. For further information, contact Special Collections Librarian Michael Knies at 570-941-6341.
The University is pleased to announce that our substantial collection of Western Penman and American Penman journals has been digitized and is now publicly available online as a part of the Library’s digital collections. The Western Penman can be accessed here and The American Penman here.
Contained within the Library’s extensive Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection, the journal is one among many penmanship periodicals published during what is known as the “Golden Age” of penmanship, extending several decades before and after the year 1900. Austin Norman Palmer began The Western Penman in 1884. A contemporary and competitor of Charles Paxton Zaner (who would begin publishing his own journal, The Business Educator, eleven years later), Palmer created a simplified method of manuscript writing designed for speed and relying on muscle memory and whole-arm movement. Palmer’s technique contrasted with the more ornate Spencerian script that was the standard of the time. The insistence on speed, evidenced even in Palmer’s habit of closing letters with “Rapidly yours,” aligned perfectly with the growing American obsession with the automobile and his ideas were soon taught in schools across the country. In 1900, Palmer began publishing separate student and professional editions of The Western Penman. In 1906, the publication was renamed The American Penman and ran until 1938, resulting in a total of fifty-five volumes of issues.
The Library’s collection encompasses the entire span of the Penman’s life cycle, although some volumes and issues are missing. While a substantial amount of the Library’s penmanship journals, consisting mostly of the Penman’s Art Journal and the Zaner-Bloser publications, were digitized in 2010 by the Internet Archive as a part of the Lyrasis Mass Digitization Collaborative, the Western Penman and American Penman journals remained available almost exclusively in their print editions. In 2017, twenty-two bound volumes were digitized by Backstage Library Works. Our digital collection now contains 519 issues, with a total of 17,119 page images. The master TIFF image files, which are stored in our digital preservation repository, add up to 652 GB.
We extend our warmest thanks to all of those involved in the process of making these journals digitally available! They are sure to offer great value, both historically and artistically, to our Library’s users.
Below are examples representing various elements of the journal: examples of penmanship completed by students at a business school in Michigan, a page of exercises written by penman R. H. Robbins, and an excerpt from a detailed lesson by Palmer concerning his Muscular Movement technique. Palmer wrote that he considered his readers to be an “immense writing class” led by his teachings.
The DNP program requires students to complete an evidence-based scholarly project. As described in the current DNP Student Handbook, “A Scholarly Project is the hallmark of the practice doctorate demonstrating an outcome of the student’s educational experience. The scholarly project embraces the synthesis of both coursework and practice application… Projects are related to advanced practice generally in each student’s nursing specialty, and the project must demonstrate significant potential to positively change health care delivery or improve outcomes for vulnerable groups, families, communities, or populations, rather than an individual patient.” Deliverables for the Scholarly Project include the final scholarly paper and a scholarly presentation, involving a professional poster and an oral presentation.
In partnership with the Department of Nursing and DNP Program coordinator Mary Jane Hanson, the Weinberg Memorial Library now hosts the University of Scranton Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Scholarly Projects Collection. We will store and maintain our DNP graduates’ scholarship in our digital preservation repository, and by publishing their papers and posters in our digital collections, we’ll help make the results of their work freely available to a global audience.
Congratulations to our 2017 DNP graduates – we are proud to include your scholarship in our Library collections!
Following our recent Scranton Family Papers Scanathon, held in partnership with the Lackawanna Historical Society, the Scranton Public Library, the State Library of Pennsylvania, and our own University of Scranton Department of History and Royals Historical Society, the Weinberg Memorial Library is proud to announce that over 570 letters and documents (dated 1840-1875) digitized from the Lackawanna Historical Society’s Scranton Family Papers Collection are now publicly available online in the Library’s digital collections at www.scranton.edu/library/scrantonfamily.
The majority of the digital collection is made up of 423 letters (dated 1850-1854) digitized from 2 volumes of George W. Scranton’s outgoing office correspondence. The letters document Scranton’s management of his many business concerns, including Scrantons, Platt and Co., the Ligett’s Gap Railroad, the Cayuga & Susquehanna Railroad, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, and the Lackawanna Iron & Coal Company. The correspondence also provides insight into the development (and naming!) of the city of Scranton, including the construction of the city’s first hotel, the Wyoming House. Thanks to transcriptions prepared by LHS volunteers Dennis, Sharleen, and Scott Martin, the digitized letters are full-text searchable.
The remainder of the digital collection holds loose correspondence, ledger books, and other documents (dated 1840-1874) belonging to Joseph H. Scranton, Selden T. Scranton, George W. Scranton, and William W. Scranton. Transcriptions for most of these handwritten documents have been completed by Weinberg Memorial Library staff; additional transcriptions will be added into the collection as they are completed.
We thank all of our partners and volunteers for their time, effort, and moral support in this project, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration in the future!
Note: This article is the first in a series highlighting the P. W. Costello and Family Art Collection, an online repository for digitized images of original and published artwork by master penman P. W. Costello (1866-1935) and his descendants. This digital Collection was recently donated to the Weinberg Memorial Library by Thomas W. Costello, great-grandson of the artist, and is available to the public online at www.scranton.edu/library/costello.
Scranton, Pennsylvania was at one time a thriving center for live performance – particularly theatre – and was a frequent stop for plays, musicals and vaudeville acts on their way to New York City. A number of beautiful and often lavish theatres were built throughout the city and housed historic performances by many popular and up-and-coming talents of the day. Some of these people and events were captured artistically in drawings by P. W. Costello (1866-1935), a talented and highly skilled master penman from the Minooka section of Scranton (shown at left in 1906). Digitized images of these theatre-related drawings are a highlight of the P. W. Costello and Family Art Collection, recently acquired by Weinberg Memorial Library through the generosity of Thomas W. Costello, great-grandson of the artist.
In the late 1890s, P. W. Costello was gaining a reputation for the high-quality engrossings, portraits, and ornamental penmanship he produced from his downtown studio. At the same time, he was a local restauranteur, serving as joint proprietor (with James Fleming) of the Arbor Café on Wyoming Avenue. Costello used the Café walls as a gallery, displaying his sketches of local and national figures that lined the walls of this restaurant. A number of these drawings depicted actors and actresses who had performed close to the restaurant at such theatres and venues as the Lyceum, the Poli, the Majestic, and the Academy of Music. Performers captured by Costello who made Scranton appearances included Maude Adams (well-known for her lead role in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, pictured in Costello’s drawing at right), Junius Brutus Booth (father of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth), Maclyn Arbuckle (who, although originally a stage actor, went on to start his own silent film company), Alice Brady (actress and daughter of New York producer William A. Brady) and Robert Edeson (veteran stage and silent film actor who appeared in at least four Scranton stage productions). Most of these drawings are black and white pen and ink, although there are a few where Costello employed gray or colored shading.
Costello usually based his drawings on photographs, engravings, cabinet cards, or other promotional materials, and these were often paired with an autographed card or letter, which he purchased from a dealer or obtained from another source. A few autographs are originals, likely acquired by the artist firsthand. Each drawing manages to expertly convey the unique personality of the particular performer or the character they are portraying. Costello later went on to create a similar display in the 1920s as co-owner of another Scranton restaurant which featured his work, this time on Adams Avenue, the Oak Café.
In addition to drawing portraits of actors and actresses, Costello also lettered and illustrated theatre advertisements. One delightful example (shown at left) in the Costello Collection advertises a week-long 1904 production of Cupid and Company, a musical with a book by Scranton newspaperman Tracy Sweet and music by prolific Broadway composer A. Baldwin Sloane. In addition to Costello’s skillful lettering, the intricate design features Cupid, a jester, a marotte, and other comic elements from the musical, as well as ribbons and acanthus leaves.
One of the interesting and important elements to note about these works by Costello is how they manage to preserve a portion of Scranton’s cultural history that – with few exceptions – has been largely undocumented. Many of the actors and actresses captured in his drawings (as well as the splendid buildings in which they performed), while well-known in their own time, have largely been forgotten today. And yet, all these individuals contributed much to Scranton’s arts scene during the late 1800s and early 1900s, and Scranton in turn likely made a significant impact on their careers. The fact that many of these performers – such as May Irwin (Canadian vaudeville singer and actress), Elsie Janis (American musical comedy soprano) and Ada Rehan (Irish Shakespearean actress) – returned repeatedly to play Scranton, seems to indicate what an important stop the city was on both the national and international touring circuit.
The Weinberg Memorial Library is fortunate to present these digitized images – as well as many other digital reproductions of Costello’s artwork – in our digital collections, and we are pleased to share with the public a rare glimpse of Scranton’s early theatrical history through the eyes of a remarkable artist who lived through it – P. W. Costello.
For more information about the history of theatre in Scranton, check out Nancy McDonald’s book If You Can Play Scranton: A Theatrical History, 1871-2010 – available here at the Weinberg Memorial Library and at several other Pennsylvania libraries.
David Hunisch, Digital Services Assistant
Kristen Yarmey, Digital Services Librarian
Wishing you a holiday that’s merry and bright!
Christmas card (undated) from the Zaner-Bloser, Inc. / Sonya Bloser Monroe Penmanship Collection
Last week at DPLAFest in Washington, DC, executive director Dan Cohen announced that the Digital Public Library of America had grown in its third year to include more than 13 million records. We’re proud to announce that 12,876 of those records were contributed by the University of Scranton Weinberg Memorial Library.
Launched in 2013, DPLA is a digital platform and network that brings together descriptive information for rare and unique digital materials from more than 1,900 libraries, archives, and museums across the country. It’s a portal to the treasures of American cultural heritage, from digitized photographs, films, documents, and objects to born digital ebooks, video, and images. All of these materials are freely available on the web for use by researchers, students, teachers, genealogists, and the general public.
We’ve been building digital collections at the University of Scranton since 2008, and nearly all of our materials are already publicly available on our website at www.scranton.edu/library/digitalcollections (some items are restricted due to copyright, privacy, or donor request). So why participate in DPLA?
DPLA doesn’t host digital materials – they’re all stored and made accessible by contributing institutions like us, so it’s still our job to keep digitizing, describing, preserving, and publishing digital items. What DPLA does is make these materials discoverable and usable in entirely new and exciting ways. Metadata records (descriptive information) that we send to DPLA are aggregated into a stream of open data that can be used by software developers and others to create new tools or visualizations. Two of our favorites are the DPLA Visual Search Prototype and Culture Collage, which offer more visual interfaces for browsing and sorting through search results.
Perhaps most importantly, DPLA allows for unified access, which is important both for 1) users who don’t necessarily know what institution will have the records they’re looking for and 2) collections that have been physically fragmented across different institutions.
An example of the former might be a genealogist looking for information about family members from Scranton. Using DPLA, they can find not only relevant materials in our collections (like our yearbooks and Aquinas issues, which are excellent sources for information about our alumni) but they’ll also stumble across photographs, manuscripts, and books from the Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives, postcards from the Boston Public Library, stereographs and menus from the New York Public Library, and genealogical books from the Library of Congress.
An example of the latter is the Horace G. Healey Collection, an impressive set of 19th century penmanship and calligraphy. Half of the collection is available here on campus in our McHugh Special Collections (as part of our Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection), but the other half is at the New York Public Library. In DPLA, images of the artwork are reunited as they are digitized.
Our participation in DPLA has been in the works for almost two years. DPLA is unable to accept metadata records directly from individual libraries – there are just too many potential contributors! – so almost all of its data passes through nodes called Service Hubs. Most service hubs are established at a state or regional level, and Pennsylvania didn’t have one when DPLA first launched. Beginning in August 2014, a group of Pennsylvania cultural heritage institutions got together to discuss how best to collaborate on digital collections in the state. After a year of planning, coordination, and tons of work, the PA Digital Partnership was approved as a DPLA Service Hub in August 2015. On April 13, 2016, data from the PA Digital Partnership went live in DPLA, with 131, 651 records from 19 contributing Pennsylvania institutions.We’re incredibly proud to be part of DPLA and the PA Digital Partnership, and we’re thrilled to see our digital collections be more accessible and discoverable than ever. Congratulations to all our PA Digital colleagues, and happy searching to all!