Western Penman Journal Collection Now Online

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.

 

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15th Annual President’s Business Council Gala Tonight in NYC

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Archival materials for the President’s Business Council honoree video

By collecting, preserving, and making available institutional records of permanent value, the University Archives serves the administration and community of the University of Scranton. This summer, staff from the University’s office of Events & Conference Services visited the Archives in search of materials for the 15th annual President’s Business Council award dinner. This gala, taking place tonight at The Pierre in New York City, recognizes individuals who have achieved excellence in their fields and who have demonstrated extraordinary compassion for others. The President’s Business Council seeks to provide meaningful networking opportunities for alumni and friends, as well as mentoring and career opportunities for current students. In addition, since the inaugural dinner, over $11 million has been generated for the Presidential Scholarship Endowment Fund, which supports full-tuition, merit-based scholarships for talented students who will become leaders of vision and integrity.

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Fr. Bernard McIlhenny, S.J. welcoming several women students and their parents outside of Gunster Memorial Student Center during freshman orientation in 1972. The students were among the first women to enroll in the University’s daytime undergraduate school.

One of this year’s honorees, Rev. Bernard R. McIlhenny, S.J., arrived in Scranton in 1958 to serve as the fourth headmaster of Scranton Preparatory School. Known to many as “Father Mac,” he was appointed dean of admissions at the University in 1966 and, over a 31 year tenure, is credited with admitting more than two-thirds of the University’s living alumni. He is currently dean of admissions emeritus and serves as minister of the Scranton Jesuit Community. University Archives staff gathered materials for a video that will be presented at tonight’s gala. A selection of these materials and other documents on Fr. McIlhenny can be viewed in our digital collections.

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Videographers reviewing materials from the University Archives for an honoree video for the President’s Business Council Dinner.

This year’s second recipient of the President’s Medal is Frank J. Dubas, Jr. ’75. This past May, Frank retired as Deloitte’s global managing partner for Sovereign Financial Institutions (SFI). Over a 42-year career, Frank held a number of client service leadership roles and built a distinguished track record of service to many multinational clients. During his tenure, many Scranton graduates were hired at Deloitte and benefited from Frank’s mentorship. A native of Jessup, Pa., Frank and his wife, Marigrace, reside in New Canaan, Ct., and have three children: Megan, Rob and Paul. Frank’s experiences as a University student were highlighted in an alumni article for the Fall 2015 issue of the Scranton Journal.

To read more news and events about the University Archives and Special Collections, visit www.digitalservices.scranton.edu.

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