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.

 

Scranton Family Papers Collection

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 … Continue reading






Scranton Family Papers Scanathon: Success!

As part of the City of Scranton’s yearlong 150th Anniversary celebration, the Weinberg Memorial Library hosted our very first Scanathon this weekend. In collaboration with the University’s Department of History and the student-run Royals Historical Society, along with community partners … Continue reading






Happy Birthday, Scranton: Kickoff to the 150th Anniversary Celebration

Tomorrow morning at 9:15 am, the City of Scranton will kick off its year-long Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration. Scranton was incorporated as a city on April 23, 1866, so next spring (April 23, 2016) will be the city’s 150th birthday. While … Continue reading






Image

Newly Digitized: Penman Photographs from the Zaner-Bloser Collection

Penman PhotographsOne of the most highly prized jewels in our Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections is the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection, one of the most extensive collections of American ornamental penmanship from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Over time, we’ve been digitizing parts of the Zaner-Bloser Collection to make it more accessible to researchers and penmanship enthusiasts around the world.

We’re now happy to announce that more than 500 photographs of celebrated masters and instructors of penmanship from the Zaner-Bloser Collection are now publicly available online. The photographs (96 portraits of women and 453 of men) were gathered by Zaner-Bloser for publication in penmanship journals like the Business Educator. Few of the photographs are dated, but we estimate that most of them were taken between the early 1900s and early 1940s.

Some of the photographs are portraits of celebrated master penmen, including several members of Michael Sull‘s Penman’s Hall of Fame. Others are lesser known teachers and instructors, some of whom we weren’t able to identify (please contact us if you recognize them!).

None of these photographs would be online today were it not for Thomas W. Costello, who spent many hours carefully digitizing the portraits for us. Tom’s great-grandfather is Scranton’s own master penman P. W. Costello, who has three portraits in the collection. Tom described the photograph collection as a “wonderful, well-deserved tribute to the masters and many of the dedicated unsung heroes who worked under the radar teaching penmanship.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves. Thank you, Tom, for bringing the men and women behind the pen into the spotlight.

125th Anniversary Website highlights content from Archives and Digital Collections

Visitors to the University’s 125th Anniversary website (125th.scranton.edu) will notice photographs, historic documents, and other materials from the Weinberg Memorial Library’s University Archives and Digital Collections. Library faculty, staff, and student workers contributed to the website’s timeline, photo galleries, and … Continue reading






University of Scranton Commencement Programs

The Weinberg Memorial Library is excited to announce our newest digital collection – University of Scranton Commencement Programs – which includes programs from commencement exercises and related activities (like Class Night and Baccalaureate) held by the University of Scranton and … Continue reading






University of Scranton Basketball Collection

Here’s something we’ve been working on for a while as part of our ongoing digitization of materials from the University Archives: The University of Scranton Basketball Collection. We haven’t yet digitized the whole archival collection, but we thought we’d go … Continue reading






Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives

There’s a great new resource available for anyone interested in local history.  The Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives, hosted by the Scranton Public Library and funded by a grant from the Willary Foundation, contains digitized photographs, manuscripts, maps, paintings, letters, and … Continue reading






Hands on Civil War History

We’re in the Scranton Times-Tribune today!  Many thanks to reporter Josh McAuliffe and photographer Michael Mullen for sharing the story of our exciting Civil War project.  Here’s what it’s all about: This semester, students from Dr. Kathryn Shively Meier‘s Civil … Continue reading