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.
Each June, the Weinberg Memorial Library presents the University of Scranton Alumni Authors Exhibit. Covering a range of subjects, the exhibit presents the works of alumni who became nonfiction writers, novelists, children’s literature writers, and historians. The earliest alumnus featured is Clarence Walton, ’37, 10th president of The Catholic University of America and the first layman to hold the position. Also presented are works by Jason Miller, ’61, H’73, who received the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play That Championship Season. The exhibit also includes a recent acquisition, Highways into Space, by retired NASA engineer, Glynn Lunney, ’55, H’71. Lunney joined NASA as an engineer in 1958 and went on to become a flight director for the Gemini and Apollo programs, including the Apollo 13 crisis for which he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
For a full list of books by alumni at the Weinberg Memorial Library, please visit Scranton.edu/alumniauthors. The exhibit will be on display in the Library’s 5th floor Heritage Room through the month of June. It is open to the public and can be viewed during normal library hours. For more information, please email Special Collections Librarian, Michael Knies, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-941-6341.
Alumni interested in donating their published works to the Library can mail a copy to the Office of University Advancement, 800 Linden Street, Scranton, PA 18510.
During the month of May, the Weinberg Memorial Library hosts its annual Faculty Scholarship Exhibit in the Library’s 5th floor Heritage Room. The exhibit features books and articles produced by University of Scranton faculty members since 2015. The exhibit, organized by academic department, provides an overview of the diversity and quality of scholarly accomplishments by the University’s faculty. For more information, please contact Special Collections Librarian Michael Knies at email@example.com or call 570-941-6341.
Tomorrow night, March 27, at 6 p.m. the Library will host a reception for the exhibit “Distinguished for Their Talents,” Theatrical Portraits by Scranton Master Penman P. W. Costello, 1905-1930, 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. P. W. Costello’s great-grandson, Thomas W. Costello, will discuss Costello’s career, and University of Scranton professor Michael Friedman, Ph.D., will speak on Shakespearean performance at the turn of the 20th century.
Last week, WVIA’s ArtScene with Erika Funke featured an interview with Thomas W. Costello and Special Collections Librarian Michael Knies about the exhibition. A recording of their discussion can be found on WVIA’s website: wvia.org/radio/local/artscene/
The exhibit will be on display through April 23 during normal library hours. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-941-6341.
On display in the Weinberg Memorial Library’s Heritage Room is a collection of pen and ink portraits of late 19th and early 20th century theatrical personalities drawn between 1905 and 1930 by Scranton’s Master Penman Patrick W. Costello. Costello was nationally recognized for his work and operated what we might now consider a graphic arts studio where he created advertising art as well as engrossed congratulatory or testimonial resolutions, diplomas, and other types of work that required a combination of calligraphic lettering and artistic design. As a hobby, Costello drew pen and ink portraits and, because he had a love for the theater, specialized in drawing portraits of stage personalities. These were often drawn from photographs, engravings or illustrations found in theater magazines and books, but he also drew some portraits from life. In addition to his career as a penman, Costello owned restaurants in Scranton where he would display his portraits. In some cases, traveling actors would visit the restaurant and autograph their portraits. The exhibit will include a variety of men and women of the stage, some of whom played Scranton. Some actors, such as John Barrymore, are still famous today. Many of these actors performed Shakespeare and, therefore, a portion of the portraits on display depict Shakespearean characters.
The Heritage Room will host an exhibit reception and program on Tuesday, March 27 at 6 PM. Thomas W. Costello, P. W. Costello’s great-grandson, will speak on Costello’s career. University of Scranton English professor Michael Friedman will give a talk titled “Shakespeare on the Stage in 1900: From Actor’s Theater to Author’s Theater.” Sponsored by the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library, the reception is free and open to the public. The exhibit will run from February 5 through April 23 during normal Library hours. Images of the portraits can also be viewed through our digital collections website. For more information, please email email@example.com or call 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.