Old penmanship and handwriting fonts
Antiquarian font
Antiquarian Scribe
Bonnycastle font
Geographica typeface
Geographica Hand
Geographica Script
Terra Ignota
Abigail Adams font
American Scribe
Austin Pen
Bonhomme Richard
Botanical Scribe
Douglass Pen
Emily Austin font
Geographica Script
Houston Pen
Lamar Pen
Military Scribe
Lamar Pen
Remsen Script
Schooner Script
Texas Hero font
Attic Antique font
Bonsai font
Broadsheet font
Castine font
Order Handwriting Fonts
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The text face used here (as well as elsewhere) is Broadsheet™. The home page letters are set in Emily Austin™ & Lamar Pen™. All typefaces referenced on this website—Abigail Adams™, American Scribe™, Antiquarian™, Antiquarian Scribe™, Attic Antique™, Austin Pen™, Bonhomme Richard™, Bonsai™, Botanical Scribe™, Broadsheet™, Castine™, Douglass Pen™, Emily Austin™, Geographica™, Geographica Hand™, Geographica Script™, Houston Pen™, Lamar Pen™, Military Scribe™, Old Man Eloquent™, Remsen Script™, Schooner Script™, Terra Ignota™ & Texas Hero™ (as well as all other fonts in the Handwritten History™ Bundle)—are the intellectual property of Three Islands Press (copyright ©1994–2015). For site licensing contact:

   Three Islands Press
   P.O. Box 1092
   Rockport ME 04856 USA
   (207) 596-6768


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Posts Tagged ‘old letters’
My Devoted Ma
Thursday, June 4th, 2015
A wild bird list I made in 2009.

Wild bird species list.

It recurs to me—as I take up my keyboard, sheepishly, to compose my first missive here in far too long—that I hardly write anything by hand anymore. For all my “Woe are we who no longer put pen to paper” laments, I don’t exactly practice what I preach. My handwriting lately appears mostly just on things I sign (few, in this increasingly paperless world) or the blank three-by-five-inch index cards I fill obsessively with lists and doodles (mostly doodles). And it ain’t exactly what you’d describe as “cursive.”

These days, in fact, I write so little that hand-cramp comes after I’ve penned not much more than a paragraph.

But if the honeybee population crashes, and big agriculture fails, and civilization is thrown into turmoil, and the electrical grid goes down, I’d still know how to write, at least— although I would have to brush up on my horsemanship.

In 1993, Mom provided the source materials for my first historical penmanship font, Texas Hero.

Mom provided the source materials for my first old script font, Texas Hero.

A few of us do still communicate via old-style letters instead of email. Neuroscientists even believe it worthwhile to resist the modern convenience of the keyboard. Yes, digital technology has in the past generation or so swallowed up and superseded our old pen-and-paper ways—whither film photography? magnetic audiotape?—but it turns out that commanding my fingers to manipulate a tool into coaxing tiny curves and loops and circles and stars onto a three-by-five-inch index card is better exercise for my brain than simply commanding my fingertips tap out a series of keys.

Back in the early days of personal computers, my fast-typing father (a technophile) was quick to embrace—and introduce me to—the Apple Macintosh. My mother (a technophobe) never had any use for such things. But Mom could sure write a mean letter. What I have now from my dad is a large digital archive of epistolary files; what I have from my mom are scores of her handwritten letters.

I could always tell from Mom’s familiarly small, looping cursive when she was pensive and when she was in a hurry. I can easily see when her letter was interrupted by one of the many pressing chores that filled her busy days. And I can certainly see, in her later correspondence, the jittery, up-and-down effects Parkinson’s Disease had on her penmanship. Still, her words were always measured and expressive, her hand ever allusive and refined.

And still her letters have a sound. A smell. A feel.

After Parkinson’s had set in. (Ma always closed this way.)

After Parkinson’s had set in. (Ma always closed this way.)

* * *
Military Scribe™

Coming 07/04/2015.

I’m currently at work on a vintage handwriting face that seeks to replicate the dense, compact, disconnected cursive script on troop rosters of His Majesty’s Tenth Regiment of Foot, circa 1776–1778. The Tenth of Foot is famous for having fought against American colonial revolutionaries at the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill.

I’m pretty excited about this one. It should be legible, distinctive, and authentic for the period. I expect to release it by July 4th, 2015. (If you’d like me to let you know when it’s finished, feel free to sign up for our email newsletter.)

* * *

Honestly, though, I just can’t live without a stack of blank three-by-five-inch index cards.


A doodle.

Pride in Penmanship
Sunday, October 5th, 2014
Handwriting has personality (our Viktorie font).

Handwriting has personality (our Viktorie font).

I remember when people used to take pride in their penmanship. They’d be proud if it was neat and graceful; they’d be proud if it was undecipherable.

And they’d experiment with it, add little personal flourishes. They’d draw a slash through the letter Z, or use tiny circles where dots should be.

A page of the handwriting of Albert Einstein.

A page of the handwriting of Albert Einstein.

Used to be, the way you wrote—whether longhand or shorthand or printing or scribbling—became an extension of yourself, a sort of fashion statement. Plain and sensible, vivacious and chatty, gloomy, colorful, gray.

“Everyone’s handwriting is as different as the way we express ourselves,” writes Marilou Johanek, a columnist with the Toledo Blade, quoting a teacher friend.

Writing in cursive, another told her, makes you “pay attention to what you’re doing and the words you’re choosing.”

Johanek is one of many who—while acknowledging the fact that (barring an apocalyptic failure of the power grid) modern schoolchildren need only learn how to use a keyboard—believes there’s still value in learning how to write by hand. The Ohio Board of Education contends it “develops fine motor skills and improves literacy.”

The handwriting of Franz Kafka.

The handwriting of Franz Kafka.

Never mind that at a glance it lets you get a picture of a person without even knowing how to read. But reading is the point, of course. Being able to interpret what a hand-writer has—or had—to say.

Last month at an Albuquerque, New Mexico, high school, a less-than-legible bomb threat scribbled on the wall of a boys’ bathroom prompted cautionary evacuations on two straight mornings: authorities weren’t sure if one number in the threatened date was a 5 or a 6.

I can’t say whether it was the writer’s or readers’ fault.

But I can say that, if you can’t turn a string of lines and curves and shapes into the equivalent of spoken words and phrases, you’ll miss out on a world of pleasurable insight.

And every now and then an unpleasant surprise.

I’m reminded of a letter by noted Texas pioneer Emily Austin Perry (whose handwriting inspired our Emily Austin font), written to her husband in 1837, in which a mundane accounting of finances included a shocking sign of the unenlightened times.

1751 letter to the Mayor of New York.

1751 letter to the Mayor of New York.

Here is that excerpt, literally transcribed:

I have by me at this time a bout Seven Hundred Dollars; Austins & Guys expences will have to come out of it—their is still five Hundred Dollars to draw on the Letter of Credit; in Louisville; If you can sell any of my land, do so; for I wish very much to Buy me a Negro Girl, when I return I shall remain hear un till the first of September; but you will know of my movements, for I shall write every Week—and you must do the same, and in the meantime; if their is no likelihood of the Countrys being invaded again, make every exertion to have the two Rooms Put up by the time I return, for I expect to bring quite a Family back.

(I might note that Rutherford B. Hayes—who visited the Perrys’ Peach Point Plantation in 1848—described Emily as “an excellent motherly sort of woman, whose happiness consists in making others happy.”)

Recently I saw a humorous graphic showing the evolution of the written word, from cuneiform script to Egyptian hieroglyphics to Latin text to colorful, wacky emoticons.

Funny? Yep. But as with all humor, there’s a kernel of bittersweet truth in there somewhere.

Abigail Adams American Scribe Austin Pen Bonhomme Richard Botanical Scribe Douglass Pen

Emily Austin Houston Pen Lamar Pen Military Scribe Old Man Eloquent

Remsen Script Schooner Script Texas Hero Antiquarian Antiquarian Scribe Bonnycastle Geographica

Geographica Hand Terra Ignota Attic Antique Bonsai Broadsheet Castine

Historical Pens Old Map Fonts Texas Heroes Set Geographica Set Antique Texts Modern Hands

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