Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Writting* (for Writing*)

Library hand is what they used to call that beautiful, upstanding, somewhat left-leaning handwriting seen on library catalog cards. It was actually taught to students in library school and was the brainchild of Melvil Dewey. Sadly, the authority record for Library handwriting doesn't even include Library hand as a cross reference. How quickly they forget! But if you prefer to remember, check out those titles found in WorldCat under that subject heading, which include several by Dewey and one by IUriĭ Vladimirovich Grigor'ev, along with Deutsche Büchereihandschrift by Erwin Ackerknecht (1925) and Library Hand: A Lost Art by Thomas Graham Lee (1977). Another possibility for gaining insight into the mysterious world of library hand is John Cotton Dana's A Library Primer published in 1920. (This one was mentioned on the Web, but does not contain the Library handwriting heading in OCLC.) And, lastly, for you true romantics who might want to try and recreate this golden age in your own manual communication, a nice essay by Emily Yoffe on Slate tells us who to see about improving our penmanship. Writting* appears 21 times in OhioLINK, one with a "sic" and a couple others too old for us to be sure whether or not spelling counts.

(Boston Public Library view, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

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