Promoting the Art, History and Techniques of American Penmanship

There was a time in the not too distant past when the term "master penman" (men and women) was used to describe individuals who attained mastery of the writing arts. This purpose of this site is to keep their memory of their work alive.

Script in the Copperplate Style

Download Script in the Copperplate Style

Written by Dr. Joseph M. Vitolo

This is the first interactive iBook for Copperplate-style Calligraphy made specifically for the Apple iPad. This is a free book available for immediate download. The multimedia instructional materials contained within will help both the novice and advanced students. The fundamentals of Copperplate calligraphy are the focus of this Book with particular emphasis on letterforms. In addition, advanced concepts including Needle Stitch Script, and Gilded Script are examined. This book is more than 80 pages are packed with instructional text, images and more than 35 videos presented in an interactive format that will allow the student of the art form to accelerate their learning.

Useful Resources compiled by Mr. Vitolo

  1. Penmanship/Calligraphy Lessons
  2. Images of Zanerian Certificates
  3. A description of pointed pen scripts
  4. Learn more about the Zanerian College
  5. How Gillott manufactured the 303 pen
  6. Small Engrosser's Script Guidelines
  7. Large Engrosser's Script Guidelines

Additional Resources

Presented by David Grimes of Masgrimes.

  1. Dreaming in Script : Online Courses focused on American Penmanship
  2. The Masgrimes Archive of American Penmanship
  3. Free Resource: The Zanerian Manual
  4. The American Penmanship Bibliography
  5. The Galaxy of Penmen
  6. How to Improve Your Handwriting
  7. What is Engrosser's Script?

A gallery of female penmen

A collection of biographic information and images associated with some fine female penmen.

The master penmen archives

Specimens from historical and modern day penmen including WA Baird, FB Courtney, WE Dennis, EA Lupfer, Charlton Howe, Louis Madarasz, C.W. Norder, JD Todd and CP Zaner. Selected works were scanned at high resolution.

The oblique penholder gallery

This gallery contains several styles of Oblique Penholders from my personal collection. In addition, several images of penholders (not in my collection) belonging to historical master penmen are included to demonstrate the variety of holder shapes that were used.

The Don Tate Penholder Collection

A wonderful collection of pen holders previously owned and used by several past master penmen. Thanks to penman and historian Don Tate for sharing this truly marvelous collection thought to be the famous RR Reed Collection. Thanks to James Ivey for constructing and posting this page.

The gallery of penmanship gadgets

This gallery contains several historical examples of gadgets made specifically to help an individual learn penmanship.

Zanerian Catalog clippings

Follow this link to view selected pages from an early Zanerian Catalog. The pages are very informative and provide prices of several popular nibs including the Zanerian FineWriter and the Gillott Principality. At the time this catalog was published, a gross of Gillott Principalities cost $2.00.

Special Thanks

We would like to acknowledge Michael Sull's generosity in allowing the use of materials from his monumental two-volume work 'Spencerian Script and Ornamental Penmanship'.