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Spencerian Penmanship Books

The formal writing of the civil war period is, when neatly done, a wonder to behold. Such penmanship, however, was not created overnight. The writers spent many long hours in school and probably at home practicing forming their letters and words. A valuable tool learning the proper penmanship was a copy book. Each page contains a sample of writing and the student was to make as close a copy of the sample as possible. Each page also had several lines for practice so the student had numerous times to try each sample.

The reproduction of Spencerian copy books are accurate facimiles of the originals published in the 19th century. The sources for the copy books in this set were the common school series, published in 1874 but both the size and the appearance appear to be essential reproductions of earlier civil war period copy books. Two originals in our collection are from 1864 and are the same size and the same cover illustration but have different background color (green instead of the light brown on these) for the cover. Unfortunately, the two books we have are numbers 10 and 12 from the exercise series so we cannot verify that the contents are the same but we assume, from the presentation of the lessons in these two books, that the contents are unchanged.

For anyone wanting to teach themselves or others Spencerian penmanship, there is also a Theory book. Originally published in 1874, it provides very detailed instructions in the formation of each letter.

To view the description of individual books or sets of books, click on the appropriate item in the list below. The prices are also listed.

The individual books are priced as follows (If you want only specific books and not a complete set, be sure and specify which book or books you want to order):

Copy Books - $ 2.99 each
Theory Book - $ 4.99

And if you want to save a bit on the books listed above, we offer the following:

Set of five copy books - $11.99
Five copy books plus Theory book - $15.99

If you want to look at the previous book in the list,
The Sociable,
click here


If you want to look at the next book in the list,
Ten Nights in a Barroom,
click here