The typewriter, the word processor, and the computer have almost made the need for good penmanship obsolete. But written notes are sometimes very effective in business, and socially they are a decided asset. Spencerian handwriting is the name given to a style of ornate penmanship introduced by Platt Rogers Spencer (1800-1864), an American calligrapher. Written with a fine pen, with the down-strokes tapering from top to bottom and large loops, the writing has a forward slope and marked terminal flourishes. Spencer taught this style for many years, and it had a marked influence on American calligraphy.
Born in East Fishkill, New York, Spencer migrated to Geneva, Ohio, where he conducted unique penmanship classes in a log cabin on his farm. He then branched out with lectures and classes at business schools and academies and wrote a series of textbooks used by many schools during the pre-Civil War period. His handwriting had such a stamp of excellence that Spencerian became the hallmark of good handwriting. His textbooks, naturally, helped popularize his style.
Spencerian script, descriptive of his penmanship, although considered dated and old-fashioned, has become a collectors’ items.