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Michael Knies: The Golden Age of American Penmanship
June 9, 2016 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
We know type and text more than we write by hand, and the art of beautiful everyday writing has all but disappeared. But once, penmanship was an esteemed skill, a sign of education, refinement, and good taste. For centuries, correspondence, advertising, even business transactions and records, were exquisite documents created by skilled penmen—members of a profession that has shrunk to a rarefied few. Some penmen learned their exacting craft in the newly created business school movement, while others took to the roads as itinerant writing masters. These virtuosi produced pen-flourished artworks and calligraphic alphabets used in diplomas, commemorative documents and advertisements. Michael Knies, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Scranton will discuss the history of American penmanship and present the work of master penmen from the spectacular Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection.
Michael Knies has presented on American penmanship at numerous conferences. He is Special Collections Librarian and Associate Professor at Weinberg Memorial Library, University of Scranton. He has undergraduate degrees in philosophy and classics from Penn State, an MA in American Studies from Penn State and an MLIS from Rutgers. Knies has been at the University of Scranton since 1996 where he is in charge of University Archives, rare books and manuscripts collections, including the Zaner-Bloser Collection. The Library acquired the Collection in 2010.