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The Palmer Method

April 19, 2008

Yes, I was taught the Palmer Method of cursive writing in school. I went to Catholic school, and if you passed your penmanship test in 4th grade, you were allowed to start writing with a pen. But not just ANY pen…a REAL fountain pen with an ink cartridge. A blue-stained middle finger was the sign that you had finally left your pencil behind (except for math). Ahh…memories:

So…I began to think of how nice it would be to find a font for e-mail that looked like Palmer Method cursive, and I find this article from USA Today (June, 2003!!), about how kids don’t even WANT to learn cursive handwriting, because typing is so much easier. There is speculation that todays kids will never learn the proper way to write in cursive. That’s scary. Can you imagine a love-letter typed, and printed out on a computer? Bullshit, I say.

Beautiful, legible handwriting used to be something to be proud of. They don’t teach Palmer method anymore, although both my kids learned it, thank goodness. Now they teach something called “Italic”, which is basically slanted printing with a few letters connecting.

After I read the article, I stopped looking for the Palmer method font. Why should I? I know the Palmer method. I can WRITE it. It’s beautiful and flowing, and looks like art on the page. And it makes me sad that today’s kids will never know the satisfaction of taking pride in something as simple as a hand-written paragraph, will probably never receive a heartfelt, handwritten love-letter. Something to cherish forever because your lover’s hands had  touched the page, emotion being transmitted from pen to paper.

So, I’ve decided to write a lot more letters by hand. That in itself, is a dying art.

Click here for the USA Today article referenced above.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. annemarie permalink
    September 13, 2008 11:51 pm

    I happened across this subject when reading about the Cyrillic alphabet. I worked in a private girls’ school, and had seen cursive diminish in the last 20 years but, since I wasn’t an educator, didn’t realize that younger people can’t even READ it anymore. Here I’ve been sending notes to people for years without the slightest idea that they may not be able to read them. I take it our students can’t read the Declaration of Independence. Very sad. The nuns in my Philadelphia school had nearly 90 students in each class. Most of us were just above the poverty level and ability ranged wildly. Oddly enough, these are people who know more about history and current affairs, have a bettter vocabulary and read more than many of the privlleged people I’ve met since. We sure didn’t appreciate it at the time but we owe a lot to those Immaculate Heart sisters.

  2. September 14, 2008 7:41 pm

    Yep, annemarie….in looking back at my 1st grade class picture in Catholic school, I counted 56 kids. And ONE nun. She kept us ALL in line. We all learned. We were too afraid not to! ;) We might have been a bit afraid of the nuns & lay teachers, but we had the utmost respect for them, too. It’s what our parents taught us. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to matter anymore, does it? Thanks for your comment.

  3. Fayann Stone permalink
    January 13, 2009 2:42 pm

    I was taught the Palmer Method in a one room school in the ’40s. We got straight steel ink dip pens when we were judged capable of writing well.
    Since then I have become a calligrapher, learning Palmer’s precusor Spencer, too. Palmer made the Spencerian Hand teachable and easier to read. Each attended Master Writing Schools and passed examinations to be called a Master Penman.
    Bill Lily and Mike Sull still conduct classes in these styles and the decorative designs that went with them, and have published teaching books.
    I have been complitmented on my beautiful handwriting many times and am so glad I was trained by a good teacher.
    I always told my own students that your handwriting is a little bit of you that you leave behind for others to know you. I would be ashamed of most of the handwrting I see in almost anyone since about 1955 , when schools decided they had too many more important things to teach.

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