Elaborate Alphabets on Display at Library

Feb 9, 2012

“Snow capped,” “patriotic,” “rustic,” “fanciful” and other elaborate turn of the century letters of the alphabet are on display at the Weinberg Memorial Library Heritage Room exhibit that continues through Thursday, April 5.

The exhibit features some of the intricate, hand-crafted alphabets from the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection, which is one of the most extensive collections of American ornamental penmanship from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is housed among the University’s Special Collections.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Zaner-Bloser was a leader in penmanship and calligraphy instruction. The company produced manuals providing examples of ornate Roman, medieval, decorative and Spencerian alphabets and also retained the original large format penwork created for the manuals.

The exhibit presents approximately 70 examples of this original pen artwork, emphasizing the work done by Charles Paxton Zaner (“The Zanerian Manual of Alphabets”), Daniel Ames (“Ames Compendium of Practical and Ornamental Penmanship”), Henry Flickinger (“Practical Alphabets”), S.C. Malone and others. 

The Weinberg Memorial Library is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the building’s dedication through a series of exhibits, lectures and other events.

The exhibit is on display during normal library hours, free of charge, through Thursday, April 5. For additional information, please contact Michael Knies, special collections librarian, at Michael.Knies@Scranton.edu or 570-941-6341.

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