As we have seen over time, trends in handwriting styles change. Yet, nothing has prepared us for the fast drop off in the teaching of handwriting. Not just cursive, but the ability of people to print. Somewhere along the way, communicate without writing with a pen or pencil has become the norm.   Manuscript Society past-president, Kenneth Rendell shares his thoughts on the importance of handwriting in understanding history at the Grolier Club.

Rendell notes “After sixty-two years in the field of historical letters and manuscripts I am still just as excited as I was when a friend showed me, and I held, a handwritten letter of George Washington. I couldn’t believe it then and I still feel overwhelmed and honored to collect these pieces of human history. This past year I established two endowed annual lecture series. The first at the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, on the excitement of collecting original manuscripts and rare books. The second is at The Grolier Club in New York City on the importance of handwriting in understanding history.

I was asked by the Grolier Club to do the inaugural lecture in this series, and it was an illustrated talk about pieces in my personal collection and why I view them as interesting and important. I would like to share this with you now. To see the talk: