Reading Writing


A delightful, short essay at Atlas Obscura describes how handwriting in colonial America was packed with information about the profession, or trade, and class of the penman/woman. Reading was considered spiritual, and taught separately from writing, which was highly self-conscious, revealing, and practical:

Thanks to the rigorous teachings of professionals called “penmen,” merchants wrote strong, loopy logbooks, women’s words were intricate and shaded, and upper-class men did whatever they felt like.