This is the heading to an article about how to analyze the penmanship of “abnormal types” (the insane, criminals, forgers, those suffering from “cerebral mischief” or “nervous incompactness or attentuatedness”).  One thing we learn is that in cases of delusional insanity, we find numerous capital letters where none are required, many words strongly underlined, and frequent use of ominous-looking crosses, stars or dagger-shaped signs and emblems.  In other samples of insane chirography, we find “the insanity of the penman staring at us, as it were, from every loophole and in every curve and stroke of the writing.”  Yet persons of mental imbalance can trick us with their handwriting, and the article offers an example notable for its high degree of caligraphic finish and neatness, evidences of mental skill and dexterity of the penman, total absence of mental disbalance, and a “marked rememblance to the handwriting of one of the noblest and sanest men known to this or any other age, viz. Mr. Gladstone.”  And so we learn that abnormal handwriting can deviate into the very picture of sanity.  Tricky!  From Cassell’s, 1896.

The Font of the Hand and Sublimation

Before the invention of the printing press, when chirography began to be usurped by typography, handwriting was a quest for ecumenical perfection. Monks, practicing manuscripture, worked toward the perfection of a hand in which the authority of the collective was privileged over the personal achievement.

This sublimation is evident in the Carolingian hands, which introduced majuscules and punctuation to writing, and the later Gothic hands, which reflect the seriousness of the religious texts being copied; their cathedral struts, finials, and minims seeming carceral, as if bars imprisoning monks in cells of lonely literacy.

-Joshua Cohen, “The Font of the Hand: On the processing of words, from scriptorium to LongPen™”

[Source: Triple Canopy]


American Chirography Being a Plain and Easy System of Penmanship, 1851

This strange little booklet contains a new American alphabet as developed by John S. Pulsifer of Schuykill County. He created both a chirography and typography, and called his new Alphabet, “Aubaot” for “typographical purposes.”

I have found very little information about Pulsifer and curious as to how many of these booklets exist. Anyone encounter these scripts before?


Some freestyle stuff “as a man thinks, so he is” #proverbs #eatanddrink #freestyle #creativeblock #mondrwaing #writing #lettering #calligraphy #itsallinthewrist #chirography #writeeverydamnday #lettering #myfonts #galoart #drawingroom #galosossiary #bohemianrhapsody #pilot #parallelpen #inkandpen #penmanship #galo (at Galo’s Ossuary )

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An ornamental handwriting is a nuisance! What with flourishes and extraneous appendages, the reader is continually distracted from the text to the characters, and generally ends by wishing the writer had used better taste in his chirography. A master who teaches anything but making neat, plain handwriting, is not fit for a teacher.

By Richard A Wells “Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society 1891”