Information Update - Spring 2011

Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Exhibit

Weinberg Memorial Library's Heritage Room will feature an exhibit from the newly acquired Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection. The exhibit will feature an overview of the collection providing a glimpse of the different components of one of the largest penmanship history collections in the country. The collection came to the University as a result of a 2009 Hope Horn Gallery exhibit about Scranton-based engrosser P.W. Costello, curated by Thomas Costello, Darlene Miller Lanning, Ph.D., and Michael Sull.
The exhibit will include a selection of handwriting manuals published before the founding of Zaner-Bloser in the late 19th century and manuals and professional periodicals produced by Zaner-Bloser. Also on exhibit will be examples of fine penmanship used for instructing children and adults and examples of ornamental penmanship by master penmen.
The highlights of the collection will be items collected by Horace G. Healey (1867-1938). Healey, a master penman, had become managing editor of The Penman's Art Journal, founded by Daniel Ames (1835-1909), in 1900. In 1916, The Penman's Art Journal (which had changed its name to The Business Journal) merged with Zaner-Bloser creating The Business Educator. Over the decades Healey had saved and collected a substantial amount of the original penwork and artwork created for the publications. Upon his death, half of his collection was donated to the New York Public Library and the other half to the Zaner-Bloser Company. The exhibit will include a number of large format penwork flourished animals, particularly birds, original cover designs from the publications along with the publications themselves, and a small group of spectacular pen work done by Ames.
The company was founded in 1888 by Charles P. Zaner as the Zanerian School of Penmanship. Elmer W. Bloser purchased a share of the company in 1891 and in 1895 the school changed its name to the Zaner-Bloser Company. Zaner-Bloser, a subsidiary of Highlights for Children since 1972, continues to be a leader in the field of penmanship instruction. Originally, the school prepared students for careers as penmen. Penmen often worked in business, preparing ledgers, writing correspondence and creating documents before the invention of the typewriter. Zaner-Bloser also taught students to become teachers of penmanship, illustrators, engravers and engrossers. Engrossers employ the type of ornamental writing used for diplomas and certificates.
The exhibit will be on display from Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, through Friday, April 18, 2011. For further information, please contact Michael Knies at