Two Special Exhibits this month
Penmen, Artists, and Educators: 125 Years of the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Company
In honor of the 1888 founding of the Zanerian School of Penmanship, Special Collections will present an exhibit titled Penmen, Artists, and Educators: 125 Years of the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Company. The exhibit will focus on the Company from its beginnings as a penmanship school in Columbus, Ohio in 1888 through the middle of the 20th century. The exhibit will also include some material from the latter 20th and early 21st centuries.
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 Inc, 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. However, during the 20th century Zaner-Bloser concentrated on the education market providing manuals, teaching aids, and other materials for the elementary school market.
Previous exhibits from this collection have focused on some of the more spectacular pen flourishings and examples of calligraphy. This exhibit will feature the educational and classroom focus that Zaner-Bloser has relied upon to survive as the premier penmanship educational publisher of the 21st century.
The exhibit will include a selection of penmanship manuals and periodicals from both Zaner-Bloser, photographs of penmanship instruction from the early 20th century onwards, penmanship teaching aids, a variety of pens created by the company, and examples of fine penmanship and pen flourishing.
The exhibit will run February 11 through April 14. For more information contact Michael Knies at 941-6341 or Michael.Knies@Scranton.edu. The exhibit will open in tandem with the American Hands exhibit and a reception will be held on Wednesday, February 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the Heritage Room. The reception is free and open to the public.
American Hands is a visual celebration of those individuals who keep alive the traditional functional crafts that built our dynamically diverse culture. It is a narrative, not only about who we are, but who and what we were, how our society developed, one person, one skill at a time, and what it means to us, now and into the future.
In this ongoing project, Sally is creating narrative photographic portraits of people who use their hands in traditional ways, making functional objects that are, today, typically done by machines, if at all. She spends considerable time in a wide variety of artisans' workshops - including a spinner, weaver, blacksmith, glassblower, rug-maker and many others - returning over the months and years, to follow the various stages of their creations. Sally also spends hundreds of hours in her studio, interpreting, crafting, printing and mounting/framing each individual picture.
Sally welcomes suggestions of additional artisans to feature in this ongoing project, as well as invitations to speak or exhibit (www.AmHands.com/Contact ). Please remember that her focus is on those who are involved in those functional skills that were once called "trades."
To learn more about the project, visit www.AmHands.com, "like" American Hands on Facebook, watch the videos on the American Hands YouTube Channel and/or view the free American Hands Newsletter.
To make a tax-deductible donation to American Hands so that Sally may continue to share the pictures and stories of traditional American tradespeople in free-to-the-public lectures and exhibits, please go to the American Hands NYFA/Artspire page . (All contributions are managed by the New York Foundation for the Arts.)
"Every once in a while, great artists are able to transcend...
Sally's vision is grand.. [and]...reflected in the warmth she portrays
in the people she photographs and the world she captures...."
President of SIR Communications & former Editor of "Modern Photography"
Click here to view our past exhibits.