By Kaitlin Hooker, Bookmans Editorial Assistant Intern

The Follett letters make up a set of correspondence between a politician named Oran and his fiancee Eliza. The letters chronicle the year 1832, from March to October, while Oran lived in Buffalo, NY and Eliza was in Rochester, NY. The hardest part of transcribing Oran’s long messages to his beloved is the scrawling cursive handwriting. It was beautiful to look at from a distance, but nearly impossible to read up close. Not only has the English language changed since the 1800s, but cursive handwriting has as well. However, the beauty of the words is evident. We at Bookmans predict a new trend: cursive and calligraphy–the next adult coloring books!

Cursive and Calligraphy Are the New Adult Coloring Books

I can read most cursive writing but when confronted with this transcription project I was often at a loss. Many of the letters are in a different style from what I’m used to. Sometimes “2” looks like “3” and “S” looks like “P”. Unfamiliar abbreviations are made even more complicated by the fact that I couldn’t read the letters provided. Not only did this bruise my ego about my cursive-reading abilities, but it also gave me up close experience with how the cursive form has evolved. Thank goodness for our modern, simplified cursive letters.

Most modern educational systems no longer teach cursive as a matter of standard curriculum. I learned it in elementary school but was not required to use it past the 6th grade. I sign my name in cursive and often my letters run together when I’m taking notes, but that is the extent of my use. With children no longer learning cursive and the common use of electronic signatures, will people even sign their names in connected letters in the future? Print replaced cursive and word processing (especially where online publishing goes) is ever-closer to replacing print. How long until we no longer use handwriting at all?

Nostalgia will save handwriting. We see one way of preservation for this facet of language as the rise of cursive writing and calligraphy to mirror the way adult coloring books became fashionable. Handwriting possesses all the creative outlet and physical involvement and adds functionality–you can use it to meditate, to create AND to communicate! We praise adult coloring books for their role as stress-relievers. Calligraphy provides the same relief. Ergo, we can preserve cursive while starting a new trend! Let’s all practice our cursive letters!

If you’d like to get a jump start on your calligraphy hobby, come browse our art section where you’ll find plenty of inspiration, instruction books, tools of the trade. If you are interested in a particular item for your new adventure in calligraphy, give us a call. Otherwise Bookmans remains your store to explore and we hope you’ll come browse our shelves.