Happiness is Good Handwriting!


As I have mentioned before I have something of an obsession with handwriting. As an obsessive maker of notes in an age that is witnessing a rapid decline in handwriting, I was fascinated and somewhat amused to discover T. Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms from 1888. Hill extolled the virtues of good penmanship, specifically with regards to one’s happiness, career and intellect! I think there still more than a grain of truth within his pearls of wisdom.

Why have good handwriting?

“Because, 1st.  Good penmanship of itself adds greatly to our happiness.  The consciousness to the lady or gentleman of being able to write a letter that shall win the admiration and praise of the friend to whom it is written is a source of unspeakable pleasure to the writer, and to possess this ability throughout our lifetime is to be proficient in an accomplishment which adds to our happiness, as does excellence in oratory, painting or music.  Good writing is a fine art, and is to the eye what good language is to the ear.”

2nd.  Good writing is of great benefit to us pecuniarily. The person who may apply for a situation as teacher, clerk, or any position where intellectual ability is required, finds a beautifully written letter the best recommendation that can be sent  when applying for that position. Hundreds of instances are on record, many doubtless within the knowledge of the reader, where lucrative situations have been obtained through good penmanship, that could never have been secured had the applicant not had a good handwriting.”

And, 3rd. A mastery of the art of writing is of great service to us intellectually. Persons who can write well, taking pleasure in the practice, will write more than they otherwise would. Every time they write a word they spell it, and thus improve in spelling. Every time a sentence is written, an application is made of grammar; and thus knowledge is obtained of  how to speak correctly. The subject they write about, they become familiar with ; and thus, in the act of writing, they are intellectually improved. The most intelligent and influential in any community are those  who can express thought most easily and correctly on paper.”

T.E. Hill
—Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms. (1888)

Hill's Manual.
Hill’s Manual.