Business Penmanship in the early 1900s

When I first attempted to write Gregg shorthand outlines, I realized I didn’t have the same longhand proportions and principles in my 1950s Zaner-Bloser cursive as the business longhand which gave the movement and form Dr. Gregg used in the outlines.

In the book on penmanship which he wrote, with Mary Champion, Dr. Gregg states:

“Form is a result of movement.”

I took the time to learn E. C. Mills’s 1903 book, Modern Business Penmanship.

Having done that, the flow, forms, and energy of the Gregg outlines now make sense to my hand.

Here is a link to Mr. Mills’s book.

The website: IAMPETH has books and lessons on many kinds of penmanship.  The sections on lessons, and rare books, will have other sources for cursive, and for business penmanship.  (International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting.)

The Online Book page at the University of Pennsylvania has many more books:

Here is Miss Champion’s book on Business Writing .  The book she and Dr. Gregg wrote together was published a few years after her own book.


I found it helped me immeasurably to have, in my head, heart, and hand the handwriting which came just after Duntonian and Spencerian script, and before the modern business penmanship was simplified.

Many other penmanship books helped me, too.  The writing style of E. C. Mills appealed to me the most.


I hope this helps someone who would like to have their longhand and shorthand be as closely related as possible.


Best wishes to all.  🙂




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  1. In the December 1918 edition of The Key, a companion periodical to The Gregg Writer, there are two excellent articles on the relationship of good business longhand penmanship and good shorthand penmanship. (The link to that "Key" begins with the September issue on the pdf.)


    The first article is the lead article of that edition, “The Influence of Good Penmanship on the Writing of Shorthand”, by Freeman P. Taylor.  It is the text of “An address to the Second Annual Convention of the Eastern Gregg Shorthand Association, New York City, 1915”.

    The next article is “Discussion” by Catherine A. Miller.

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