It’s National Handwriting Day: January 23, 2016

Today, January 23rd, is National Handwriting Day – so named in honor of John Hancock’s birthday; an honor bestowed upon him as the first signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

When was the last time you put pen to paper? As a writer and blogger I often write out my stories on paper first and I have several notebooks full of my handwriting. Even though I write my stories on the computer for saving, I always hesitate to throw my written words away. My mother sings a different tune on writing – she would rather dig a ditch than write!

In school I loved to write and enjoyed writing my essays and book reports by hand, always trying to make my cursive writing flow neatly on the paper. I envied others who had better penmanship on their papers – to some it came so easy. Sometimes you could pick up a paper and just know immediately who wrote it, by their handwriting being so distinctive. Cursive writing seems to be exiting, like the land lines in our homes. My generation has seen so many changes – I’ll save that for another post.


I remember loving to practice writing the alphabet and learning how to connect the letters.

I find it sad that cursive writing seems to be going away in schools due to common core – they feel the time could be spent better in teaching other things; I don’t agree with that.  And if we teach our children how to write cursive at home – can the schools tell them No in writing their reports in cursive? Penmanship is an art form – look at calligraphy, it’s an art form and often used on invitations.

In connection to genealogy, how will our future historian’s read their ancestors wills and diaries! Will it look like a foreign language to them? We sign a check, credit card and other documents with our signature – how will they sign? Each individuals signature is considered unique – so what will the signatures of the future look like? Will they be printed?


I loved writing letters as a child – and enjoyed it so much that I had several pen-pals from as early as I could write until I was a teenager. My first pen-pals were 7 girls in Hawaii. I was even able to connect with one on Facebook. Later I had a few boy pen-pals in Canada and England and through my Teen Beat magazines, I wrote away for a soldier pen-pal in Vietnam; he came to visit me after he returned to the states. I have kept all their letters saved in a scrapbook – maybe one day someone will enjoy their writings to me. This makes me want to pull them out again – maybe a blog post on them in the future.

I suppose no one will will collect autographs any longer? Who will be able to even read them in the future? Celebrities usually have a distinctive cursive scribble that they sign fast – they surely won’t take the time to print their name. What would be distinctive with that? Will this make the older autographs more valuable or not?

My word processing software has a handwriting font – will that go away? Imagine reading a document in English – and you can’t – just because the words were written in cursive writing.

Well I will continue writing in cursive as I enjoy it, and if my future descendants can’t read cursive, then they’ll miss out by not being able to read my journals. I guess they will have to take a night class to learn or maybe “Siri” could scan and google the cursive words to read to them. What is this world coming to?

Click 52 Week Ancestor Challenge for family stories…

Click Friday Night Family Heirlooms to read stories…

© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco



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4 Responses to It’s National Handwriting Day: January 23, 2016

  1. Evelyn Smallwood Smith says:

    I agree. Our teachers spent a lot of time teaching us to write and I, too, thought mine was horrible. My sister has a beautiful hand, as did my mother. What on earth happened to me? I spent years trying to improve my penmanship and now arthritis has pretty much taken over and it is hopeless.
    I tried the calligraphy but never quite got the hang of it. I think it is a lovely pen.
    I remember the blackboards from grade school, having the alphabet across the top, printed in grades 1 to 4, then cursive in 5, as that is when we began learning the cursive. Haven’t seen a classroom in many a year but I’ll bet there aren’t blackboards in them anymore, much less one with the alphabet across the top. A reminder to the students of how our writing was supposed to look.
    Handwriting doesn’t seem to be important these days, shoot, it seems when people do write, they write in abbreviations. As for signatures, not many places ask for a signature anymore. Electronic, you know.
    I have bookoodles of handwritten notes and also letters I’ve saved over the years. I keep paper handy for that always needed note to jot down.
    Handwriting is supposed to be akin to fingerprints, for how long?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny you mention abbreviations – when my husband began cooking more and using my handwritten recipes, he often was stumped as to what Tb., tblspn, pot., opt., meant! LOL…. I had to give him a lesson in my abbreviations. Even on the grocery list I’ll write, he questioned what tom I wanted. I think he thought I wanted him to see Tom, not pick up tomatoes. Haha


      • Evelyn Smallwood Smith says:

        Yes, recipe abbreviations are a little different. Mine are usually T; tsp; c, so forth. I use very few on my grocery list. Heaven help me if I sent my husband to the store with an abbreviated grocery list. No telling what he’d come home with.


  2. I love to write with my hands. I journal nearly every morning in a real notebook. I also love to take notes at different places. I am so happy that I learned to write cursive when I was younger! Thank you so much this reminder!!


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