Horace W. Shaylor: Portland Penman

Shaylor drawing for teaching illustration, 1876

Shaylor drawing for teaching illustration, 1876

Illustration by Horace W. Shaylor, one of a series of copies used for personal illustration practice.

Item Contributed by
Maine Historical Society

Text by Sarah Weirich

Images from Maine Historical Society

The evolution of handwriting dates back to the fourth millennium B.C. Then, the Sumerians developed cuneiform as a means of nonverbal communication.

Writing developed from a picture-based language to today's sound-based words, first implemented by the Phoenicians in the first millennium B.C. Handwriting also advanced with developments in both tools and styles.

One Maine resident decided he would update the ever-changing system of writing by creating the "Shaylor System."

Horace W. Shaylor, a late 19th century penman lived in an era of handwriting. He was a man who stressed the importance of beautiful, legible script. He was a teacher, publisher, artist, and father. His multifaceted talents were reflected in his own personal writing system.

The Shaylor System was taught throughout the country, with Shaylor himself teaching it to the Portland public schools. His life's work improved the writing of an innumerable people.

Sarah Weirich of Freeport is a member of the 2013 class at St. Mary's College of Maryland. She majored in Art History and minored in Museum Studies.