As part of my always on-going interest in things like early writing technologies and teaching, I’m posting this article from the Cheboygan Tribune, “I was taught the Palmer Method, but mostly faked it,” a reminiscence about learning how to write way back when by Bruce Callander. The most interesting part of the article for me is Callander’s description of how Palmer came to be so popular in the early 20th century:
Palmer was good at fancy writing, which included drawing birds and leaping deer along with the letters. As a school teacher, however, he developed a less-complicated method of writing that retained the free-flowing letters but not all the embellishments. His basic idea was that you should use your whole arm, not just the fingers.
If he had stuck to teaching, things would have been easier for the rest of us, but he began to write out his lessons and publish them. By 1912, he was selling a million copies of the course per year. By the time he died in 1927, some 25 million Americans had learned to write by the Palmer Method. I was not one of them because, at that date, I was only 3 years old, but, along with thousands of other youngsters, I was soon to be exposed to his approach.
Thank goodness I type….