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Reviews Of Books About Pen Writing And Pen Related Topics?



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I hope this is the appropriate forum for this posting. There do not seem to be reviews of books not directly related to pen and pen history but about other pen related topics. So I thought I’d start one and see if anyone else has books that they would recommend. If anyone has books related to correspondence, pen art, handwriting etc. perhaps you could add them.

The book I will start with is More than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art by Liza Kirwin. Illustrations in the letters were often done with the same pen, dip end in the 1800’s and fountain pens in the later letters. Frida Kahlo apologizes for a letter written in pencil, she can’t find fountain pen and ink. If you ever wondered what Winslow Homer’s, Andy Warhol’s, Dale Chihuly’s, or Marcel Duchamp’s handwriting looked like this book shows examples. Each letter represented shows how the artist integrated their correspondence with a drawing or sketch.

Are there any other books out there that somebody would like to recommend?

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The only one I've read thoroughly is Writing History: 150 Years of the A.T. Cross Company, by Barbara Lambert. If you're interested in a detailed history of the Cross Company, its manufacturing processes, its key personnel, its financial maneuverings, and so on, through about 1996, this is the book for you. If you're looking for a catalog of Cross pens over the years, it's largely useless, though you could assemble a fairly decent starting list from the various pictures used to illustrate the book. Generally speaking I think the book was written for company executives and to sit on coffee tables in the company's waiting rooms, rather than for the general reader or hobbyist.

MrThoth

Scribe, Master of Mystic Lore, Young Curmudgeon

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Personally, as long as I'm in this pen and ink game I like to read about all aspects of it.

The last one I got from Amazon was "The Social Life of Ink". I have no social life whatever but I'm glad something else does

I've gotten some very good (condition) books from Pendemonium. Very eclectic but I've never had a problem with any I've ordered.

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And what was The Social Life of Ink about?

 

Another book I've recently read was 84 Charring Cross Road which chronicled the correspondence between a New York writer and a antiquarian book store in London. It basically looked at the changing relationship from being businesslike to the developing friendships and relationships. Unfortunately it didn't show the handwriting. It was an enjoyable read.

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A book I have, "War Letters" by Andrew Carroll Has a collection of letters from the Civil War thru to The Vietnam war, which has some revealing personal letters. The majority of them have been copied in type from the original. It is recommended reading because they give a personal insight from first hand experiences, not the detached one from an historian.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick

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This is a great topic, hopefully more recommendations will follow. Unfortunately I have nothing to recommend at the moment.

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The Letters of Michelangelo by E H Ramsden. This book is a compilation of the artists letters, which gives an insight of the artists life and character. It comes in two volumes.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick

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inkstainedruth

I can think of two: one is _The Missing Ink_ by Philip Hensher; and the other is one I'm currently reading, _On Paper_ by Nicholas A Basbanes.

Both are eminently readable, and are fascinating in their breadth and depth.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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  • 8 months later...
domnortheast

The Pen and the People by Susan E. Whyman - an interesting look at the development and use of handwriting and epistolary practice among everyday people between 1660 to 1880. It is a little dry in places and tends to read like a thesis (which it may have been originally) but very informative and makes you appreciate that people, and not just rich and famous people, have been corresponding for an awful long time, teaching themselves and their fellows to read and write much the same way that many people are self-taught in their use of computer technology today.

 

Writing Implements and Accessories by Joyce Irene Whalley - published in 1975 this book looks at pen and writing equipment collecting in an age before the rise of personal computing. Interestingly it is charting the decline in the use of hand writing equipment under pressure from typewriters and such then.

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  • 4 years later...

The only one I've read thoroughly is Writing History: 150 Years of the A.T. Cross Company, by Barbara Lambert. If you're interested in a detailed history of the Cross Company, its manufacturing processes, its key personnel, its financial maneuverings, and so on, through about 1996, this is the book for you. If you're looking for a catalog of Cross pens over the years, it's largely useless, though you could assemble a fairly decent starting list from the various pictures used to illustrate the book. Generally speaking I think the book was written for company executives and to sit on coffee tables in the company's waiting rooms, rather than for the general reader or hobbyist.

MrThoth,

Is there a book you know of that stands out for its coverage of Cross pens over the years including pre-war fountain pens?

Thank you!

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