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Jaqueline Svaren's "Written Letters," 3rd Edition


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The third edition of Jaki Svaren's classic calligraphy and paleography book has just been released. This edition is very similar to the long-out-of-print second edition with some improvements in design. It is slightly larger in format, including the handwritten text, and it is spiral-bound, so it lies flat when opened.


Many of us old folks learned from the earlier editions and treasure them. Now, this masterpiece of calligraphy history and instruction will be available to a new generation of those interested in beautiful writing through the ages. One of the best features of this book is that Jaki includes the ductus for each letter of each alphabet, along with comments about the choices one makes in forming written letters and about special techniques used.


Jaki was a student of Lloyd Reynolds at Reed College in the 1950's and has had a long and distinguished career as a professional calligrapher and calligraphy teacher.  


For your interest, here are photos of the cover, title page and table of contents. 








And here is an example of why (pun intended) I think this is such a great resource:




This book is available now through John Neal Booksellers.






Full disclosure: I have no financial interest in this product. I am a graduate of Reed College. I took a class from Lloyd Reynolds. I know Jaki Svaren socially through Reed College calligraphy events. The book was produced by the Curator and Director of the Cooley Art Gallery of Reed College, Stephanie Snyder, who is my daughter-in-law.

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  • dms525


  • Kgbenson


  • Jerome Tarshis


  • inkstainedruth


The description of the book was a pleasure and in an odd way the full disclosure was a more piquant pleasure. I have always gotten on well with Reedies, beginning with the editor who bought my first book and continuing through assorted others. David is clearly ahead of me, though. I hadn't known of Jaki Svaren's connection with Reed.

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I forget which edition I have of this (1st or 2nd) from when I took a calligraphy class my sophomore year in college.

Trying to remember where my copy is in the house....

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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On 10/3/2021 at 6:34 PM, dms525 said:

Lloyd Reynolds at Reed College in the 1950's


That name takes me back -- not being much of a student of calligraphy myself, but I grew up and went to school in Portland, and I think one of my teachers in high school (mid-60's) had been a student of his. Anyway, I heard the name often enough then. I wish I could remember which teacher it was. 

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  • 10 months later...
2 hours ago, Kgbenson said:

Is this text available somewhere?



It sure is! Finally, after about 3 years' work. Thankfully, Jaki was able to see the galley proofs of the new edition just before she passed away.


Sales are exclusively (in the U.S.) through John Neal Booksellers. Here is a link: https://www.johnnealbooks.com/product/written-letters-svaren


I have no affiliation with John Neal, but Jaki was a dear friend, and the editor/designer of the 3rd Edition is my daughter-in-law, Stephanie Snyder, Director and Curator of the Cooley Art Gallery of Reed College.


Happy writing!



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Thank you so much for the link.  I am so very sorry for your loss, it is wonderful she got to see the final form before her passing.  Keith

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