CBS Video: ‘A Farewell to Handwriting’

I’m typically not one for mainstream news, but I found this video to be pretty interesting. Contrary to the title, it’s not all down and bashing handwriting in the modern age, but rather it is pretty upbeat on the purpose of handwriting today. It has some interesting historical facts about handwriting too, stuff about Spencerian and Palmer methods of writing. Very interesting…..enjoy!

CBS: ‘A Farewell to Handwriting’

(sorry, their video wouldn’t embed properly, so you’ll have to go to the CBS site to view it)

2017-10-11T13:24:23+00:00 February 4th, 2011|Pen News|18 Comments
  • I love the "maybe if you are on a desert island..you'd know how to write" comment. Very important skill when you are sending your messages in a bottle đŸ™‚

  • Nathaniel

    I loved the children's responses to why handwriting is important. Nice find, Brian. Thanks for sharing. đŸ™‚

  • The one thing that seems to be missing from a lot of these types of videos/articles on the 'lost' art of handwriting is the fact that it's not practicality that's driving it anymore. It's an uphill battle trying to convince the general public that handwriting is as necessary as it used to be. What's really important is that those who do fine writing do it because they WANT to, not because they have to. It's gone from a utilitarian form to an artistic one, driven by passion and inspiration.

  • Thanks for posting this Brian! I missed it on Sunday morning and then couldn't find it for some reason at the CBS website. Their title was a little extreme but on the whole I thought they offered a fairly even overview for the time given it.

  • I was amazed to find that I could watch the video in Canada—very charming. Personally, even though I carry a computer around with me, I still take notes by hand in all my classes; not only because I'm mostly taking math classes now, and typing up a formula is much slower than writing it on paper, but also because I find that I remember it much better. I'll often do some "post-processing" of my notes, especially when reviewing for an exam: I type up my notes and revise them, essentially creating a study guide to the course in the process. Also, I just love writing too much, and the tactile response is so very worthwhile.

  • You've nailed it Brian. A few of us view handwriting as an art while most people don't see it as such and would probably prefer if they didn't have to write anything down. Hopefully it will never die out.

  • One thing that REALLY bothered me was that NO ONE showed the children in the video how to properly hold their pencils or markers. Proper grip helps the hand not become tired. I think that's a rather serious lapse.

    Something that I think also fuels the debate is the lack of manners today. Very few people send thank you notes, and many don't RSVP. It's been difficult to convince my children to send thank you notes to their grandparents, much less their father or me – and we homeschooled, which means we spent time on handwriting!! Sad.

  • When I was a kid we weren't allowed to play with our new toys/gifts until we'd written a proper thank you note to the gift-giver. I'm glad my mom insisted I learn this lesson in simple courtesy and I happily write thank you notes to this day.

  • Hangglidernerd

    I agree they should be shown proper grip but sometimes teachers pushing kids can have negative effects.
    I didn't use a proper grip and teachers tried pounding it into me for years…I have only begun trying the proper grip the past few months,and I still use my grip of 40 years for some writing…I'm 43…the Palmer method made me so very angry and frustrated that it has been only the last few months that I have written in cursive as well.
    Some students don't respond well to some teaching methods.
    When I teach Tang Soo Do I have found that I have to adjust my teaching method for each individual student…It's too bad school teachers don't really have that luxury.Administrators even try to force them into one size fits all approved curriculum.
    Good to see writing hasn't been killed off yet.

  • Thank you for sharing this.

    I find some of the comments to be head scratchers. My dad was in the military and every school across America that we attended taught penmanship. We all learned the Palmer Method in grade school. Eleven years later even the poorest (academically) student graduated high school with beautifully legible penmanship that we were all quite proud of. Practicing the PM strengthened our "writing muscles." To this day I can clearly recall how my hand cramped when we practiced, but it paid off, even in high school. Around report card time I was given the honor of writing assignments on the chalk board for teachers who were busy.

    And again, I was honored when a fellow classmate and I brought honor and distinction to our school after we placed third in the Interscholastic State Spelling League. That medal felt like gold to us and to our school. I misspelled three words and my partner misspelled two, but my penmanship is why one of the reasons I was selected to enter the spelling contest. Okay, penmanship and my grades, but still . . .

    Penmanship does reflect who we are, just as first impressions are made on how we look, dress, and speak. Caring to write legibly says a lot about a person. I used to transcribe physicians' orders. One doctor wrote so poorly that the only way the nurses and staff could understand his orders was to read them at an angle! Patients have died or been harmed because they were given the wrong medications, due to their doctor's poor handwriting.

    I think it's selfish and arrogant for anyone to write so poorly that others cannot easily understand what they've written. Writing is communicating.

  • Linda Zaner

    Imagine the scenerio: the computer was in existence before the "invention" of the pencil and paper. The new invention allowing people to actually go out under a tree in the yard to compose a letter. I think the world would be in a totally different place today had the order been reversed.

  • amble

    That was a great story. Since I've discovered fountain pens, I've made a point of writing more at work now rather than relying on just my computer. Sadly, my 14 year old son writes only in block letters. He was not taught cursive in school and has no interest in it.

  • Anonymous

    I have a desktop and a laptop but still scribble and have an embarrasing amount of note books around the house. I think the French still value stationery and writing. On my last trip Paris, there were stationery shops all over the city while in my world of the Greater Toronto Area, they are a dying breed.

  • Thank you for sharing this.

    I find some of the comments to be head scratchers. My dad was in the military and every school across America that we attended taught penmanship. We all learned the Palmer Method in grade school. Eleven years later even the poorest (academically) student graduated high school with beautifully legible penmanship that we were all quite proud of. Practicing the PM strengthened our "writing muscles." To this day I can clearly recall how my hand cramped when we practiced, but it paid off, even in high school. Around report card time I was given the honor of writing assignments on the chalk board for teachers who were busy.

    And again, I was honored when a fellow classmate and I brought honor and distinction to our school after we placed third in the Interscholastic State Spelling League. That medal felt like gold to us and to our school. I misspelled three words and my partner misspelled two, but my penmanship is why one of the reasons I was selected to enter the spelling contest. Okay, penmanship and my grades, but still . . .

    Penmanship does reflect who we are, just as first impressions are made on how we look, dress, and speak. Caring to write legibly says a lot about a person. I used to transcribe physicians' orders. One doctor wrote so poorly that the only way the nurses and staff could understand his orders was to read them at an angle! Patients have died or been harmed because they were given the wrong medications, due to their doctor's poor handwriting.

    I think it's selfish and arrogant for anyone to write so poorly that others cannot easily understand what they've written. Writing is communicating.

  • amble

    That was a great story. Since I've discovered fountain pens, I've made a point of writing more at work now rather than relying on just my computer. Sadly, my 14 year old son writes only in block letters. He was not taught cursive in school and has no interest in it.

  • Linda Zaner

    Imagine the scenerio: the computer was in existence before the "invention" of the pencil and paper. The new invention allowing people to actually go out under a tree in the yard to compose a letter. I think the world would be in a totally different place today had the order been reversed.

  • I was amazed to find that I could watch the video in Canada—very charming. Personally, even though I carry a computer around with me, I still take notes by hand in all my classes; not only because I'm mostly taking math classes now, and typing up a formula is much slower than writing it on paper, but also because I find that I remember it much better. I'll often do some "post-processing" of my notes, especially when reviewing for an exam: I type up my notes and revise them, essentially creating a study guide to the course in the process. Also, I just love writing too much, and the tactile response is so very worthwhile.

  • The one thing that seems to be missing from a lot of these types of videos/articles on the 'lost' art of handwriting is the fact that it's not practicality that's driving it anymore. It's an uphill battle trying to convince the general public that handwriting is as necessary as it used to be. What's really important is that those who do fine writing do it because they WANT to, not because they have to. It's gone from a utilitarian form to an artistic one, driven by passion and inspiration.