About Motoscribendi

Nicholas Yeager is a rare books librarian/historian of the book, scribe and motorcyclist.

The “Motoscribendi” blog follows his travels to various institutions across the US,  as he researches a variety of writing manuals and copybooks dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

While many of these rare items are cataloged and can be found on WorldCat, it is not always easy to discover what an institution’s holdings are. Cataloging conventions are not universal. Where one institution will have a subject heading of “calligraphy” another will use “penmanship” and still another will use “writing manual.” By traveling in person to specific collections, Yeager aims to seek out manuals of interest in order to create an online database to aid scholars and students in accessing these materials.

Motoscribendi serves as a travelogue of Yeager’s three month journey across the US. Interviews with special collections librarians at Newberry Library and Columbia’s Plimpton Collection, rare book conservators, and practitioners of the book arts (among others) will all make appearances.

Come along for the ride into the specialized world of the history of modern writing instruction, letter design and the people engaged in book arts universe.

Cresci @ Harry Ransom Center
Cresci @ Harry Ransom Center
Stroke sequence in the Bancroft Library's 1588 Palatino
Stroke sequence in the Bancroft Library’s 1588 Palatino
Two editions of Palatino @ Letterform Archive
Two editions of Palatino @ Letterform Archive

I invite you to correspond with me about your discoveries and knowledge about writing manuals.

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Libraries, Calligraphy Manuals and Motorcycles

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