Read and write

If you look around you, you’ll see a pen or pencil somewhere. Almost all of us grew up reading and writing. That was different for our ancestors, around 1900 there were still many who could not write their own name…

And that was of course a problem when you were asked to sign. Several deeds between 1820 and 1920 contain the following text:

Writing at the time was not as simple as it is for us, a dip pen or quill pen had to be kept clean and the ink had to be kept sealed. It was therefore not possible to grab a ballpoint pen, it was only invented in 1938. By the way, goose feathers are still used, for example, for calligraphy.

Even if one could write, not everyone was equally adept at it, compare the following manuscripts:

Of course we have to take into account when writing had to be done, you often write differently when you have to sign a marriage, the birth of a child or as a declarant of a deceased. This meant that a handwriting could also represent a ‘feeling’, you could recognize someone’s state of mind in the writing. We’ve lost that a bit in our time when everyone is just typing…

What is also striking is that around 1900 almost everyone wrote to each other, something that is still taught in many primary schools. However, many adults no longer do that and write all characters separately. On the internet you will find quite a few discussions about whether one is better than the other, but perhaps the main thing is that you write. A nice website with many writing tips is Grammarly. For example, place a piece on this website…

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