Author Topic: A little Duntonian Anyone?  (Read 8056 times)

Offline AnasaziWrites

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A little Duntonian Anyone?
« on: July 10, 2014, 06:44:21 PM »
Hi everyone,

I always found it interesting that what we call Spencerian today might well be called Duntonian, were it not for the vigorous marketing efforts of Platt Rogers Spencer's sons in spreading their father's method of writing across the country. Although A. R. Dunton was a contemporary of Spencer and outlived him by decades, was a superior penman, and also wrote teaching manuals and taught as well, and published his method of writing well before P. R. Spencer, Dunton remains much less known and the credit for "inventing" this style of writing is given to Spencer. Oh, the power of marketing.

For those who may not know A. R. Dunton, I'm attaching a bio from Vol. 1 of Michael Sull's superb book Spencerian Script and Ornamental Penmanship (do get a copy if you can find one).

Following the bio, I'm attaching a scan of one of Dunton's business cards (I was lucky to buy on eBay about 10 years ago). The card is about 4 1/2 by 2 inches. This is not engraved--to say it was engraved would probably make Dunton whirl in his grave--but rather done with a pen, probably a quill he sharpened himself. The x-height on the smallest words--Summer and Residence--is about 1/32nd of an inch, and his hairlines the finest I've ever seen. Just incredible.
(If anyone has another original example, please post a scan of it here, if you will, I'd love to see more of his work)









« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 06:47:47 PM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline AmyNeub

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 07:17:00 PM »
Wow, thanks for sharing. Sounds like another Edison vs. Tesla.

I started learning Duntonian then.

Offline AndyT

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 08:36:04 PM »
Very interesting, thank you.

It reminds me of how Lewis Edson Waterman invented the fountain pen all on his own, and nobody else had ever thought of anything like it ... or so the story goes.

Offline Brush My Fennec

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2014, 08:51:15 PM »
Thanks for the scan of Dunton's card. It is a real masterpiece of calligraphy, the smooth and accurate turns and shades are a real treat to see.

Page 101 of "An Elegant Hand" has a letter written by Alvin R. Dunton in 1884. He mentions in it finishing the diploma season, having written the names of 2100 pupils, in German Text, in 10 days.

William E. Dennis worked for Dunton for a time and learnt much from him.

There are two engraved sheets of penmanship instruction by Dunton, from 1858/9 here :

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/AMALL:@field%[email protected]%28rbpe+0640100a%29%29

The hi-res .tiffs' are best. What is esp. interesting about those examples is that they show an evolutionary stage in the development of semi-angular writing (and Dunton's writing) in the United States because if you look at the capitals they're sort of halfway between Roundhand ones and later semi-angular ones, so T for example has the capital stem, but the A doesn't and nor does the B. The M and N have two shades too.



Dunton's business card uses the later styles of capitals which were popular in the 1870s, the A esp. so I suspect the business card was probably done in the late 1860s or 1870s.

Also, if you compare the lower case letters on the card to the lower case on his 1859 work, the business card letters have much more angular turns and the 1859 engraved ones are more rounded, which again was a feature of earlier semi-angular script.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 08:53:26 PM by Brush My Fennec »

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2014, 09:17:37 PM »
The hi-res .tiffs' are best. What is esp. interesting about those examples is that they show an evolutionary stage in the development of semi-angular writing (and Dunton's writing) in the United States because if you look at the capitals they're sort of halfway between Roundhand ones and later semi-angular ones, so T for example has the capital stem, but the A doesn't and nor does the B. The M and N have two shades too.



Dunton's business card uses the later styles of capitals which were popular in the 1870s, the A esp. so I suspect the business card was probably done in the late 1860s or 1870s.

Also, if you compare the lower case letters on the card to the lower case on his 1859 work, the business card letters have much more angular turns and the 1859 engraved ones are more rounded, which again was a feature of earlier semi-angular script.
Very astute observations.
Thanks very much for the link

Mike

Offline Estefa

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2014, 03:36:58 AM »
Very impressive and interesting!!
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Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2014, 04:40:19 AM »
That's really cool and good to know.
Natascha
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Offline schin

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2014, 01:02:24 PM »
It's gorgeous!!! I find that his flow is smoother than PR Spencer.. (omg don't tell anyone I said that). Amazing that it was written with a quill (I suspect?)..
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Offline Milonguera

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2014, 05:15:47 PM »
My Dear Talented and Academic Friends,

Do any of you have an idea of what the general public's handwriting looked like before the masters and salesmen of these beautiful styles came along?  I'm just curious how this came about and why.  Or were they simply teaching tools and people had to devise ways to sell their books?  To compare, what from today might people 200 years from now look back on with the same enthusiasm as we do penmanship?  I'm pretty much a "form follows function" sort, so I assume there was a need. 

I really like some of these letter forms, Mike.  Thanks for sharing. 
Debbie

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2014, 11:00:36 PM »
Fascinating! And Camden, Maine is one of my favorite places!  :) Great share. Thank you!
Truly, Erica
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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2014, 10:19:10 AM »
Fascinating! And Camden, Maine is one of my favorite places!  :) Great share. Thank you!
Just curious--how do you know Camden, Maine? It's a bit out of the way from Florida.
(my excuse--I lived on Peaks Island for 4 1/2 years in the '80's)

Here's a view from my porch overlooking Casco Bay and the Portland skyline:


Offline June P

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2016, 09:49:35 AM »
The Alvin R. Dunton card is a treasure ~ thank you for sharing that!

Link to The Payson, Dunton & Scribner Manual of Penmanship
by A. R. Dunton

https://archive.org/details/paysonduntonscri00paysrich
See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! Galatians 6:11

Offline Tasmith

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2016, 03:45:42 PM »
Awesome!

Thank you for sharing!

Offline Estrella

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2016, 03:09:19 PM »
Thank you for sharing! This is beautiful!

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: A little Duntonian Anyone?
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2016, 01:31:21 PM »

Link to The Payson, Dunton & Scribner Manual of Penmanship
by A. R. Dunton

https://archive.org/details/paysonduntonscri00paysrich
Just to clear up an often confused point--the Dunton in Payson, Dunton & Scribner is Seldom Dunton, not A. R. Dunton.

A. R. Dunton's manuals were entitled The Original Duntonian System of Rapid Writing.