Author Topic: Benjamin Eakins -- Early American Penman  (Read 165 times)

Offline JohnK

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Benjamin Eakins -- Early American Penman
« on: June 17, 2019, 07:34:02 PM »
I was recently reading a book on the important American artist Thomas Eakins.  I was interested to learn that his father was also artistically inclined, and a teacher of penmanship.

Here is a quote from the book, Eakins Watercolors, by Donelson F. Hoopes:

Thomas Eakins was born in Philadelphia in 1844.  His family derived from a working class background of farmers and craftsmen.  His father, Benjamin Eakins, earned a modest living by teaching handwriting --"penmanship," as it was termed -- in the fashionable private schools of the city.  In a time when the manual arts were still flourishing, "Master" Benjamin supplemented his income by engrossing documents and presentation testimonials with his elegant steel-pen script.  Son and father had a close personal relationship ...

Often it does happen that an artistic parent contributes to the development of an artistic child, and this appears to have been a formative influence for Thomas Eakins.

Does anyone know of other references to his father, the penman Benjamin Eakins?

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Benjamin Eakins -- Early American Penman
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2019, 02:32:59 PM »
Interesting. Just a quick tip-toe through the newspapers I found two instances of him working with a William Fife teaching penmanship.

The first is from 1838, the second from 1841.

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Offline JohnK

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Re: Benjamin Eakins -- Early American Penman
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2019, 05:05:43 PM »
Thanks @AAAndrew, that is fascinating information!