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John A. Parke penmanship exercise book


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

John Andrew Parke signed his name at the top of the first page of his exercise book and continued to sign his name throughout the volume. He dated two entries to January 1845 and one to 1846. Parke repeatedly copied out the words “Strasburg Academy,” suggesting he was a student. Strasburg Academy was founded in 1839 in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, and took in male boarding and day students from all over the country. Parke also wrote “West Fallowfield” on the last page of his book, the name of a town about 25 miles away from Strasburg in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Federal census records identify a John Andrew Parke born in 1827 living in West Fallowfield in 1850. The name “Mary Parke” also appears in this volume; the 1850 census places her in the same West Fallowfield household.

In this book, Parke practices a style of handwriting known as German Text. German Text was developed in the early eighteenth century by British writing masters and is a stylized version of the German blackletter style known as


Henning, William E. and Paul Melzer. An Elegant Hand: The Golden Age of Penmanship and Calligraphy. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2002.Strasburg History website, “Strasburg—A Town of Trains and Heritage” (accessed October 17, 2016) 1850 Federal Census (accessed via October 17, 2016)Information derived from the collection.

John A. (John Andrew) Parke, likely a student in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, kept this penmanship exercise book between 1845 and 1846. Parke used the book to practice his handwriting in German Text.

Parke’s exercises emphasized repetition. He repeatedly copied out the alphabet, words (such as “Emancipate,” “Insinuation,” and “Latitude”), phrases, and his own name. In addition to these more formal exercises, Parke occasionally added detailed ornamentation to a single word.

This volume consists of fourteen leaves bound in brown wrappers. There are traces of blue ink on the front cover, but the only legible word is “smile.” The exercises are handwritten in both blue and black ink.

Item 0186: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Gift of Burton A. Abrams, April 2016.

Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, January 2017.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2017 January 11
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce isrequired from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

John A. Parke penmanship exercise book, 1845-1846.
Item 0186
Physical Description

1 volume

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