Library Hand, the Fastidiously Neat Penmanship Style Made for Card Catalogs (Ella Morton/Atlas Obscura)

In 1885, with the typewriter not yet common, a team of librarians developed a uniform style of handwriting designed to maximize legibility:

Influenced by [Thomas] Edison and honed via experimenting on patient, hand-sore librarians, library hand focused on uniformity rather than beauty. “The handwriting of the old-fashioned writing master is quite as illegible as that of the most illiterate boor,” read a New York State Library School handbook. “Take great pains to have all writing uniform in size, blackness of lines, slant, spacing and forms of letters,” wrote [Melvil “Dewey Decimal System”] Dewey in 1887. And if librarians thought they could get away with just any black ink, they could think again real fast. “Inks called black vary much in color,” scoffed the New York State Library School handwriting guide.

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