This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
General drill by the class on small letters and capitals. Review by the teacher of the capital stem on the blackboard and the making of all capitals in which it occurs. Examination by teacher of writing books. General remarks on punctuation, showing the importance of being able to punctuate correctly; followed by making each punctuation mark on the board, its use being explained by sentences written. Each student should give careful attention to all blackboard illustrations. Different sentences should be written, and the various members of the class required to punctuate the same, if possible, correctly. Intermission. Continued drill in penmanship. Special explanation of the capital letter O on the blackboard, showing faults liable to be made; that the height of the O, correctly formed, is twice its width, is made of a perfect curve, with parallel lines, only one down mark shaded. The teacher will then, on the board, make the capitals in which the same is found. Twenty minutes' practice by the class, applying the principle. Rest occasionally by the class, in which the teacher further illustrates exercises in punctuation.
Drill in penmanship, the teacher yet watching and exposing every fault to be seen in sitting and holding the pen; also any marked fault in penmanship; calling, however, no names of pupils that may be at fault. Blackboard illustration, showing the principle found in the upper part of Q, W, etc. Capitals made in which it occurs. Careful drill by pupils on this exercise. Criticism of writing in each book by the teacher. General remarks by the teacher on the use of capital letters, followed by illustrations on the board showing where capitals should be used. Steady practice in penmanship by the class, the pupils being cautioned to write with the utmost care, making it a point to write every letter perfectly, no matter how long it may take to execute the same, remembering that practice will bring rapid writing, but care alone, and attention to principles, will bring perfect penmanship. Brief drill by the class in off-hand penmanship, from copies on the board; wrist free from the desk, and forearm resting lightly on the desk. The teacher should remind the pupil of the importance of always holding the paper with the left hand, and having now nearly completed the seventh lesson, what is yet the fault with any member of the class ? Students should ask themselves, "What lack I yet in my penmanship?" Intermission. Continued practice by the class. The pupils may rest while the teacher writes several sentences upon the board without capitals, the members of the class suggesting where capitals belong, and also being required to punctuate. Several words may be given for the students to practice next day, the student presenting the best specimen of the same, at the next lesson, to receive honorable mention.
Penmanship drill in the writing book. Blackboard illustration, showing any fault yet discovered by the teacher. General remarks on the importance of good penmanship, pecuniarily and intellectually, calculated to inspire the class with a due appreciation of their work. Students can generally write during the time the teacher is talking, except during blackboard illustration. The teacher will now give general remarks on the writing of business forms, concerning the value and use of promissory notes, bills, receipts, orders, checks, drafts, etc., following by writing a promissory note upon the board, accompanying the same by an explanation of the form in which a note should be written to draw six per cent., ten per cent., no per cent., etc. If sold to another person, how it should be endorsed, etc. After writing one hour, at each lesson, should follow Intermission. Continued practice in penmanship in the writing. Write one copy to the page, a plain hand, and never anything but what is found in the copy. It is a great mistake to practice many styles of penmanship. In so doing the ordinary pupil becomes proficient in none. Blackboard illustrations, during this lesson, on writing orders, receipts, bills, etc., requiring students to capitalize and punctuate the same. The teacher should urge, at the close of the lesson, the great importance of practice between lessons during the remainder of the term. To whom shall the premiums be given? That will greatly depend upon the practice out of the school-room.
Require every student to write one page in the writing book with the greatest care. The teacher should examine every book. What faults yet remain? Illustrate them on the board. More practice in the writing books. General remarks by the teacher on superscriptions, followed by illustrations on the blackboard. Illustrate why and where to place name on the envelope, together with name of town, county, state; where to place postage stamp, how to write straight. Illustrate and explain all the various titles used in addressing Kings, Queens, Presidents, Members of Congress, Governors, Judges, Lawyers, Physicians, Clergymen, Professors, etc., etc. Intermission. On a separate slip of paper the students may then each write the superscription they would use were they to address any official, military, or professional man. Continued practice in the writing book, the lesson closing by the teacher requesting each pupil to bring five sheets of note paper and five envelopes for practice in letter writing at the next lesson.
Twenty minutes'practice in writing books until all the members of the class have assembled. General remarks by the teacher on the subject of letter writing and commercial correspondence, explaining the various kinds of letters for different purposes, size of paper and envelopes required for each, and all the essentials necessary to writing any kind of a letter well. The teacher will then write a brief friendship letter upon the board, explaining where and how to write the dating, the complimentary address, body of the letter, complimentary closing, signature, division of subjects into paragraphs, etc. The students should criticise the letter with reference to punctuation and capital letters, and when the subject is thoroughly understood by the class, let each pupil copy the letter from the board; the teacher in the meantime passing to the desk of each pupil, criticising and making suggestions to pupils that may require assistance. See that all copy the letter. This exercise is invaluable, and every student should be required, if possible, to master it. This lesson, well conducted by the teacher, will give each member of the class information that is worth vastly more than the cost of his tuition for the entire term. Intermission. Each member of the class should copy the letter once more. With all the corrections and suggestions that have now been made, many of the class will write the exercise very well. The letter finished, write superscription on envelope, the pupils writing such address as they may choose. At the close of the lesson, the students may take with them their envelopes and letter paper, for practice on the morrow, and the pupil that will present the most correctly and beautifully written letter, at the eleventh lesson, shall be awarded a premium of such character as the teacher may select. This will induce a great deal of practice in the next twenty-four hours in letter writing, and will be very beneficial to the class.