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.
"This is a specimen of my penmanship after taking lessons in writing" each scholar signing name to specimen. Each pupil should write two samples at the commencement of the course of lessons, and two at the close, one of the first to be put with one of the last for the student to keep, showing the advancement made in a course of lessons. The other first and last will be preserved by the teacher, as a memento of the pupil, and also to show, in other localities, the amount of improvement made by students in this and preceding classes. During this lesson the teacher will give general remarks on letters of introduction, and notes of invitation and acceptance, with illustrations on the blackboard, explaining the circumstances under which they are used. Before the recess, the teacher should appoint three ladies and three gentlemen of the class to assemble at intermission, and select three disinterested persons to examine specimens of the class, to determine who shall receive premiums at the last lesson. Intermission. Every pupil should write a last specimen. Most students will be surprised to see their advancement in penmanship in the past ten lessons, though no one can actually see all the improvement that has been made, as much of the time of the class has been occupied in explanation, thus placing a knowledge of correct writing in the head. In after months of practice it will come out at the fingers. The remaining blackboard illustrations of the lesson may relate to card writing; the teacher explaining the nature of business cards, wedding cards, visiting cards, and address cards; showing how they should be written, when used, etc.
At the close of the lesson, an invitation should be extended to all the people of the neighborhood to be present at the closing exercises of the last lesson to witness the award of premiums, see the improvement of the class, etc.
Students in their seats, and continued practice in the writing books. The teacher has had all the specimens of the class, first and last of each pupil, examined by a committee chosen for that purpose, along with writing books when thought necessary, each pupil's name on the specimen being covered by a small piece of paper pasted across the same. The knowledge of who takes the premiums, however, should be entirely kept from the class until the last minute, when the same is announced, amid a breathless silence, by the teacher. All the members of the class having assembled, the teacher will review the position for sitting, holding pen, kinds of materials to use, how to preserve materials, etc. He should dwell on the importance of frequent composition and letter writing, showing that the writing term, composed as it is of but twelve lessons, cannot be expected to make the student a finished penman in that course of time. That the object of the lessons has been to teach the members of the class how to learn; that it now simply remains for the pupils to build on their knowledge of the principles. Upon the blackboard, the teacher will then review the fundamental principles over which the class has passed, showing how the principles of curves, proportion, shades, and parallel lines will give elegance and grace to the letter. A few perfect and imperfect letters should again be contrasted together for the benefit of the class, and the entertainment of the audience present, the blackboard illustrations comprising the making of birds, eagles, swans, pens, etc., showing the application of the principles in all forms, as well as letters; thus impressing upon the class the necessity of careful attention to nature's rules, in the execution of beautiful penmanship. The teacher should be provided with a small writing desk, containing every article necessary for writing. This he should open before the class, and follow by showing the use for every article contained therein, the concluding remarks on penmanship being that students should provide themselves with every material necessary for composition and letter writing, thus making their practice in the future agreeable, and hence their continued improvement certain. Adverting now to the promise made in the early part of the term, that those students should be rewarded with honorable mention and premiums who had exhibited greatest improvement and excellence the teacher will explain the course pursued in the examination of writing by the committee, and after showing that perfect impartiality has been observed, he will announce the name of the person presenting the best letter, and present premium; following with the name of the pupil having made greatest improvement, concluding with the announcement of the student that is regarded the best penman in the class, accompanying the remarks by presentation of prizes. The exercises of the lesson should close with appropriate farewell remarks.