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.
To practice penmanship to advantage, unaided by the teacher, students should provide themselves with necessary materials, as detailed elsewhere.
For the purpose of making steady progress in the acquisition of an elegant,plain penmanship, the student will be assisted by copying choice gems of poetry or prose, first writing each exercise on a separate slip of paper and afterwards transcribing the same in a book kept for the purpose. In the writing of original compositions and letters, each exercise should be copied as long as the student is desirous of improving in penmanship; the copy being always a great improvement upon the original, not only in penmanship, but in spelling, grammar, use of capital letters, and composition.
Writers should not rest satisfied until they have absolutely mastered a plain, rapid, and elegant penmanship. The art, being almost purely mechanical, is more easily acquired by some than others; but every person from eight years of age upwards, until the body becomes tremulous with age, having ordinary command of the hand, who will persevere in the attempt, can write a legible, easy penmanship.
Among the benefits arising from a good handwriting, some are shown in the following
Reasons why we should write well.
Because, 1st. Good penmanship of itself adds greatly to our happiness. The consciousness to the lady or gentleman of being able to write a letter that shall win the admiration and praise of the friend to whom it is written is a source of unspeakable pleasure to the writer, and to possess this ability throughout our lifetime is to be proficient in an accomplishment which adds to our happiness, as does excellence in oratory, painting or music. Good writing is a fine art, and is to the eye what good language is to the ear.
2nd. Good writing is of great benefit to us pecuniarily. The person who may apply for a situation as teacher, clerk, or any position where intellectual ability is required, finds a beautifully written letter the best recommendation that can be sent when applying for that position. Hundreds of instances are on record, many doubtless within the knowledge of the reader, where lucrative situations have been obtained through good penmanship, that could never have been secured had the applicant not had a good handwriting.
And, 3rd. A mastery of the art of writing is of great service to us intellectually. Persons who can write well, taking pleasure in the practice, will write more than they otherwise would. Every time they write a word they spell it, and thus improve in spelling. Every time a sentence is written, an application is made of grammar; and thus knowledge is obtained of how to speak correctly. The subject they write about, they become familiar with; and thus, in the act of writing, they are intellectually improved. The most intelligent and influential in any community are those who can express thought most easily and correctly on paper.