Monday, February 20, 2017

Library Hand

Have you ever heard of "Library Hand", the uniform style of handwriting used in card catalogues?
I just learned of it this weekend in the amazing Atlas Obscura, a website of all things wild and wonderful. 

It was created in the 1880's before typewriters became a common office machine. Handwriting at that time was full of flourishes and swoops, and totally unsuitable for a library's card catalogue. 

After much discussion, a hand which featured “a slight back-hand, with regular round letters apart from each other, and not shaded” was selected as the standard for cards. The emphasis was on legibility and not haste, so hand-writing out the cards took an incredible amount of time. 

In MedChi's card catalogue, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of hand-written cards, including many in Marcia Noyes' handwriting which looks very similar to library hand! 
It's always fun to find something new. Here's the link to the original Atlas Obscura article.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Meg, It's a good thing that I never had to hand-write any library cards. My handwriting would have spelled an end to all research and scholarship.