Notes: A very scarce and curious US Spanish-language imprint, with three holdings in OCLC (AAS, Columbia, and Newbery); the Biblioteca de Catalunya has another.
George Washington Halsey spent three years in Cuba in the 1830s teaching handwriting and drawing. This book grew out of that experience and his belief that the American style of writing was superior to other styles current in the 1830s. The first plate is a reproduction of a handwritten introduction by George Halsey, datelined Havana, 1838. In this work are engraved plates of cursive, calligraphy, and various type-influenced handwriting styles. Several plates are dedicated to decorative drawings.
About Halsey, not much is known. However, both George and his brother, John, had three passions: handwriting, photography, and Spanish-speaking countries. George introduced the Daguerreotype to Cuba, in 1841 and took the first photograph on the island. John taught handwriting in Mexico and imported the first Daguerreotype equipment to that country about the same time.
This book on handwriting, while not well represented in bibliographies on the subject, went through three editions. In addition to this 1838 New York edition, there was an 1840 Portuguese translation, and an edition in Spain in 1867. The brothers published several other books on the art of writing in both Spanish and Portuguese.
ix, 14 pages plus 35 engraved plates by T. F. Murray after Halsey.
The title translates as: The universal calligrapher. An original work: Containing the art of writing, as taught in England and the United States: as well as a variety of new drawings and flourishes. The whole is explained in printed rules, and in such simple directions, that the different styles of lettering can be learned without the need of any instructor. In this work is also added a full revelation of the methods (hitherto hidden) that teach how to execute, with the pen, the different historiated characters, and all kinds of ribbons and flourishes in general.
Edition + Condition: First edition. A very good copy, with some cracking to the outer joints at the spine. The calligraphy plates are printed on rather poor-quality paper and have tanned considerably, making the contrast between the handwriting samples and the paper rather slight.
Publication: New York: George W. Halsey & Brothers (printed by Spinning & Hodges), 1838.
Item No: #361640