Sunday, January 17, 2010

Penmanship and Letter Writing by a Papermaker

I was digging around the Crane archives the other day with Jane Bower from the Wenham (Mass.) Museum. The Museum is hosting an exhibition: Paper Capers: Adventures in Paper Art from Feb. 9 to May 5. I was happy to loan them some really fun items, so put it on your calendar as a must-see.

One of the items lent is a letter written by Zenas Marshall Crane to his future bride Caroline Laflin of nearby Lee, Mass., which was to become the nation's leading papermaking town later in the 19th century. The Laflins were a prominent family in Lee, first as gunpowder manufacturers, then the more reasonable papermaking.

I have long contested that "awkward" penmanship should not be an excuse to avoid putting pen to paper. And I've long advocated being responsible with the amount of paper we use, especially because we tend to print everything that appears on our computer screen.

So, with that as context, here is one of scores of letters from Zenas Marshall Crane to Caroline Laflin during their two-year courtship on paper.

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