Charles Paxton Zaner

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Charles Paxton Zaner
BornFebruary 15, 1864
DiedDecember 1, 1918(1918-12-01) (aged 54)
Mifflin, Ohio, United States
OccupationMaster Penman and Educator
Known forBusiness and Ornamental Penmanship, Editor, Education
Charles Paxton Zaner 1910 signature.png

Charles Paxton Zaner (February 15, 1864 – December 1, 1918) was an American calligrapher, pen artist, and teacher of penmanship.

Zaner was born near Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. He attended G. W. Michael's Pen Art Hall course in penmanship in Oberlin, Ohio, in 1882. By 1888, Zaner had been a teacher of penmanship at two Ohio colleges, and after the second had closed, he decided to open his own college where he could teach the art. Zaner's school was originally known as Zanerian Art College and was a joint venture with Lloyd Kelchner. In 1891, Zaner sold Elmer W. Bloser a share of the school. Kelchner left before the end of the year, resulting with Zaner and Bloser becoming equal partners. This company eventually became what is now the Zaner-Bloser Company and operated[citation needed] the Zanerian College of Penmanship in Columbus, Ohio.[1]

Zaner died on the evening of December 1, 1918, in Mifflin, Ohio, when the car in which he was riding was struck by an oncoming train.


Movement and Form[edit]

Detail from Zaner's 1896 article: The Line of Direction in Writing

Zaner examined the idea of movement creating the form of letters written in the cursive hand using the muscular arm method, prevalent in the United States from the late 19th century (e.g. Palmer Method). He considered the hinge action of the forearm as the central energy of movement and that its relation to the direction of writing, or page angle, could affect letter form and the effort required. By changing from a page angle which placed letter down strokes on a line towards the center of the body, as other educators advised, Zaner offered a means to link muscle effort with balanced (medium), condensed (compact style), or extended (running hand) letter forms[2].


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  2. ^ Zaner, C. P. (June 1896). "The Line of Direction in Writing". Penman's Art Journal. 20 (6): 114–115. Retrieved 2 February 2019.

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