Guided Exhibition Tour

Join us for a guided tour of "A Show of Hands: Handwriting in the Age of Print." Learn about how handwriting has evolved in response to new technology like the printing press, the typewriter, and the Internet.

Inside a large letter "O" is a portrait of a woman. Also on the page are hand-drawn doodles of fish, angels, and cherubs.

Will Oldham's "The young man's delight and his accomplishments, a copy booke." 1677. Call number: Wing MS folio ZW 645 .0643

We'll meet in the Newberry lobby and then make our way into the galleries for a closer look at our current exhibition, A Show of Hands: Handwriting in the Age of Print.

About "A Show of Hands"

For centuries, handwriting served as a powerful tool for communicating information, preserving knowledge, shaping identity, and building empires. In our digital world, however, fewer and fewer people can read handwritten words.

Handwriting has survived disruptive technologies before. The invention of printing did not diminish the need for handwriting. Instead, it created new markets for ambitious printers and entrepreneurial writing teachers. These men and women used advances in print technologies to widen the influence of handwriting in everyday life.

A Show of Hands focuses on people, cultures, and technology to illustrate how handwriting has been taught, reproduced, and reimagined over the past 500 years. Displaying a range of books and manuscripts from the Newberry’s collection, the exhibition makes the role of handwriting in the age of print newly legible.

A Show of Hands is generously supported by the Richard C. von Hess Foundation, the Fitzgerald Family Foundation, and Diane and Richard Weinberg.

Calligraphy book by Matthieu Le Febvre, ca. 1600. Call number: VAULT Wing MS 239

Calligraphy book by Esther Ingliss, 1606. Call number: Wing MS miniature ZW 645 .K29

A signed handwritten letter by Michelangelo, from February 1545. Call number: VAULT Case Wing MS ZW 535 .B943

Specimen book by writing master Marie Pavie, ca. 1600. Call number: Wing ZW 639 .P283

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