Cursive - a lost art?

Earlier this week, we watched a very well-known silent movie from 1936.  Specifically, we watched the Charlie Chaplin film, Modern Times.  At one point in the film, the warden of the local jail wrote a recommendation letter for Chaplin's character to help him find work after his release from jail.  The letter is shown on the screen a couple times, and as someone who was schooled in the 1970s and 80s, I was able to read the cursive writing in the letter quite easily.  But we had to read it aloud to my son who had resisted learning cursive in school.

Today there's a discussion on the radio program To The Best Of Our Knowledge about fonts, and as I type this, the segment I'm listening to is discussing cursive writing.  The conversation in the show noted that cursive is not taught in elementary schools as much as keyboarding (I'll still consider it an intro to typing, even if they don't teach the home row, which is another loss that I've noticed, but not quite as severely).  That got me thinking that any of these young students who are not learning cursive will have an exceptionally hard time when they start into genealogy research.  When you go back far enough in researching from original documents, and this could just be one generation of research, you'll find cursive letters. 

How long will it be before cursive basics becomes one of the most popular class topics at genealogy conferences?  Time will tell.

1 comment:

Teresa Remsberg said...

This makes me think of when my son was in elementary school just a few years ago. I asked when they were going to start working on handwriting and was told that they didn't work on it anymore because "everyone will be using computers." Then in middle school his technology teacher was demonstrating a handwriting recognition pad, and it couldn't read his handwriting because it was so bad!