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Copybooks collection

 Collection — Folder: S1503
Identifier: S1503

Scope and Contents

This collection includes copybooks from Kittie Thompson, Lillie Thompson, Lovina Dawson Thompson, Ezekiel Shoemake and Jennie F. Dobbins ranging from 1803 to 1889, with one date unknown regarding Spencerian and other methods of penmanship.


  • 1806-1893, undated

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical Note

A copybook is a book used in education that contains examples and blank space for writing down copies of the examples by imitation. Typical uses include teaching penmanship and arithmetic to students. A page of a copy book typically starts with a copybook heading: a printed example of what should be copied, such as a single letter or a short proverb. The rest of the page is empty, except for horizontal rulings. The student is expected to copy the example down the page. By copying, the student is supposed to practise penmanship, spelling, reading comprehension, punctuation, and vocabulary. The American Instructor: Or, Young Man's Best Companion, published in 1748, was the first American copybook. The 1802 book, The Port folio recommends the copybook method of learning fine penmanship over the previously used method of "engraved models," citing the advantage of having the example text closer to the student's reproduction. The author adds, "A neat copybook has often laid the foundation, or shown the first symptoms, of taste in all the elegant arts of life."

Excerpt taken from:


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Kittie Thompson Wirick on 1931/01/24 and Mrs. Herbert Caldwell on 1948/11/22.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2013/09/16 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid created 2013/09/16 by Edythe Huffman.
Copybooks collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.