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Helping Kathman with the English Secretary Hand

In a recent exchange (on humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare) David Kathman has expressed his and (Arthur Freeman's) opinion that the emendations in the Perkins Folio are in a "modern hand" and not in an English Secretary hand.  

>On Fri, 03 Aug 2001 23:22:17 -0600, David Kathman <djk1@popd.ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>Baker is smoking crack. That is *not* an authentic Elizabethan secretary
>hand in the Perkins Folio; it's a bad attempt to make something that
>looks like a secretary hand, by mixing in some secretary "e"s with
>modern letters. Even Ganzel admitted that the hand in the Perkins
>Folio was not an authentic secretary hand; he just thought it was 
>from the late 18th century, before Collier saw the volume.
>It's really sad to see someone so clueless make such an ass of himself.
>Dave Kathman

Not only do I have over forty years of sobriety under my belt, and thus have not been smoking Kathman's drug of choice,  (I'm the guy who use to take hydrogen bombs apart for SAC, remember) I have twenty-two years of experience with Elizabethan secretary hands, amounting to many thousands of hours.  So I know which of the two of us has made an ass of himself.

And just to help Kathman and Freeman understand these hands I have pulled a few samples of  the SAME word from a hand described as 'pure secretary" by the two leading Folger manuscript curators Giles E. Dawson and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton (now Yandle) in their, always useful, style manual _Elizabethan Handwriting_ (see p. 104).  

The examples are taken from the so called Dering, ms., of Henry IV, because it a a long manuscript where I can easily match words with the emendations in the Perkins Folio, since I have a keyboarded version of it.

By placing the examples side by side with the Perkins readings Freeman, Kathman (they even rhyme)  and others can see for themselves that the Perkins forms are "pure secretary" except for Stage Directions and speaker's name...which were customarily given in "Italic."

I begin this exercise with the Secretary Alphabet as depicted in facsimile from their manual.  I point out that the Old Corrector, while obviously a writer of the English Secretary hand, had before him a printed text and was attempting to make his emendations as legible as possible and thus on occasions "printed" with Italic like forms...something any Secretary writer might attempt at any time, particularly under similar circumstances.  

Examples From the Perkins Folio

Examples from an English Hand Said "Pure Secretary" by Dawson and Yandle.


falles backe falls on me:,
  ever tunnd backe:,  Notice the similarity in the "arke" this example of "b" is different, but some "b"s would be just the same.


  Compare the final two "f"s in Bardolff's name above with the "f" in "falles".  Both are pure secretary "f"s.
emendation reads "helpe him" Hall helpe me      Notice how similar the two word "helpe" are.  Its because they are both secretary forms.
  "opposed eyes" notice the p's with the forward tale as we see in "helpe him"  Above is the phrase "armed hooves"  notice the "h" is similar to the "h" in "him" with its decender going forward.
I have take the phrase, "lett them In" because the word "them" contains the "h" with the decender running forward, as in "him" above.

Its fairly common, but Hand B always makes the "h" in   "him" to curl towards the back or begging of the line.

A bit faded after nearly four centuries, the phrase reads "Seeing the".

The S is "printed" so not characteristically secretary.

That's "the" Hand B liked to make his "t"s in this style but notice the foward trailing decender in the "h" and the old "e".  Both Hand B and the Perkins Hand are secretary hands.
This, like the line above, is a Stage Direction written by Hand B, notice how modern looking the S is.  Its because it is a Stage Direction.  
A chart or table showing the evolution of English letters, lifted from the Encyclopaedia Britannica and supporting my thesis that the emendations represent an early hand.  An English Secretary Hand. 

It is clear from this analysis that the hand of the Perkins Folio, whoever it belonged to, wrote a "pure secretary" hand.  And as I have said likely learned his letters in the 15870 or 80s.  So he was an older man in the 1630s.

Writers trained in the early 1600s would have been using an Italic hand or a transitional hand.  This hand is not modern, Italic or Roman.  It is an Elizabethan Secretary hand.

Challenge for Kathman.  

I challenge Kathman to produce, with his own hand, a page of Elizabethan Secretary script.  Just a page of it.    He can then scan it along side two extant authentic pages and post them on his web pages and we'll see if it isn't noticeably a fraud.  As Giles Dawson knows, it takes hundreds of hours to learn to write this hand, and thousands with the kind of fluid proficiency that a native writer wrote it.  I don't think either Dawson or Yandle have ever been able to write it like a native writer, I know I don't.  I'd be ever interested in hearing from any reader who can write it.

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