My Inspiration For Hand Lettering

My Inspiration For Hand Lettering

I’ve been following along with Crystal from Money Saving Mom as she has been discovering the joys of hand lettering. She has turned out some beautiful quotes with her practice and I love seeing what she is writing about.

Crystal posted on Instagram this morning about a hand lettering challenge from Melissa Smith. You can check her out on Instagram and see the word of the day that she features. If you want to participate, just snap a picture of your practice and add #togetherweletter.

Where My Desire to Practice Handwriting Started

I was adopted when I was a baby. My adoption was open, which was completely counter-cultural at the time. Now that we are older and wiser, open adoptions are encouraged for the benefit of the child.

I had the privilege of knowing my natural family and spend a lot of time with them when I was growing up.

One day, we visited my great great great (am I still saying great?) Aunt Flora. I honestly don’t know how many greats she was, because my grandmother said that one great was enough for anyone.

My great Aunt Flora gifted me the most amazing treasure. She had many old books ( and I mean old!) For my book nerd friends, she owned an original copy of the Blue Back Speller along with many other books from the War Between the States Era.

She brought out many books to give to my Grandmother and I. The only book I wanted was an autograph book that belonged to my Aunt Ann (I won’t attempt the number of greats required here) who lived through the War Between the states.

Aunt Ann had all of her friends and family write in this book, including all three of her brothers right before they went off to war.

My Inspiration For Hand Lettering

I brought this book home and poured over it for years. I LOVE to read through it every now and again.

For years, I spent time perfecting my hand lettering and using the beautiful strokes in this book as my guide.

Not only is the handwriting breathtaking, but so are the beautiful string of words that people wrote to Aunt Ann. This was a day and time when writing someone a note was not quickly done.

I can’t imagine how long each person would have had to borrow the book to make their mark. You have to know that these words were written with quills and ink.

Some of My Favorite Selections From the Book

For all those that love to get new inspiration for hand lettering, I thought I would post a few of my favorite pages from the book.

Here is the first page of her Keepsake Album to explain its purpose of it.

My Album is my garden spot

In which, I wish my friends to sow,

The seeds of friendship, love and truth;

Where sweet flowers, and roses only can grow

Lawhon’s Hill N.C.

Ann Lawhon

June 5th, 1858

(Btw, Whenever they wrote Miss, it looks like they spelled it Mifs…I don’t know why the first s looks like an f, but everyone does it. Any time you see to ss’ together, the first one looks like an f.)

For Miss Ann’s Album

Thou whom my heart admires above all earthly joys and earthly love. Tell me dear Ann let me know where doth thy sweetest pastures grow. When on this page you cast your eye think of the hand that here did lye, you are the darling of my eyes and on your cheeks, my comfort lies. Oh blooming youth remember death and when old age shal over the creek, remember the hand that wrote these lines. Forget not love, forget not truth, forget not oh forget not me.

Your affectionate friend


Is that not the sweetest love note ever? I have no idea who this person was, but it sounds like they had a crush on my Aunt Ann. 🙂

To Miss Ann,

I wish but oh I dare not say

The warmest wish I feel for thee

I wish thine hours would float as gay

As sunbeams on the dark blue sea

I need not ask thy form more pure

Thy eyes more full of sympathy

That own bright smile that lingers there

Bids a (not sure) wish for thee


August the 23rd 1859

Rest in Heaven

Dear Ann

Should somber clouds of sorrow rise

And shadows over us fling

And hopes that once have broken root

Dip in their earthly spring

Should of joy and Bliss of life

Fade like the hues of even

We still have this sweet solace left

Thears rest for us in heaven

Should sickness pale the Rosey cheek

And dim the radiant eye

And every pulse that faintly beats

Tell of a time to die

Oh then indeed unto the world

Our thoughts should not be given

For we must never forget the truth

There rest for all in heaven

Monticello N.C.

Your friend M. A. J.

For Cousin Anns Album

May happiness thy brow entwine

And peace they pillows stress

And every earthly bliss be thine

Tis Emma’s prayer for you

Your affectionate cousin

E. M. Dowd

July 31st, 1858

This letter is very special! It was written by her brother William Henry Harrison Lawhon. He was one of her brothers that went off to war and was at the Appomattox courthouse where Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant ended the war and confederates surrendered.

March 25th, 1862

For Sister Anns Album

Dear Sister Ann my heart is full

I must go to the trigger to pull

At the enemy let me go

And drive them from our seashore

2 The time has come when we must part

It comes well nigh to break my heart

It is unknown when we shall meet

Again each other faces greet

3 But if we meet no more on earth

Amidst the theme of war and Death

Oh may we meet in heaven above

Where all shall be a bliss of love

Your brother L, H, H, W

For Cousin Anns Album

Parting now and parting ever

Life is but a parting scene;

All the tenderest ties will sever;

Friends are not who friends have been.

One by one the links are breaking,

One by one we glide away;

Thoughts of sadness are awakening,

Vainly wishing some might stay.

We must leave these sounds of pleasure,

Leave friends, so truly dear!

When they weave their festive measure,

Shall we be forgotten here!

Parting now, perhaps forever,

Sadness reigns where joy should be;

And I ask though ties now sever,

Will you not remember me?

Your affectionate cousin

Why So Somber?

Just wanted to point out that I know a lot of what these people wrote was very sad and reflective, because these people were in a time of war. Friends and family were going off to war and no one knew if they were going to return. Many of them didn’t.

There is a lot of reason that these people had to feel sad about their departures from one another. Even if they didn’t go off to war, there was nothing to say that those left behind wouldn’t fall victim to the hands of the other side.

I hope that you enjoyed taking a peek at just a few of the pages of my Aunt Ann’s book. I’ve spent a lot of time reading the words here and learning how to write the way these people did.

Here’s one last piece of inspiration for you. Check out these beautiful letters!

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