Ray Nash collection of student penmanship, 1754-1819 Rauner Manuscript MS-1345

Full Finding Aid


Ray Nash collection of student penmanship

Call Number:

Rauner Manuscript MS-1345

Collection Dates:


Size of Collection:

0.2 Linear Feet, (1 container)


Ray Nash, Dartmouth College professor of Art. The collection contains student penmanship exercises from the late 18th and early 19th Century.

Access to Collection:


Use & Access

The materials represented in this guide may be accessed through the Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College. Rauner Library is located in Webster Hall. The materials must be used on-site and may not leave Rauner Library.

Rauner Special Collections Library is open to the public and in most cases no appointment is necessary. The exception is in the case of materials stored off site for which there may be a delay of up to 48 hours in retrieval. Please consult the Access to Collection statement below or contact Rauner Reference.

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Permissions from Dartmouth College required for publication or reproduction.

Introduction to the Collection

The collection contains examples of student writing exercises, probably written in penmanship classes under the guidance of a writing master. The collection dates from the late colonial into the federal period. Dartmouth College professor Ray Nash likely used the collection as teaching aids in his courses at Dartmouth College.


Ray Nash was an emeritus professor of art at Dartmouth College as well as a book designer, calligrapher and historian of graphic design. He was born in Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1928 and later received an M.A. from Harvard University in 1947, as well as an honorary Masters from Dartmouth in 1949. After college he worked as a newspaper reporter for several years and began teaching at Dartmouth in 1937 as a lecturer in art. He became an assistant professor in 1941 and a professor in 1949. In 1960, he became the Director of Dartmouth Publications. He retired in 1970. Outside of the Dartmouth community, Nash was active in printing scholarship. He served as a consultant on the subject of printing and published the works "Calligraphy and Printing in the Sixteenth Century" and "American Penmanship, 1800-1850". He founded the magazine, "Print" and served as the editor of the quarterly, "Printing and Graphic Arts." He also wrote the entry for the Encyclopaedia Britannica on calligraphy. In the 1940s, Nash served as printing advisor to the Boston and Maine Railroad, helping to improve the design of their timetables. Nash was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was an honorary member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts as well as a recipient of their gold medal. Additionally, Nash held an honorary doctorate from New England College and the Belgian Order of Leopald. He also studied Flemish Art in Belgium, and later became an advisor to the Plantin-Moretus Museum, Antwerp. Ray Nash ran the Graphic Arts Workshop at Dartmouth from 1937 until 1970. During his time as a professor at Dartmouth, Nash offered many courses related to the graphic arts and bibliography, including 'Books and Printing', 'The Art of the Book' and 'Prints and Printmaking'. In these courses, students submitted various projects that were designed to give them experience in printmaking techniques. Among Nash's students was Roderick Stinehour, founder of the Stinehour Press and Alvin Eisenman, influential graphic design educator at Yale. Nash learned many of these techniques before coming to Dartmouth as a printer's assistant in Oregon in his youth. He also studied at Harvard in 1936 and 1937 under the guidance of Paul Sachs. Nash incorporated Sachs' teaching style into his courses, having students actively interrogate original prints as well as their own printing results rather than traditional slide viewing and lecture. Ray Nash died on May 28, 1982.

Box & Folder List

Box: 1, 1754-1819

Student writing exercises

Box Contents

  • Folder: 1, "Letters," by Joseph Brightman, 1754
  • Folder: 2, "Youth like the Spring blooms and is gone," by Joseph Brightman, undated
  • Folder: 3, "Money Command All Sublunary Things," by Henry Johnson, 1755
  • Folder: 4, "Avarice," by Samuel Johnson-Cazeneau, 1756
  • Folder: 5, "Knowledge," by Ebenezer Wells, 1763
  • Folder: 6, "Decline such company as Allure you to sin," by Henry A. Green, 1805
  • Folder: 7, "Sound Not a Trumpet in your Own Praise," by Henry A. Green, 1806
  • Folder: 8, "Honor and renown attend virtuous actions," by Joshua Greene, 1806
  • Folder: 9, "The Writing Master Invitation and Instruction," by John Richardson, 1808
  • Folder: 10, "A Fable - Advice to a Young Tradesman," by John Richardson, undated
  • Folder: 11, "Select Sentences," by Elizabeth S. Clark, 1819
  • Folder: 12, "A Good Education," by Elizabeth S. Clark, 1819
  • Folder: 13, "Industry," by Elizabeth S. Clark, 1819
  • Folder: 14, "All Man's manners commonly form his Fortune," by William Baker, undated

Finding Aids