George F. Davis Penmanship Collection

Collection Guide


Correspondence, flourishings, notebooks, and penmanship examples from the papers of George F. Davis, instructor and later owner of the Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
George F. Davis
Date Range
1 box and 3 oversized items

Access and Use

Digital Access

Selected items from this collection have been digitized and are publicly accessible online.

Physical Access

The collection is open for research. Physical materials may be browsed by appointment in the Reading Room of the University Archives and McHugh Special Collections.


Items in the University of Scranton Archives and Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections may be made available to visiting researchers to support research, scholarship, education, and private study under an assertion of fair use (17 U.S.C. 107). The University of Scranton respects the intellectual property rights of others and does not claim any copyright interest in these materials. It is your responsibility to determine the ownership and status of copyright in any materials you may wish to use beyond fair use, and obtain the permission of the copyright owner, if needed. Individuals or organizations holding additional information about the copyright status of items in this collection are invited to contact the University Archives staff at

Preferred Citation

[Item Title], [Folder], [Box], George F. Davis Penmanship Collection, McHugh Special Collections, The University of Scranton.

Linked Data


Administrative/Biographical History

George F. (Fred) Davis studied penmanship under P. R. Spencer and taught penmanship at the Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Eastman College was opened by Harvey G. Eastman in 1859 and was for a time one the largest commercial schools in the United States. Davis eventually took ownership of the college, which closed in 1931.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains one box of material and three oversized items with various examples of penmanship, including correspondence, flourishings, and notebooks.

System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged into 6 series:

  • Correspondence
  • Flourishings
  • Photographs
  • Miscellaneous
  • Oversized Items


Series I. Correspondence

1. Correspondence to George F. Davis from James W. Lusk

  • January 25, 1862
  • May 14, 1861
  • June 11, 1861
  • June 28, 1861

2. Correspondence to George F. Davis from P. R. (Platt Rogers) Spencer

  • January 30, 1859
  • May 17, 1859 with a "Spencerian Penmanship" circular
  • July 9, 1861
  • August 23, 1861
  • November 13, 1861 (includes receipts)
  • Envelope and handwritten record of payment by P. R. Spencer, May 18, year unknown. Included with these items is an April 1883 advertisement for a horse being sold by G. Fred Davis, likely unrelated to the P. R. correspondence because Spencer passed away in 1864.

3. Correspondence to George F. Davis from H. H. Davis

  • February 28, 1881

4. Correspondence to George F. Davis from G. W. Hoyt during the Civil War

  • July 3, 1861
  • September 21, 1861
  • November 19, 1861
  • March 29, 1862

5. Correspondence to George F. Davis from Joseph Copps

  • June 19, 1870

6. Correspondence to C. R. Wells from C. C. Kendall

  • April 11, 1864

Series II. Flourishings

  1. Letters & Quill flourished by Wells, Bird by George F. Davis, undated, 2 copies
  2. Bird by John D. Williams?, undated
  3. Rendering of a man "One Stroke Work by H. C. Kendall," undated
  4. Marriage certificate of Lewis T. Davis and Lillian LaDue, April 20, 1892

Series III. Photographs

  1. Photograph of Harvey G. Eastman, c. 1860
  2. Photograph of George F. Davis, c. 1860
  3. Stamp Portrait of Mrs. C. C. Gaines, Eastman College

Series IV. Miscellaneous

  1. Eastman College Catalogue, 1896-97
  2. Account book for groceries purchased from "John McLean, 241 Main Street," 1867-1870
  3. Penmanship chart, c. 1860
  4. Three bills from Eastman Business College, c. 1860
  5. Eastman College blank envelope with a flourishing design and logo
  6. 2 Handwritten notes that served as record of payment by George F. Davis, dated August 23, 1858 and November 5, 1858
  7. Brief History of Eastman Business College, prepared for the American Centennial, December 1875
  8. Program for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Eastman School of Business in 1909
  9. Eastman Theatre Concerts program, November 13, 1931
  10. Booklet of Walworth's Business Colleges, September 1, 1864
  11. Deed from Edwin Bedell to George F. Davis, May 1, 1867 for what is likely the original property of Eastman College
  12. Promotional information sheet on the opening of the Eastman College, includes the original envelope that it was mailed in to George F. Davis
  13. Envelope with a sticker on it that says "Come to the Mid-Hudson Bridge Opening, August 25, 1930, Poughkeepsie-Highland"
  14. Blank correspondence paper, envelopes, and postcard with an image of the Eastman College building that was erected in 1872 by Harvey G. Eastman
  15. Advertisement sheet for a commercial College in Chillicothe, Ohio, undated
  16. Penmanship sample with a flourishing of a bird
  17. Woven wallet with various calling cards
  18. 2 calligraphy and flourishing notebooks, one includes the note "G. Fred Davis for Helen," undated
  19. 1 correspondence notebook with the name Debbie L. Tobey, 1850s-1860s
  20. Eastman Business College Illustrated Catalogue Book, 1864-65
  21. Blank autograph book of Eastman College
  22. Portable wooden writing desk with boxes of original nibs, one manufactured by Eastman College Pen, along with D. L. Davis stencil plate and other loose nibs and writing supplies
  23. Silver Eastman College Spoon
  24. Ribbon tin with loose nibs
  25. Wooden Script Ruler, 1881

Series V. Oversized Items

These items are stored on a shelf outside of box.

  1. Certificate written by P. R. Spencer for George F. Davis' completion of a Spencerian penmanship course, August 4, 1861
  2. Ornamental penmanship engrossing memorializing President George Washing by George Fred Davis, undated
  3. Walworth's Commercial College (Rome, NY) Certificate for George F. Davis' completion of the full ornamental course of Spencerian text, January 1, 1859 (too large for box, stored with framed items)

Acquisition Information

Purchased from James Cummins Bookseller in 2012.

Processing Notes

This collection was processed by the bookseller, James Cullins, prior to its purchase by the McHugh Special Collections in 2012.