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[Item Title], [Folder], [Box], Edwin H. Fearon Penmanship Collection, McHugh Special Collections, The University of Scranton.
Born in Whitfield, New Hampshire, in 1877, Edwin H. Fearon was one of the foremost handwriting and document examiners of his era. For thirteen years, Fearon was the forgery expert at the Allegheny County Crime Laboratory, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Gonzaga College in Spokane, Washington, before attending law school at Kentucky State Normal Law School. Following his law career, he studied penmanship at the Zanerian School of Art in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating in 1901, Fearon returned to Spokane to teach business law and handwriting courses. In 1912, he moved to Pittsburgh to teach bookkeeping at Peabody High School and later wrote a bookkeeping textbook for the Gregg Publishing Co. In 1942, Fearon was a founding member of The American Society of Questioned Document Examiners. In his career as a document examiner, Fearon is best known for playing a prominent role in the Alger Hiss spy trial and the income tax conviction of Al Capone. In the Lindbergh kidnapping trial, Fearon analyzed the handwriting in the ransom notes and his testimony contributed to the subsequent conviction of Bruno Richard Hauptmann.
This collection contains two boxes of material and one folder of oversized items. The collection includes photographs, original pen art, and Fearon's diploma from the Zanerian College of Art, as well as various examples of penmanship, including correspondence, flourishings, and scrapbooks.
The collection includes a set of primarily American handwriting instruction books from the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of these materials have been cataloged in the Weinberg Memorial Library system. None of the collection volumes have yet been digitized, but the publications may be available in digital format from other sources, such as IAMPETH.
Selected books from the collection:
The collection also includes seven scrapbooks containing examples of penmanship, journal clippings, assorted ephemera, and correspondence collected by Fearon. Photographs in the collection depict Fearon's 1902 summer session class from the Zanerian College of Art and a group portrait of master penman (undated). None of these materials have been digitized.
Among the ephemera and artifacts in collection are Fearon's diploma from the Zanerian College of Art, Speedball lettering posters, pens, pen nibs, and a Leroy Lettering Set owned by Fearon.
The collection includes a small selection of Fearon's original artwork, including flourishings, alphabets, and a large pen drawing depicting a lion in a landscape.
Donated to the Weinberg Memorial Library in 2016 by E. H. Fearon's grandson, Richard Jaffe, and his wife, Velynda.
This collection was processed in 2016.