Monday, November 2, 2015

Lettering: E. W. Bloser, Master Penman

Elmer Ward Bloser
November 6, 1865, Plainfield, Pennsylvania – May 23, 1929, Columbus, Ohio

Penman’s Art Journal and Penman’s Gazette
November 1891






























Three Skillful Penmen.
C. P. Zaner, L. M. Kelchner and E. W. Bloser, of Columbus, Ohio.

We present herewith the portraits of three young men whose brilliant work has won them a most enviable distinction among all who appreciated the penman’s art. They are C. P. Zaner, L. M. Kelchner and E. W. Bloser, known under the corporate name of the Zanerian Authors and Artists, and directors of the Zanerian Art College, Columbus, O.

All three of these gentlemen are Pennsylvanians by birth, and all were raised on a farm, their school training being only what the facilities of the public schools of their respective localities could afford. Mr. Zaner’s home was near Forks, Pa. He was born there on Feb. 15, 1864, and was nineteen when he left to strike out in the world for himself. He taught penmanship a little in 1884, but gave it up until 1886, when he settled down steadily and has been at it continuously since. In 1888 he published his popular “Gems of Flourishing,” and in the same year founded the Zanerian College. Almost from the start his work won recognition from the old heads of the profession. It is distinguished by boldness and sureness of stroke, without sacrifice of delicacy. Mr. Zaner wields an uncommonly versatile pen and shows equal fertility of resource in the lines of script, flourishing and ornamental work. Many of his bright productions have appeared in The Journal and we have made arrangements by which he is to become a regular monthly contributor. The first of a series of illustrated papers by him begins in this number.

Mr. Zaner has been a constant reader of the penman’s papers, and attributes his skill largely to their influence. He found the Spencerian Compendium of much assistance in getting the “finishing touches.”

L. M. Kelchner will be thirty years old on the eighth of next month. His life was spent on a farm at Light Street, Pa., until he was eighteen years old. The next eight years he spent running a flour mill. It was not until 1888 that he began to teach penmanship professionally, though he had dabbled in it a little some time before. He became a joint proprietor of the Zanerian College in 1890.

Mr. Kelchner also thanks the penmanship press chiefly for his ability in that line. Another fruitful source of inspiration he found to be specimens from noted penman purchased by him. While he is a good writer and general penman, Mr. Kelchner excels as a flourisher, and has made many handsome designs of this kind. By far the most striking design we have ever seen from his pen is a large piece we now have in hand and expect to produce next month. It will be the first by “The Journal’s Galaxy of Flourishers,” which includes about twenty of the best known penmen in this line in the world.

E. W. Bloser was born at Plainfield, Pa., on Nov. 6, 1865. In 1883 he moved to Ohio, became interested in penmanship, and has been following it professionally ever since. He became a third owner in the Zanerian College only a few months since.

We show a specimen of Mr. Bloser’s work in this number. It is of the kind on which his reputation rests, his forte being script work in general and body writing in particular. His pen is capable of turning a remarkably smooth and graceful line, as our readers may see.

The work of the institution of which these three young gentlemen are the owners and directors can only be properly described as brilliant. Though established but a few years it already number among its graduates many young men and women who are making their influence felt as teachers and artists. It is The Journal’s business to keep abreast of such matters, and it is The Journal’s pleasure to give credit to those who win success by deserving it. That this success did not come without hard work, but was born of the faith and pluck which beat down all barriers, may be gleaned from Mr. Zaner’s own account of the beginnings of the now highly successful enterprise with which he is identified:

“We started with one student and enough money to buy bread for one. We worked from seven o’clock in the morning until nine at night. We contrived means of letting people know of our school (if such it could by called) and of the work we were capable of doing. We were willing to sow and trust for the harvest. We rested not by the way, but toiled on. Slowly the fruit of our labors began to ripen. Students began to come in now and then. Friends were friends indeed, for through them we received support we could not buy. Prospects began to brightened, hopes materialized and bills vanish. A little surplus cash and credit aided in mailing another circular in which our work appeared to better advantage and our purpose in terms unmistakable. Thus it was that our work began. Our rooms were getting too small for the number of students seeking instruction. We decided to accommodate all first-class comers. We secured larger, brighter, cleaner rooms. We then began to realize that two hands and one brain were inadequate for the work at hand.”

Index of Greene County Marriage Books 1–20
Bloser, Elmer W. Sayers, Rebecca A. Dec 15, 1891 Waynesburg 4


Art Education
October 1, 1894
Lessons in Ladies’ or Card Hand.































Sayre Family: Lineage of Thomas Sayre, a Founder of Southampton
Theodore Melvin Banta
De Vinne Press, 1901
Rebecca Adams, b. May 20, 1868; m. Oct. 15, 1890, Elmer W. Bloser.

The Blue Book
L. E. Stacy
1907
It is necessary that E. W. Bloser should be born upon a farm, otherwise he could not sustain his reputation of being a fine penman. He is a Pennsylvania product, born November 6. 1865. He received the usual education allotted to the farmer boy, and at the age of sixteen went to Oberlin, Ohio, to take a course in telegraphy. While at Oberlin, Mr. Bloser took his first lesson in penmanship, and after acquiring a fair handwriting, he was employed by Platt R. Spencer, then at Cleveland. This was an important epoch in Mr. Bloser’s life. During his association with this Spenserian author, he gained the knowledge and inspiration that has given him his present success and standing as a penman. 

Following his engagement with Professor Spencer, he taught successfully in various commercial colleges until 1891, when he formed a partnership with C. P. Zaner in the Zanerian Art College. He now owns a half interest in this well known institution, and devotes his entire time to its interests.


Integrity and honesty of purpose are prominent traits in his character. Industry, tireless effort and correct habits of life are the basis of his achievements. It is a noticeable fact that America’s very finest penmen are men of extreme modesty. To this class belongs E. W. Bloser. His name and work have appeared less in the professional papers than that of any other penman in the United States of equal ability. Mr. Bloser is married, has two children, and is justly proud of his home.


Columbus City Directory 1909


September 1910

September 1912


Volume X
Nemar Publishing Company, 1919
Zaner-Bloser Co., Columbus, $50,000. E. W. Bloser, R. B. Moore. R. E. Bloser. E A. Lupfer, D. N. Postlewaite. (School of penmanship, Selling penmanship supplies.) 

May 12, 1929


Mary Sayre Haverstock, ‎Jeannette Mahoney Vance, ‎Brian L. Meggitt
Kent State University Press, 2000

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