1869 Left-Hand Penmanship Contest


Left Handed Penmanship Contest SD Wilbur
Stephen sends off his entry for the Left-Hand Penmanship Contest in 1866 with with an essay on a patriotic theme, proof that he has lost his right arm and is not ambidextrous.

William Oland Bourne, a minister and volunteer  in Central Park Hospital, New York City founded The Soldier's Friend magazine in December, 1864 to encourage amputees to find employment after the war and remain productive members of society.  In 1866, he organized and advertised the Left-Hand Penmanship Contest using his own money and that of donors for prizes.

Stephen in 28 years old.

Note: For more information and the entries see:

Guide to the William Oland Bourne Papers
MS 69

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Wilbur, Stephen D. Ser. 1 , #185


"This collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, newspaper clippings and lectures related to the career of William Oland Bourne (1819-1901), a social reformer, editor and author in New York City. Of particular note are materials related to his publication, Soldier's Friend, a newsletter for Civil War Veterans through which Bourne organized a Left-handed Penmanship Contest for veterans who had lost their right arm. The collection contains photographic portraits of four of the contest participants, left-handed writing samples and a sample written with a prosthetic arm."


Left Handed Penmanship Contest SD Wilbur pamphlet