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National Handwriting Day – Learn About the History and Art of Handwriting

National Handwriting Day reveres the art of handwriting. Read on to see why this mode of documentation is important and should be celebrated!

Pencils and other school supplies on a blue background with a text overlay for National Handwriting Day.

National Handwriting Day encourages us to practice handwriting. Let’s think about it for a minute – how often do you actually put a pen to paper to handwrite something?

Do you frequently write letters, or is it easier to pick up the phone or send an email? Do you have a paper to-do lists or do you use apps on your phone to keep track?

Handwriting is not obsolete, but technology has definitely impacted how and when we write.

What is National Handwriting Day?

National Handwriting Day is a day that falls annually on January 23rd. 

Man's hand with a quill and parchment for National Handwriting Day.

It is no coincidence that the day occurs on John Hancock’s birthday. John Hancock was the first person to sign The Declaration of Independence. He is known for his large, bold signature.

If you’ve ever had anyone ask for your “John Hancock”, they’re referencing his famous signature, and asking for your own signature. 

History of National Handwriting Day

National Handwriting Day was established in 1977 by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association, also known as WIMA.

A vintage letter with cursive writing to honor National Handwriting Day.

WIMA created this day to encourage interest in the use of pens, paper and pencils. 

While National Handwriting Day was established relatively recently, the history of handwriting is much older.

The earliest handwriting dates back to around 3400-3100 BC, where it was found in Egyptian hieroglyphs and Sumerian archaic writing. 

Fun facts about handwriting for National Handwriting Day

Brush up on your knowledge of handwriting with these fun facts. Some may surprise you!

Woman writing a handwritten thank you note at her desk for National Handwriting Day.

  • There is enough graphite in the average pencil to write roughly 45,000 words (or to draw a 35 mile long line). Though untested, it is theoretically possible.
  • Though some states have different policies, most do not include cursive writing in the K-12 school curriculum.
  • Forensic Document Examination (the analysis of disputed handwritten documents) is widely accepted in courts of law.
  • Studies show that you are more likely to retain information if you take notes by hand than you are if you take notes by typing.
  • National Handwriting Day falls on January 23, which is also the same date as the birthday of John Hancock, the first signatory of The Declaration of Independence.
  • The first handwriting was discovered as early as 3400-3100 BC, in Egyptian hieroglyphs and Sumerian archaic writing.

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How to celebrate National Handwriting Day

Would you like to celebrate National Handwriting Day in a special way? Try one of these ideas.

Woman writing a handwritten letter for National Handwriting Day.

  • Write a handwritten letter to a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s often quick and convenient to send an email, but there’s something so much more personal about a handwritten letter.
  • Start a journal today, to practice your penmanship. Maybe journaling was a New Year’s Resolution you abandoned early in the year. If so, today gives you the perfect excuse to begin journaling again! 
  • Take a calligraphy class to jazz up your own handwriting.
  • Leave a handwritten love note for you special someone today. Feel free to use one of our inspirational love quotes on it! It will brighten their day!
  • The next time you go out for a meal, leave your server a hand written thank you message along with their tip. Simple words of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s day!
  • Spread the word on social media using the hashtag #NationalHandwritingDay. Here is a tweet to get you started:
Did you know there's actually a National Handwriting Day? Grab a pen and paper and head over to Always the Holidays to celebrate the day! 📝 #NationalHandwritingDay Click To Tweet

More national days in January

National days of the year are a fun way to celebrate odd and unusual foods, animals and items that you come into contact with. Be sure to check out my National Day’s Guide for more fun days to celebrate.

There are close to 2000 National Days in the year and over 150 of them are celebrated in January. 

To see them all, have a look at this post to discover more about the National Days in January, as well as the January printable calendar of National Days.

A card that says "hello January" arranged with a cup of coffee, fir bough, nuts and cranberries to celebrate the national days in January.

Is food your thing? Each day of the month has a food or drink associated with it, too. You’ll find all the January food holidays here.

If you enjoyed this post on National Handwriting Day, be sure to also check out these other national days this month:

  • Organize Your Home Day – January is the perfect time to organize your home to set your year up for success. Let the day inspire you to do some organizing in your life!
  • National Disc Jockey Day – Let’s celebrate this branch of music history by learning fun facts about disc jockeys, also known as DJs!
  • National Spouses Day – Looking to show your sweetie some extra love? National Spouses Day is the perfect excuse. Check out the post for fun ways to celebrate.
  • National Hot Chocolate Day – Make sure to head over to the post to get our tasty homemade hot chocolate recipe!

Pin this post on National Handwriting Day for later

Would you like a reminder of this post for National Handwriting Day? Just pin this image to one of your trivia boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

School supplies on a pink background with a text overlay that reads "National Handwriting Day - history of the day - ways to celebrate - handwriting fun facts".

Jess author photoAbout the author

Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess Speake has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics. Find out more about Jess here.

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