Written in French on 21 June 1702 is the registration certificate of a company to enable boats to come up the Loire; Rouanne and Grenoble are among the destinations mentioned. I did not closely parse the document, which lives in the oversize box. (It’s one of two from this collection that have been there for a while; they were recently joined by six twentieth century documents, just-barely-oversized laboratory certifications.) The script is legible, though not ridiculously neat and consistent (letter sizes, for example, will vary); the openings of paragraphs are rendered in extravagantly large (but not crazily fiddly) letters. It’s bound with a blue-gray ribbon. Best of all, the pages (probably vellum, per a co-worker who’s seen it in older incarnations) are velvety soft.
Jeremiah Day wrote a letter of recommendation to Mahlon Dickerson (then Secretary of the Navy) on 13 July 1835. He crossed his “t”s with long horizontals, and their vertical lines were left pretty open (not quite loopy), as were the “h”s. (Is there a term for that? There’s probably a term for that.)
Baron Franz Xaver von Zach had very legible handwriting. A little loopy, with more-than-token dots above the “i”s…if he’d used circles, then we’d definitely be in girly* territory. So if you want to examine an astronomer’s correspondence and not go cross-eyed and/or crazy trying to decipher the script, you could do worse than the Baron. Knowledge of French would, of course, also be helpful.
* As in, the stereotypical handwriting of the stereotypical tween, giggling, note-passing† subset of the female of the species. Descriptive, not disparaging.
† Or, I suppose nowadays, texting. What is the texting equivalent of dotting an “i” with a circle? Is there an emoticon for that? I just don’t know. I will spell out all the words in my texts; for that matter, I’ll also use semi-colons.