Name that Signature

Many of the SHC’s collections contain letters, notes, cards, and other writings by individuals of a certain historical celebrity. We have many items signed by presidents, sports stars, famous actors, authors, and more.

A number of these luminaries actually have pretty poor penmanship. So, just for fun, we thought we’d share a few squiggly ones here to see if you, the reader, can guess the name behind the signatures. If you’d like to guess, please do so in the comment box below. Later we’ll share the identities of these mystery folks.

Here’s a clue: all of the following are signatures of famous writers of the 20th century.





0 thoughts on “Name that Signature”

  1. Thanks for the guesses. #2 is deceptive…it’s a last name.

    I think this round of signatures might have been a bit too challenging out of the gate. Just goes to show how difficult this kind of historical detective work can be when bits and pieces are taken out of context.

    I’m happy to give another clue – their initials are as follows:

    1. C.A.
    2. W.C.W.
    3. E.P.
    4. H.L.M.

  2. 1) Conrad Aiken
    2) William Carlos Williams
    3) And if you hadn’t said, “writer,” I woudl have said this was Elvis Presley
    4) ???

  3. Exactly. Nice work, Caitlin!

    Ezra Pound is our third mystery scribbler and H.L. Mencken is the fourth.

    Thanks to all who made guesses. These letters come from a great collection of literary materials, the records of “Contempo”, a journal of literature and social commentary published by Milton Abernethy and Anthony Buttitta in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, from 1931 to 1934.

    The “Contempo” collection in the SHC contains letters from the above correspondents and many more famous authors of the early 20th century: T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Hart Crane, Gertrude Stein, e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, and others.

    Please check out the finding aid for more detailed information:

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