The following was taken from Major FO Andersen’s The Penmen’s Newsletter and retyped by IAMPETH’s Leenah Aguirre.
January 1958. The Penmen's News-Letter, International. Issue #97.
ANNA STUTT GITTINS.
It is a pleasure to honor the memory of this outstanding lady artist-penman, whose skill reaches a place among the very finest penmen. Both L. Madarasz and F. B. Courtney were uncertain if the specimens had been written by them or Miss Anna Stutt. Anna Stutt was born on a farm not far from Davenport, Iowa (Bettendorf, Ia.) on May 17, 1865, and died Jan. 10, 1950, at the age of 84 yrs. 7 mos. and 23 days.
Her parents, Henry and Anna Seifert Stutt, were well known farmers and had a good farm and home for their children. Anna became greatly interested in penmanship from the time she was a small girl, and decided she would make it her profession. One day her older sister, Mrs. Zoekler went to the annual Scott County, Ia. fair, and while there she saw a penman at a small table doing various kinds of ornamental penmanship for anyone wishing to have specimens of his work. Mrs. Zoekler had him flourish a bird for Anna, and when she gave it to her little sister, she was overjoyed, and began to practice, copying it, until she became quite proficient at flourishing. Later on Anna Stutt attended the Duncan's Business College in Davenport, Ia. Here she took a course in Spencerian penmanship. Prof A. N. Palmer, editor of the Western Penman, Cedar Rapids, and Pros. of the Cedar Rapids Business College, was so impressed with the high skill of Miss Stutt, that he told her that if she would enroll in his school, he would make her the best woman pen-artist in America. His prediction was soon verified by the beautiful specimens she turned out. When that famous Master-Engrosser, Samuel D. Holt, Philadelphia, Pa. saw some of her work, he penned a letter as soon in the front page of this News-Letter.
Her work appeared in catalogs and publications, and became classed as the work of a master. In 1895 she went to New York City to work for the famous Frank McLees & Bros, world-renown engravers. (This firm was founded by Mr. Archibald McLees (1817 – 1889) who was considered the greatest engraver in the world. He did the engraving for the famous Spencerian Compendium of Penmanship, the finest work on penmanship ever published before.)
It is needless to say Miss Stutt’s work was highly praised by the McLees. On Dec. 22, 1903, she was united in marriage to a fine gentleman, Harry Dunham Gittins. They made their home at 3826 Seventh Ave. Rock Island, IL where she died on Jan 10, 1950. Ten years previous she suffered a stroke which left her famous right hand helpless, the hand that had thrilled the penmanship profession as one of the greatest masters of the pen.
Her daughter, Mrs. Florence Gittins Trashael lives in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Major F. O. Anderson, Editor.