Henry P. Behrensmeyer
Portrait and bio taken with permission from Michael
One of the foremost penmen and offhand flourishers of the early decades of this century,
H. P. Behrensmeyer was widely respected by his peers. Born on February 18, 1868 near
Quincy, Illinois, Mr. Behrensmeyer lived in Quincy all his life. As a boy, he attended the
Salem Parochial School and the public schools, and as a young man entered the Gem City
Business College. Here he studied penmanship under C. L. Martin, Fielding Schofield, and
D. L. Musselman, Sr. His interest in penmanship began, however, when he was in his teens.
He studied the art at night school, and practiced during spare moments while working as a
clerk in a grocery store. After graduation from high school, Behrensmeyer wrote to Mr.
Musselman (founder of the Gem City Business College), inquiring about what type of ink was
best for writing. Shortly thereafter, he applied to the college and was accepted as a
student. Within a few months time he had made so much progress in penmanship that Mr.
Musselman began to take a special interest in him. He gave Behrensmeyer a job at the
college as a clerk, in which capacity the young pupil served for two, years. During this
time he was also given the responsibility of teaching penmanship. This work as a
penmanship instructor began in September, 1886. Soon afterwards, he was placed in charge
of the Penmanship Department, and continued in this role for over fifty years.