lybrary wrote:My first reaction was: "How neatly written." Whoever wrote this must have taken real care filling out this form. If I may venture a guess it does not look like some designated employee of McKinney who had to potentially fill out many of these but rather a first time filler outer.
Here is another line of investigation that this may open. Having seen my son being taught handwriting in a French school rather than the Austrian schooling I received myself, I know that handwriting is being taught differently in different localities. The detailed shapes of each letter can be quite different from place to place. For example, the big A I learned to write is completely different from the one I see on this application. I wonder if an expert may be able to deduce from the handwriting where the person who filled this out learned to write.
Recall that in 1902, typewriters were not as common as they later became, and many official forms were filled out by hand -- so people who regularly filled them out needed to do it neatly. And also, it is my belief that people in general had better handwriting back then than they do now (see Vernon's handwriting, for example).
So I don't necessarily think that "neat handwriting" implies a person who filled out this form for the 1st time. In fact, I'd argue that if McKinney was in the business of taking manuscripts and turning them into books for independent authors, that doing the copyright paperwork would be part of the service that it would be appropriate for them to offer.
I'd love to find half-a-dozen books published and/or printed by McKinney ca. 1902, and compare the copyright applications on all of them.