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E-SIGN Day: The History of Signatures

By: Steve Stormoen / Thursday, June 30, 2016

In celebration of National E-SIGN Day, enjoy this guest blog post by Beth Anne Ballance.

The History of Signatures


In your life, every significant moment requires a signature – birth certificates, school enrollments, job applications, mortgages, car loans, the end of marriage, even death certificates. A flourish of the pen signals the beginning (or end) of a moment in time. But how did our identities begin to flow from the tip of a pen?

Signatures, the English word taken from the Latin root signare, identify a person and their intent. They have unique character and style, much like a thumbprint. Some are legible, some are scribbled (like mine!) and some are downright creative. Signatures began as early as the 5th century as a way for artists to mark their work in clay tablets and pots. The Romans used them often and yet it was not until the 16th century when they became more commonplace for finalizing agreements.

Before literacy was widespread, wax seals and handshakes were the standard for settling agreements. For those with financial means, hot beeswax pressed by a signet ring identified the sender. Often times, a face-to-face meeting confirmed identity while a handshake served the purpose of commitment during deals. As literacy and paper became more mainstream towards the 9th century, scribes began marking documents with a cross (which later became the “X” signature we know today).

However, people were still making deals and contracts without signatures, leading to arguments over fraud and unmet promises. They devised a law, known as the 1677 Statute of Frauds, that required all contracts bear signature. The 1677 Statute of Frauds was the most pivotal moment in signatures becoming mainstream.

A little under a century later, John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence with such flourish that his signature stood out from the other 55 signees. We might have Thomas Jefferson to thank for the actual document, but it was John Hancock’s signature that became a legend and catchphrase.


One hundred years later, it was decided that rubber stamped signatures were equivalent to written signatures and two hundred years later, signatures come in a variety of forms. Into the digital age, several technologies stretched our understanding of what a signature means. A photocopied document can still contain a legally binding signature even if the exact piece of paper was not signed, for example. Later, the autopen allowed parties to sign documents from afar.

With the advent of the internet, it was inevitable that businesses and individuals would want to process signatures online, which led to today’s e-signatures. On this day in the year 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the E-SIGN act defining the use of electronic signatures as the legal equivalent of their ink and paper cousins. In 2010, Congress chose to recognize June 30 as National E-Signature Day.

Today, sixteen years after the E-SIGN act was passed and 1500 years after the very first signatures emerged, we celebrate how far signatures have come – from marks scratched on a pot of clay to a fingertip signing a legal document across a computer screen.

Exploring the Powerful Zapier + RightSignature Integration

By: Steve Stormoen / Wednesday, June 29, 2016



Zapier is a popular service to connect and automate all your favorite web apps. Zapier connects to the tools you use every day like Gmail, SalesForce, and ShareFile to automatically finish simple tasks and make the workday easier without any technical knowledge required. Simply browse a list of pre-built connections, called “Zaps,” or choose from a list of options to create your own custom workflow.

The new RightSignature + Zapier integration adds RightSignature to the list of services connected by Zapier. By connecting RightSignature to Zapier, a sales team can automatically post a congratulations note to Twitter any time they get a contract signed. Additionally, an HR professional can send employment paperwork with RightSignature and Zapier will automatically put the document due date in Google Calendar.

How it Works

To set up the RightSignature + Zapier integration, simply sign up for Zapier and select RightSignature from the Zapier app directory. At the prompt, input your RightSignature login information and approve the integration. Next, browse through the list of apps supported by Zapier to start linking your apps together.

The following triggers and actions can be automated with the RightSignature + Zapier integration and connected to other apps:


You can view the full list of pre-built Zaps here, or build your own to connect RightSignature to the apps you use every day.

Wade Foster, CEO and co-founder of Zapier, says,
Zapier is thrilled to have RightSignature join our integrations portfolio. With connections to over 650 apps, RightSignature users can now save even more time when it comes to document-related processes. Automation lets them send documents effortlessly, remind clients of pending documents, save time on archival, and kick off workflows as soon as everything is signed. That means more time spent on products and customers, while still keeping complete and secure records of every critical agreement."
With over 600 apps to connect with RightSignature, we are excited to see what possibilities exist. Will you use the RightSignature + Zapier integration in your business? Share your Zap with us on Twitter at @RightSignature!

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