OCR and cursive manuscripts

A friend recently brought to my attention a manuscript that had been neatly hand-copied from an illegible original autograph. It is a fairly lengthy piece as it sits -- over 70 handwritten pp. -- and he had a question about self-publishing it for personal use (only three or four copies for demand within his family).

 

I advised him that his choices were to publish it as a picture book -- that is, to scan the pages as photos, and let the reader see the cursive -- or else to re-type the entire ms. from scratch. He was hoping that some sort of scanning software would help with this.

 

I do not believe that it is possible to scan cursive writing. Given how badly OCR software sometimes mangles even nicely printed text, I can't see it working for cursive at all.

 

Does anyone know of an OCR capable of reading cursive?

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