Greetings Everyone

Greetings everyone–

I am so glad there are finally getting to be some SH sites/materials on the internet.

I didn’t take any shorthand in school, but my first book was a yellow Simplified from a box of books I got at the Goodwill surplus store in my home town of Portland, OR. I still use this book. After a few visits to second hand stores looking for supplementary, reinforcement material, I had books from several different eras. It took me awhile to assess the differences in these various editions, but like my children, they each took turns being my favorites and I learned something from each one. Since I have had several children, life has often gotten too full and I have dropped shorthand and then picked it up again a few months or a few years later.

Within a few years of starting my personal study of Gregg shorthand, I had acquired from used bookstores, garage sales etc., a weighty stockpile of shorthand books. Series 90, diamond jubilee 60s and 70s editions, Simplified, Anniversary, and a few items from pre-anniversary. I had dictation books, transcription books, speed building, dictionaries, and transcripts for books that don’t have them in the book. I also had an old college textbook on shorthand pedagogy which covered various aspects of the learning/teaching process. These things I collected over several years.

I wish there had been easy access to information that explained the differences between the editions. I just used the personal discovery method. During my periods of shorthand study I have usually started with the Simplified books (which aren’t as over-simplified as the successive editions) and then ended up intrigued/distracted with something I find on my shopping trips or on my shelves. About ten years ago I took a hard look at my six or eight-foot tall stack of shorthand textbooks and I realized I could never get through all those books and they were taking up a lot of space. I was about to toss the whole pile, but as I looked ruthlessly through the stack, the members of the Simplified series tugged at the bookshelf of my heart and they gained a permanent place on my “hard shelf.” They are relatively compact and straightforward, but have adequate practice material. There are several versions of the books available which adds to the available practice material, but they all follow the same lesson sequence. I have mostly second editions of this series. I also saved the 1929 Anniversary edition. Although the book is more compact, it is concentrated and presents the principles early and clearly. 

I am becoming more and more attracted to the anniversary edition. It is the last series that was made while John Gregg was still alive, and I think it conveys the author’s understanding of his system whereas the next editions are taken over by the professional educator/mass textbook writer format. It’s got the flavor and heart of John Gregg the shorthand inventor/teacher rather than another subject from McGraw Hill pressed into the “public-education-for-the-masses” mold.

It is reported to be more difficult to learn, but it seems to me that the proficient sh writers I know learned anniversary. (That could be because I only know older people who use shorthand. But why don’t more people from the 50s to 80s eras use the shorthand they learned? Maybe I just know mostly old people.) It’s more straightforward in laying out the principles, rather than leaving it to the learner to intuit or piece together the reasoning, than any of the other editions. There is also a speed building book which is meant to be studied concurrently with the main text. I have one that I picked up for $.50 on a table in a second hand store somewhere. Now I’ve decided I need the dictionary for this edition. But until then the 5,000 Most Commonly Used Words  book is available for download online.

With no babies at home, I have recently stepped up my shorthand study and I just found two great websites: and—(which is how I found this group.)These websites, along with their links, give a lot of advice and material for learning shorthand and have comparisons and descriptions of the various editions of Gregg Shorthand. I was pleased to find that the editions I chose to keep give the most promise of attaining high speeds and gaining proficiency for a variety of settings. has downloadable .pdf  file of the complete anniversary edition as well as some other helpful materials.

According to what I have read, there is a progressive loss of potential speed attainable with each subsequent edition, accompanied by a less versatile vocabulary. I have observed that the books get progressively bulkier. And not with extra reinforcement material—just fluff, stuff. Photos, and trite things that give the textbooks commercial appeal.

Somewhere I also acquired this nice teach yourself kit with a work/text, self-tests, transcript, and, treasure of treasures–six dictation records(!) (but no phonograph) in the box. After I got it home I realized it was of the 60s DJ series—a close runner up to my other two chosen editions —Maybe I have an irrational attraction to shorthand books.

Anyway, this looks like a nice group, and I am so thrilled to find some pieces from shorthand magazines posted. I have never before been able to find any of these magazines.

Right now I often mix shorthand and long hand when I take notes at various church meetings and college classes I attend. I wish to be able to take down everything accurately in shorthand, if I so desire, and be able to read and transcribe proficiently. I had many other reasons for learning sh initially, but this has been presented itself as a potentially great opportunity for practice. Especially since many of the meetings are taped.

My list of reasons for learning sh is endless, not the least of which is that I have a great propensity for writing personal notes that I would like to keep private until, properly edited!


(by gwriter53 for everyone)

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4 comments Add yours
  1. "Maybe I have an irrational attraction to shorthand books."

    You're not alone, Priscilla! I've found books on Ebay I wanted to "save" because I didn't think anyone would appreciate them the way I would. Now THAT's, um, unusual behavior!

    I'm also glad to hear my ShorthandShorthandShorthand site is helping others with shorthand-book addiction!


  2. Welcome, gwriter! I am glad to hear my is helping you. You are certainly not alone on the matter of collecting shorthand books. I have 40 Gregg publications on my home bookshelf at the moment. It is always fun to have a collection of something.

    It is good to see you here at the group! 🙂


  3. I've never counted my books, but it probably rivals 40. I have several versions of Gregg, a few Pitman books just for fun, and several older systems–including a system called Graham that was the basis for Woodrow Wilson's shorthand. I have more than one copy of some books so that I can have one at home and one at work. I am always looking for another copy of Expert Shorthand by Blanchard.   Brian

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