Hey, Guys! Rare Gregg Book on ebay

I thought this might be of interest to you all. What appears to be the original, 1893 version of Gregg Shorthand is for sale on ebay. To wit:


for everyone) 

26 comments Add yours
  1. It could be, but I've got my doubts . . . in that binding and with that logo on the cover, I suspect it's one of the editions between 1901 and 1916.  People are notoriously poor about reporting the correct publication date for books on e-bay . . .   The "revised edition" that was published in 1901 and 1902 lists only those copyright dates.  If you check a 1916 edition, it includes the 1893 copyright date.  My guess is the seller simply listed the earliest date in the book, not the latest, which would be the most correct.   I have the facsimile reprinting of the 1893 edition, and it's a slim pamphlet, just 36 pages long, quite a different presentation from the "little black book" 1901-1916 editions.   Alex

  2. Hey guys!!!! I am so excited that I had to tell someone and you all are the only ones that will appreciate the treasure that I found. I have a weakness for old books. Especially old school books. I go to garage sales and can buy a box full for a quarter or a dollar. Well I decide to clean out some old books and guess what I found? A Gregg Shorthand , A light-Line Phonography for the Million, Annversary Edition! Isn't that exciting! The last copyright date was 1929.

  3. Hi SpeedingMama,   I'm a newbie and I just made my first post before reading yours in this thread. You seem excited about your book: Gregg Shorthand: A light-Line Phonography for the Million, Anniversary Edition with a last copyright date of 1929. That's the exact same book I got recently and am starting my shorthand training from. Am I lucky or something? Is it a rare book or what? I've been writing in it! Calling it a "treasure" has put the skids on that action. I don't want to junk-up a treasure, that's for sure. I can't "appreciate the treasure" yet, but I'm REAL interested, can you clue me in?

  4. I'm sorry that I can't help you with Anniversary, but there are alot of people here who can. DJS is the system that I learned in high school and that's where I started when I rediscovered my old school books. I love to look at and read old books. I have some that are really worn and well used, but still enjoyable. I have a set of 1922 World Book encyclopedias that have given me many hours of fun reading. Each book adds a little bit of insight to our history and culture making it a valuable treasure. So I get excited when I find books that are anywhere from sixty to a hundred years old.

  5. The anniversary edition text (copyright 1929) isn't rare at all–it's one of the versions that seems to be continually available, and it was kept in print well into the 1950s (I have a copy from the 50s that looks brand new).    If you found a solid copy and want to write in it, go ahead.  It's something you'll be able to replace if you need to.  Doesn't mean it wasn't a great find–learning anniversary is a good idea–just means you're not "destroying" a valuable book by using it the way you need to to learn Gregg.   Alex

  6. Thanks for your posts regarding my book.   "Easy come / easy go" as far as the rare-book hopes go. That's fine, I'm still happy with the real treasure which is the information in the book – that's why I got it in the first place. My strong inclination is to try to learn shorthand "by the book" as much as possible rather than trying to make any personal adaptations. Reading posts on the site leads me to believe this is probably the best philosophy.   I wonder if I should really tackle learning Taquigrafia and English Gregg simultaneously as a beginner in both. It's just really hard not to try write the Spanish words in shorthand too. I suppose the worst thing that can happen from trying to learn Spanish along with English is that I'll confuse myself. It's not like the shorthand police will arrest me.   Thanks for letting me know I am not destroying a valuable book by using it. Are the versions of Gregg really so different that a person schooled in DJS will not be able to read Anniversary writing? To my beginner's eye, my series 90 book seems similar to the Anniversary. That's just how beginner I am – I can't tell the difference yet. There must be a tremendous amount of overlap in the different versions of Gregg, right? Do you think it will hurt or help for me to use my series 90 book in addition to my Anniversary book?   Thanks for your support in answering my questions and welcoming me, Ave

  7. There is a tremendous amount of overlap among the different versions of Gregg.  To my eye, the "textbook" models of DJS and Series 90 are almost identical.  The printing technology for Centennial was different, so those texts have a different appearance, but the outlines are definitely still in the DJS/90 "family".  (Does anyone know who wrote the shorthand outlines for Centennial?  In Series 90 it was still Charles Rader, but the Centennial books–at least the ones I've seen–don't identify the writer).    The problem with reading older forms of Gregg, if you've studied one of the newer forms, is that there will be unkown brief forms, different phrasing and abbreviating principles, and some different joining principles.  I can pick up a 1902 edition and probably read 70-80% without difficulty, but sometimes the other 20-30% stumps me.    If you're interested in true "rarities", there were a couple of facsimiles produced years ago of the very earliest texts.  (I think it's unlikely you'd find an actual copy of them).  The 1888 booklet published in Liverpool was entitled "Light-Line Phonography:  The Phonetic Handwriting."  Even in this early edition outlines are legible.  Words like down, college, reach, wisdom, defeat, etc. are exactly the same as DJS and later.  (Although the printing is "rough"–I wonder what the reproduction technology was like in those days.)  The facsimile I have was published by McGraw-Hill in 1971.    There's an older facsimile of "Gregg's Shorthand:  A Light-Line Phonography for the Million:  One Slope! One Position!! One Thickness!!! Connective Vowels!!!!" (no kidding about the exclamation marks on the cover).  This is the first American edition that was published in Boston in 1893.  The facsimile was printed in 1931 as a souvenir for the Thirty-third Annual Convention of the Eastern Commercial Teachers' Association.  Again, the majority of the outlines are fully legible.    Alex

  8. Thanks to all of you for your answers to my posts. It was good of you to take your time to write the information explaining a bit about the differences between some of the versions. "Tremendous amount of overlap" sounds reassuring.   My mother learned Gregg's Shorthand when I was a girl but she quit using it because of her difficulty in reading it. There was a time when she used it at work and was very competent at taking down a letter and then typing it up, but she quit using it at work and eventually quit using it for herself because she couldn't always read what she had written weeks or months earlier. I want to be able to read my writing even when the subject matter is no longer fresh in my mind. I found a word in my Gregg book that I had never heard of. I don’t recall the word right now but when I looked it up I learned it's some kind of buggy or horse-cart thingy, something we just don't have in our world much these days. Somewhere else on this site someone mentioned how much life has changed in recent years. Studying these books certainly reminds me of that. I've run into a word or two that I didn't even know were proper words at one time. Perhaps it's like sneaked and snuck. Someday sneaked will sound outright wrong.   Thank you all for sharing your experiences and your warm welcome. I liked that "older facsimile of Gregg's Shorthand…Connective Vowels!!!!" Neat-ooooo!!!! Of course I'm a bit fuzzy on the precise meaning of "connective vowels" but anything with 4 !'s is certainly cause for oohing and ahing.   Ave

  9. You're so right about the "!!!!" in the title of Gregg's first American edition.  It had to be a best seller with that kind of marketing.   The "connective vowel" thing was a big deal when Gregg's system was introduced, because the main competitor was Pitman.  In the Pitman system, the consonants of the word are written, and then the vowels are indicated by little marks placed next to the outline.  In Gregg, the vowels are written as part of the outline in the order they occur.  Hence "connective" rather than disconnected as in Pitman.  Gregg argued that this was a major defect in the Pitman system that made it hard to learn, hard to write, and hard to transcribe.  (Whether that's true or not is hard to know, since all the writing of that era is in the context of the bitter competition between the two systems).    Alex

  10. Alex:

    I'm a Pitman writer-to-be; I'm here to tell you that Gregg's point about the vowels was just a sales pitch (some of his other points were valid, though–I NEVER throw out the baby with the bathwater)

    Pitman written at the advanced level leaves out most all of the vowels, with very little ambiguity; I can read the texts with very little trouble at all.

    F u cn rd ths, u cn c m pnt.

  11. John: I know we're veering off the topic. Forgive me for this aberration.

    But I have a Gregg question. OK, say you have to write two strokes in a row–the same stroke–with two different letters that have varying lengths? How do you do this and keep the outline readable?

    For example, "m' then "n", using the abbreviating principle?

  12. George: in Gregg there is an alphabetic character "mn" which also stands for "mm" is a combination of m and n. It is used in such words as   minimum = mn e mn minister = mn e s t r ministry = mn e s t r e   member = mn b r   The above examples are Simplified & DJS, which are the only two dictionaries I own.   It is also used in Simplified as the moun syllable in mount, mountain, mountaineer etc. In DJS, the mount syllable is spelled out "m a u nt".   Is that what you were looking for?   Billy (sidhetaba)

  13. In practice, I think that the stroke is written a bit longer than necessary to ensure that it doesn't get confused – in the same way that Piman users make their double strokes extra long to ensure that they are properly distinguished.  N, M, MN in Gregg is the same as KT, K, KK (or KT-r) in Pitman.  In fact, wouldn't "____" written on the line stand for both "kick" and "cater" in Pitman ? -which is kind of extra confusing! 🙂   Ian

  14. Oops – Sorry George, I re-read my message and it came across a little like Pitman bashing, which was certainly not my intention! All systems have 'dodgy' bits which look bad in theory but in actual practice they are barely problems at all.  After all, both Pitman and Gregg have both been used successfully in the most demanding of reporting situations, and at speeds well in excess of 200 words a minute.   🙂 Ian

  15. Ian: 🙂 That's OK; I'm not offended.

    Actually, "kick" and "cater" wouldn't be confused, because you're not supposed to double a stand-alone straight stroke to add "ter".

    To back up just a bit–in 1922, after Dr. Gregg wrote his treatise on the pitfalls of Pitman, the Pitman people junked the fibs, but listened to the genuine objections Dr. Gregg proffered. Pitman was drastically revised–became Pitman New Era– and some of the ambiguities of old-style Pitman were ditched. The "kick"/"cater" rule is one example. Pitman New Era became, along with Anniversary Gregg, the two best shorthand systems ever devised.

    (I do believe Anniversary Gregg to be the acme of the system.)

  16. George, I suggest , if you have the time and are interested, that you procure a copy of 1916 Gregg. This of all the Gregg manuals contains the most material. It was so popular that many shorthand teachers objected to the publishing of Anniversary. Anniversary was the first manual to reduce the memory load. Though some of our membership prefer such reduction and even greater, for the person in the late teens and early twenties of the previous century,who needed shorthand on the job, more was better than less. This led to manuals for different specialty areas. According to the Gregg biographies, due to the death of his first wife, Gregg had very little input in the writing of anniversary. Due to errors and inconsistancies in the first printing, further corrected printings soon followed. A host of other books were produced during the thirties to help what was perceived at the time as the shortcomings of Anniversary. As for the extended line forms both horizontal and vertical, a tiny indention could be used to indicate the two letters joined in one form.  George, do you really think by that point that New Era was a response to outsiders , rather than to the needs of Pitman users, and the financial incentive of publishing  a new edition in an increasingly softening educational environment and evolving technical workplace? DOC

  17. DOC:

    Probably both. The truth is always somewhere in the middle.

    It is of interest to note that Dr. Gregg's polemic about Pitmanic phonography was published in 1922; Pitman New Era came out in 1924. I see at least a partial causal effect..

    I've done quite a bit of research of shorthand in the US. Let's try to look at the subject objectively.

    I'll try to summarize, because it's very complex. In 1910, all the business colleges taught Pitman. In Boston, for example, all 10 taught Pitman. By the end of that decade, 9 out of 10 taught Gregg.

    This is in part because the Pitman of that era was very hard to learn; Gregg was easier by far. It was, in part, due to some genius strategy on the part of Dr. Gregg.

    The 1920s were a time of real war between the systems–a time of the "survival of the fittest" of the systems, as it were. The Pitman greats had all died by then; the dominant Pitman variation (Benn Pitman's system) had no one-no real business mind behind it– to defend it. That left the Pitman Publishing company (Isaac's system) to fight over the crumbs. Remember that Isaac Pitman's system had only about 7% of the market by 1910.

    As mentioned before, Dr. Gregg's tome came out in 1922. I've read most of it, Doc. While it was full of half-true sales pitch arguments, it did have some overwhelming good points–points too important to ignore by the struggling-for-its-life Pitman Company.

    Doc, I haven't found any direct evidence of a causal effect between Dr. Gregg's tome and such a drastic change in Pitman in 1924, but I believe that the Pitman people saw the handwriting on the wall–it was either change or die. Don't you think this makes common sense?

    In fact, because Pitman already dominated the Commonwealth market completely, I see no other reason why Pitman would have changed in the US. Do you? Change is always painful, and our entire psyches are hard-wired to resist it.

    The change from Anniversary Pitman to Pitman New Era was a good one, to say the least. Pitman New Era rose to new heights everywhere except the US; it remained the system of choice for pen court reporters in the US all the way up until the 40s, when machine court reporting took over. Pitman court reporters dominated the Senate and House until the last one retired in the 1980s.

    And this is the short version!!

  18. Doc:

    On another note–wasn't Pre-Anniversary very hard, though? (At least, compared to later versions). I'm asking because I don't know.

    (Keep in mind my own personal preference for Pre-Anniversary–its appearance has a strange, other-worldy appeal to me)

  19. George, A person's critique about difficulty is quite subjective. Whether its Gregg or Pitman, or any of the host of other shorthand systems, alot depends on the student and the student's own perception, personal mental  or physical limitations, the desire to acquire the skill, and personal enjoyment of the learning experience. The same is true about learning foreign languages and a student's facility or lack thereof. In terms of Gregg, the same complaints of difficulty voiced by students of the earlier manuals were probably voiced by students of the later more simplified manuals. Most students of any system learn shorthand as one of a host of other subjects. Whichever manual was used as a textbook was the only one they ever saw. Very few students of Gregg or Pitman ever came in contact with the other system in the classroom setting. So their perceptions, critiques, or rapturous enthusiasm was self-contained within the particular manual of the given system studied. The salesjob occured with the schoolboard that authorized the materials for classroom use, who were most interested in the positive PR of the number of student successes.For some students shorthand mastery requires too much effort, for others the more challenges the better. The system that is best, the manual which is best, will always be a subjective decision. If you are experiencing growth and success, endless comparison and subjective prejudice are a complete waste of time! The amazing good news is that Gregg is great, Pitman is great, system X is great, your particular manual is great, and therefore your shorthand ability to whatever degree is great too, and getting greater! DOC

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