Ressurect the Gregg Writer

Added as a comment on another thread, a couple of positive responses. What would it take and how many would be interested in resurrecting the Gregg Writer?

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(by carleymcninch1 for everyone)

45 comments Add yours
  1. Would it be a newsletter or a magazine and what would you put in it? Would you include information for all versions of Gregg? Would you also include articles or special interest stories written in shorthand, and maybe some grammar and punctuation refreshers? And we can't forget the fun stuff. I'm sorry that I am not talented enough to help but I would be glad to send you my subscription.

  2. Hi SpeedingMama~
    I'm not talented enough either (yet) to be a contributor…I'm just putting it out there for discussion. This forum is fantastic, I check it every single day but I would love to have a mag with current articles in shorthand to read.

    What was in the original Gregg Writer? I thought I read somewhere that there were even cross word puzzles in shorthand.

    Experts? Care to weigh in?

    By the by…whoever REMOVED the freegreenvegiesingledating posts…THANK YOU!!!!! Really annoying.

  3. I'm thinking some of those just learning a version of Gregg shorthand could contribute.  They could offer advince on how to start (since some of us started a long time a go–too long for me to remember much).  Or maybe samples of their own first tries.  Or maybe something they realized in a certain lesson.  Or even perserverance (sp).  (Okay maybe a spelling column for me…)   The Gregg Writer that I had had some fun articles in shorthand.  I wonder if  we could have maybe an article in one issue and then in the next one it written in the various versions shorthand (if it's an eZine then we could link back to the article for the transcrip?).  We'd need people to write the articles unless we could find some uncopywrited stuff.  Maybe even more then one article.  Maybe we could even use quotes that are for the public.    Just some thoughts. Debbi

  4. Yes…great thought…re: beginners contributions and articles published in the different versions. Very interesting!

    Being an eZine would certainly increase visibility and decrease circulation hassles…but how difficult would it be for the articles to be written in actual shorthand vs. "English"?
    I guess the shorthand articles could be scanned in?

  5. I have been encouraged to practice since I started reading this group. It's been really nice to know that there are others who share this interest.

    Anything would be better reading than the boring, dated letters that I have in my books. Maybe we could take a public domain book and do part of a chapter a month?

    Are there large differences between the versions?

  6. Yes! At the moment I'm awaiting eye surgery and
    unfortunately the outcome if uncertain. But I'd be
    interested once I know for sure I'd be able to
    participate in some way. Danny, GreggFriend

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  7. <<If articles were written in Shorthand, what version would we use?>> I suggested above ALL the versions.  We could have the same article, maybe one, and then it written in all the versions.  This way everyone is covered.  Of course we would need a contributor of each version, and if there are several the first contributors shorthand gets in there. Maybe an updated page to show which ones have been contributed, so say we have every version but Series 90, then the others would be crossed off, checked off or something so we know that only Series 90 is needed.   Then if by a deadline it's not submitted it's not in there (not anything against Series 90, just seems the less popular and one I could think of as an example).   <> not large, but enough that someone who knows DJS would have a hard time reading Anniversary.  I know because that's what I switched too.  However with knowing Anniversary I can read just about all the others, so it's hard to go back, but easier to go forward. Debbi

  8. Oh if the eZine isn't big enough ask for other contributors of even the same version.  So we could end up with more Series 90 articles then others. May even need a cut off date of the additional contributors or a minimum amount needed… of course extras could do to the next issue… Debbi

  9. The early Gregg Writers had lots of "theory" information, shorthand penmanship drills, business office advice, things like that.  There were profiles of famous Gregg shorthand writers, results of speed contests, etc.   During one period there was a column about "shorthand around the world", with reports about different systems, famous shorthand authors, and news (like awards and stuff).   The earliest issue I have is September, 1904.  The first article is entitled "Getting a Position", with a focus on efficiency and competence as the main qualities for success.  There's an article entitled "Knockers" about someone who criticized the Gregg system. There's a plate of a "business letter" written in 1904-style Gregg.  There's an "English Department" with lessons in punctuation and capitalization. There's a shorthand plate about "The Power of Habit".  There's a "learner's department" with exercises on the different lessons in the manual.  There's a column about business teachers who have changed positions during the year.  There's a typewriting department (with comments about exhibitions at the World's Fair in St. Louis!)  There's a little column entitled "Why His Salary Was Not Raised" ("He came into the office like a snail./He left the office like a greyhound./He never offered to work nights./He always ate when he was hungry. . . . etc.)  There are articles on "Principles of Shorthand Construction" and "How to Obtain Speed in Shorthand."  There's a page of "Common Expressions in Business Letters" with shorthand outlines (such as "we are in receipt of your esteemed favor of the 10th instant").  And lots of miscellaneous little stuff.    It was a different world 100 years ago . . .   Alex

  10. Absolutely fascinating! Along with new and relevant articles in today's world, it may be fun to "resurrect" some of the old (ancient) articles just to see how the business world has evolved.

    One interesting piece of info, is Government/Military Intelligence Agencies still rely on shorthand. In those buildings, recording devices are disallowed. (You can't even bring your personal cell phone into those buildings.) So they still rely on a person who is proficient in shorthand to "record" all meetings. My husband knows of one gal who is just a wiz and that is all she does, go from meeting to meeting and take notes. She's paid VERY well.

  11. I would like to contribute anyway I can. I believe that all could help whether beginner or advanced in all versions of Gregg Shorthand be it Anniversary, Simplified, etc.   I am learning in the Anniversary version, Unit 13. I have been an avid quiet listener/reader of this web site.     I should have died several times through my many close calls with a heart condition and a major stroke but I have learned alot from my life. I have been asked by several people to write a book sharing my experiences. I think that I could kill two birds with one stone by writing it in Anniversary shorthand threw the Gregg Writer.      

  12. I think it would be a really fine idea to have members contribute essays in shorthand. I would find it beneficial for each person to write in which ever style she or he is most comfortable. I would recommend that each of you consider compiling a Gregg library, since all versions are plentiful and rather inexpensive at abe.com and ebay. Such references could be used when transcription difficulties present themselves. But the benefits of exposure to, and experience with, the various styles of Gregg are too numerous to mention.  DOC

  13. Okay…I finished a lesson few weeks ago and had to shake my head and laugh, but I can't seem to shake the letter in the lesson.
    Seems the major theme in my Simplified for Colleges edition, c. 1958, is letter writing to collect on bad debts 101…but this one took the cake. The letter actually says (paraphrasing here) "..when you were a boy…sure you attempted to avoid a fight but sometimes, backed into a corner and had to 'take a licking'…pay your bad debt because we have a lawyer with a mean left hook…". I'm dying over here!!!
    So…I am very interested in ressurecting the Gregg Writer and am willing get it started. I've been reading the Ascii to Radar thread, wondering if there could be a connection here. Anyone?

  14. This is something that we could really do! unlike other shorthand projects like creating text-to-Gregg convertors or making an online dictionary, every single member of this group has or is developing the skills nesessary to contribute to the new Gregg Writer.  The question is, is this still something that people want to do?

  15. Thinking about the magazine, what features of it would it be worth reviving?  Typical sections included an article on some application of shorthand, a learner section, additional theory drills, reading material (both graded and nongraded), word lists, penmanship pointers, a reporting section, O.G.A. tests, typing tests, Q & A, jokes; in later versions, they also threw in the occasional fashion tips, and articles on how to survive and cope in the business world, including how to deal with your boss, etc.

  16. I'd be interested in resurrecting the Gregg Writer. Of course, as I have said before, this would be much easier to do if we could bring shorthand into the Desktop Publishing Age. No need to create plates if you have Gregg forms stored on a code-page like two-byte languages, and then access this using an Input Method Editor.    Otherwise, you end up scanning pages of handwritten stuffs, which is harder to edit and manipulate, and makes it more difficult for folks like myself to contribute, since I have crappy-looking shorthand.    🙂

  17. One of the features of the Gregg Writer was to improve shorthand writing (by reading and writing) and if you do decide to contribute you will improve your shorthand merely by wanting it readable by others.  And maybe to you it's "crappy-looking" but to us it might be really nice and legible.   Of course until there is an input method, the scanning would work, yes it would require us to write lots of shorthand, but that's one of the ways to learn to write well too.  Plus I would like to see others shorthand outlines then I won't feel like my is so "crappy-looking" when I see others. Just some thoughts. Debbi

  18. Based on the high level of interest in reading other people’s shorthand, what if we encouraged anyone and everyone to just post scanned files from their notebooks (nothing fancy) into the documents section of this website.

    This would be a short-term solution until the e-zine/fan-zine/web site etc. is established.

    Does this group have enough space margin to do this?

  19. I pay for increased storage space: out of our 30MB limit, we've only used about 10%.  If someone doesn't have room on their personal storage, just e-mail a file to me and I'll post it in the new Gregg Writer folder in the Documents section.   Disclaimer: documents posted by me are subject to removal at anytime without notice. ________________________________ Shorthand: isn't it about time?

  20. Thank you John. I will follow-through with some beginner writing shortly.

    For content ideas, I thought about public domain literature. Is it safe to assume that any literature that is available from Project Gutenberg's free e-books would be safe for posting in Gregg?

  21. After I asked the question above. I decided to go a read the fine print. The relevant words to my queston are quoted below from the Gutenberg fine print.

    "This PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm eBook, like most PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm eBooks, is a "public domain" work distributed by Professor Michael S. Hart
    through the Project Gutenberg Association (the "Project").
    Among other things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright on or for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without permission and without paying copyright royalties. Special rules, set forth below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this eBook under the "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark."

    So, I think I would be safe.

  22. Well done, John. a pragmatic solution!

    Chuck, do you mean the *ordinary* users have a 100K-document limit? Most of the documents there now are bigger than that.

    As I understood John, the "Gregg Writer" would be the folder (which has no size limit of its own); the (xKilobyte-maximum) documents inside it would be like articles. Is that right, John?

    If space becomes a problem in the long run, a single user-editable "Gregg Writer" page here (like a wiki) might suffice because its "document" links could point to anyone's storage space. Most of us should have a few MB available from our ISPs. (Not that I actually have the time to set such a thing up—sorry!)

    -Derek

  23. PDF would probably be best. We could easily import scaned pages of Gregg shorthand to Adobe Illustrator and convert them into vectored drawings (essentially it will trace them). This would really reduce the overal file size less high resolution pictures.   I'm the one who made the drill sheets in the documents section. I'd be willing to help out with this.

  24. I finally added a beginner's writer file to the Gregg Writer folder in the documents section (lined-out mistakes and all).  I'm using Anniversary to best of my ability.   I can definitely tell you that my words-per-minute rate has a very, very long way to go.  Please feel free to give me all the constructive criticism you notice.  One thing that I can tell already is that I don't keep to the line of writing the way I should, and that I don't have enough distinction in the length of similar characters.    I did not notice until after I uploaded the file that the center line separating the two columns of my writing did not scan.   So, you'll need to read it has two columns with an imaginary line down the middle.   I did not finish the Sherlock Holmes short story "The Red-Headed League" in this first excercize, but will persevere.   Eric

  25. Where'd everyone's interest go?

    I'm currently in limbo between Simplified and Anniversary (absolutely torn between having interesting things to read or better developing my speed/penmanship instead), but will gladly write and scan stuff for people to read! I'm very self-conscious about my penmanship, so expect much auto-flagellation in the process.

    This resurrection seems like an excellent idea, especially for writers of systems beyond Anniversary who have literally *nothing interesting to read* for practice. I can contribute poems and specific tips for penmanship improvement that I've used as a perfectionist.

    My ultimate goal will be to transcribe some of Lovecraft's short stories in chapter installments. I salivate just thinking about writing words like "eldritch" or "inchoate", which I could actually probably find in the shorthand dictionary!!

  26. I too would like to see a new version of The Gregg Writer (which was long defunct before I began shorthand – but I did subscribe to Today's Secretary when I was in school). In relooking at Simplified, Anniversary and now Pre-Anniversary, I am amazed that John Robert Gregg could have the acumen to devise a shorthand which essentially remained unchanged until his death. Doe anyhone know if "Simplified" was his brain child or the creation of McGraw-Hill (to sell more books)? Could it be that by 1949 shorthand had essentially become considered useful only for business practice? If there is a new Gregg Writer I know it's against the grain of most DJ users, but I really think there should be a portion devoted to Simplified and Pre-Simplified.

  27. I totally agree JRG. I'd say the families of Gregg shorthand look like this:

    Pre-Anniversary
    Anniversary

    Simplified

    Diamond Jubilee
    Series 90
    Centennial

    The point being that going from Simplified back isn't terribly difficult (I'd say that I'm 90% of the way there already after twoish weeks), and there's much more readability between Simplified and Anni than between DJS and Simplified.

    I also have the impression that there are just as many writers of the first group as there are of DJS and beyond. So we should be represented 🙂

    I'll gladly contribute in Simplified or Anni. There are scanners at PSU I can use, so it's just a matter of me getting over my imperfections and scanning something 🙂

  28. I, too, would be very happy to contribute either Anniversary or Simplified items – I just discovered in going through old books that I do have some of the "Expert" shortcut books mentioned on another thread … I must have bought them right before going to college in a 2nd-hand shop, but in the beginning of one of the books (published in 1928) there's a long list of outlines changed from 1916 to Anniversary … nether outline is difficult to read when given choices, but for writing purposes I really feel much more comfortable with Anniversary. So count me in. I can e-mail .tiff or .jpg or whatever format is desired by the editor. I like the idea of an on-line PDF we could download. Although I use a power Mac, I have no problem downloading from the MSN site, so count on me for contributions once the Gregg Writer gets started! (There were many business letters of that nature mentioned above in the Simplified books … don't laugh, that's how I thought collection letters should be composed when I was but 18!)

  29. I've been having a great time the last couple of days with a December 1938 issue of The Gregg Writer, a magazine clearly devised to maintain interest in as well as entertain students and writers of shorthand.

    There are super articles expounding on lessons in the Manual. The issue in question devotes a few pages to advance phrasing and disjoined and joined prefixes. There is an excellent theory review for reading and writing practice and many short articles and stories written in beautiful shorthand.

    Then there are the print articles. Not too interested in the tale of a secretary about to become a bride, I moved on to the next article and was surprised to be greeted by a photograph of a young Batista in uniform smiling at me. Come to find out the former head of the Cuban military had visited John Robert Gregg when he was in the U.S. for 1938 Armistice Day and revealed shorthand had played an important role in his climb to prominence. As a young man in the military, Sr. Batista had started to study several different shorthand systems and finally settled on Gregg. His talents were in great demand for military conferences and his usual speed was 160 wpm. Interesting, how many powerful leaders found shorthand an important stepping stone on their path to success.

    The earlier Gregg Writer I was perusing last week came out while people were making the transition from the 1916 to the 1929 Manual and had several articles by JRG explaining some differences in outlines and solidification of principles. Now, I know not if JRG actually wrote all the articles attributed to him but, if not, he had an excellent ghost writer. (I suspect he created most of his own prose as there is remarkable consistency in philosophy and phraseology from early 1900's through the 1940's.) JRG had to have had great intelligence and creativity to surround himself with a winning publicity machine that kept Gregg Shorthand in the American forefront for so many decades.

    I'm sure all Gregg writers kept up with their shorthand by continuing a subscription to the magazine long after their student days for the articles and stories are entertaining and educational. It would be so cool if The Gregg Writer could be revived today. I've written before, it's a shame McGraw Hill emasculated the magazine and turned it into Today's Secretary. Or was it by the '50's the general public had concluded writing shorthand was not manly?

  30. For McGraw-Hill, like other big publishers, the bottom line is always how much money a particular product can earn . . . I'm sure that was a factor in the 1950's when the Gregg Writer was stopped–the income just wasn't worth the production expenditures.  And today there'd be no hope–the group of shorthand writers in the U.S. is miniscule, and there is no longer a professional group of shorthand experts (writers and theorists) to produce such a publication.    But oh, those old issues are something, aren't they?  It must have been something to really look forward to each month.  And it was a brilliant strategy to keep people engaged with shorthand long after they finished their courses.  It's hard for me to imagine the huge amount of work that must have been involved in producing the magazine itself, running the contests, developing new material . . .   Alex

  31. Similar effort is made by the various national and international contract bridge organizations. I've been an ACBL Life Master for years and still subscribe to The Bridge World and Bridge Magazine to keep up with latest bidding theories and to keep my mind active with play quizzes. Granted, the number of bridge players is not what it was in Culbertson and Goren's day, but there's still enough interest to justify these publications. However, I fear the total number of people who have maintained any interest in shorthand is but a small percentage of those who continue to play bridge socially and in tournaments.

    But Alex is correct. An analysis of the contents of the two Gregg Writers I've seen indicate a remarkable expenditure of effort (and money) making the magazine both intellectually stimulating and entertaining. The best teachers and shorthand writers contributed helpful articles and interviews to promote continued interest in shorthand as well as generate continued public interest in speed contests. JRG, had he chosen to open an advertising agency, would probably have put all other agencies out of business, such was the momentum he and his staff created.

    1. At the time this post was written, we were hosted by MSN Groups, which had very limited posting capabilities. That is why the idea of resurrecting the Gregg Writer was a good one because we couldn't post full documents in MSN. Upon moving to Blogger, we are now able to host files and write posts with pictures, etc. That is why you see a more consistent release of posts from the old Gregg Writer (at least monthly), as the articles are relevant for studying shorthand, even though the material may be dated. That is the form of the "revival" that I'm following for now. However, anyone here can contribute to a virtual Gregg Writer magazine by using the facilities of this blog. If anyone here is interested in making regular contributions of that kind, go ahead! I welcome that effort wholeheartedly.

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