The Mysterious Winifred Kenna Richmond

It seems that there is so little information about Winifred Kenna Richmond.  This is the woman who created the beautiful shorthand plates for the following green cover Anniversary Novels published between 1931 and 1933.
–A Christmas Carol (1931)
–Creeds of Great Business Men (1932)
–The Diamond Necklace (1933)
–The Great Stone Face (6-1931)
–Hamlet (1931)
–The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1932)
–Letters From a Self-Made Merchant to His Son (1933)
–Man Without a Country (1933?)
–Rip Van Winkle (6-1931)

As Winifred Kenna, she also created the plates for the original PA 1916 version of A Xmas Carol (1918).  In addition, she wrote plates for Pre-Anniversary and Anniversary Gregg Shorthand textbooks, readers, and dictionaries. 

The attached Page 76 from the 9-1913 Gregg Writer, shows a nice photo of 19 year-old Winifred Kenna, winner of a Chicago Typewriting Championship.  She was a graduate of the Gregg School in Chicago.  By 1913, she was Stenographer and Assistant to Alice L. Rinne, who was the editor of the Organization of Gregg Artists (OGA) Department for the Gregg Writer.  The 9-1916 Gregg Writer shows that Winifred Kenna took over as editor of the Gregg Writer OGA Department. 

Around 1915, Alice L. Rinne married Hubert A. Hager, Manager of the Gregg Chicago Office.  As Alice Rinne-Hager, she wrote the PA 1902 Sign of the Four in Gregg Shorthand (1915).  She also wrote many of the shorthand plates for Gregg textbooks and the Gregg Writer.  Shortly after her marriage to Hager, she retired, leaving the OGA editor position open for Winifred Kenna. 

Attachment: WinifredKennaContest_GW9-1913.pdf

(by Paul for
group greggshorthand)


Previous post:
Next post:
22 comments Add yours
  1. Speaking of Mrs. Richmond, I just acquired a set of 15 Gregg Shorthand books from her personal collection, some of them with signatures and dedication messages from Gregg, Louis Leslie, and Charles Zoubek, among others. Once I get them, I'll scan the signature pages.

    And yes, it appears that she wrote the plates for the Anniversary Functional Method manual.

  2. I got the books today. They were from her personal collection, and it appeared as if they were subsequently donated to a library in Tacoma, Washington. The books themselves are not out of the ordinary (other than of course being autographed by her, or dedicated to her by Gregg, Leslie, Zoubek, which to me makes them more valuable). However, one of the books caught my attention: the Anniversary dictionary. If you flick through the pages, you will notice that every single word has a penciled number next to it. It turns out that the number is the paragraph in the Anniversary manual which shows the principle by which the word was constructed. So for example, she has a 34 for the word "aback", corresponding to the principle in paragraph 34 of the manual. In some other words, she has "BF" for brief form. In another copy of the dictionary, she overwrote some of the outlines with her own corrections and outlines. For example, she circled the word "impeccable" and below the page she wrote "no angle", and proceeding to write it without the angle between the c and the p. Another one was "nursery", for which she inserted an e between the s and the r. Instead of using the loop for the ending "ally", she wrote "textually" as t-left s-t-l-e. There are many others.

    I will scan some of the dedication pages.

  3. That must be an early version of the Anniv. dictionary, because my version shows "impeccable" with no angle. Also, when you look closely at the outline, it is thinner than the outlines around it. Perhaps an subsequent edit according to her notes? Sounds like you found some treasures!

  4. Good catch! It didn't occur to me to check with my other copies, and you are absolutely correct. This appears to be an early version of the dictionary, and subsequent editions had her corrections. These are indeed treasures!

  5. I recently reviewed the Gregg Writer issues from 4-1914 through 1-1915. I found out more details about Winifred Kenna Richmond's takeover of the O.G.A. department in the Gregg Writer:
    — 8-1914 – Alice Rinne was head of the O.G.A. Department in the Gregg Writer.
    — 9-1914 – Winifred Kenna took over the O.G.A Department in the Gregg Writer.
    –10-1914 – A brief article explains that Winifred Kenna took over the O.G.A. Department because Alice Rinne married Hubert A. Hager. The text from the wedding announcement is included.

    It's a sad commentary of the sexism of the times that a women was expected to drop her career when she got married. Alice Rinne Hager did manage to publish "The Sign of The Four" in Gregg Shorthand in late 1915. But I expect that look book had been in the works prior to her marriage.

    Georgie Gregg did a tiny bit of work after marrying Mr. Gingell.

    Winifred Kenna continued working for some time after marrying Mr. Richmond. She must have been a women ahead of her time.

  6. In hindsight, the following quip can be read many ways. Emphasis on the second clause, and know that I'm a female engineer.

    Back then, quitting work when you got married didn't matter much, given the pitiful salaries they paid women compared to men.

  7. I find it interesting that Harriet Johnson wrote the Shorthand Plates for most of the Gregg Novels in the 1920's for the PA 1916 Manual, including:
    –Rip Van Winkle – Revised (1921)
    –Legend of Sleeping Hollow – Revised
    –Man Without a Country (1922)
    –The Great Stone Face – Revised

    I have read all of Harriet Johnson's Gregg Shorthand Novels. I have to say in all honestly that her work was terrible. The proportions of her Shorthand are way off and hard to read. Winifred Kenna was already heading the O.G.A. Department for the Gregg Writer in 1914. Her plates for the original Xmas Carol (1918) are beautiful. I wonder why she didn't write those 1920's novels. Her plates for those 1930's Anniversary Novels are beautiful works of art.

    Having reading all of their Shorthand Novels, here is how I rank the four women who wrote most of the novels:
    –#1 Winifred Kenna Richmond. Beautifully written shorthand plates using correct proportions.
    –#2 Georgie Gregg Gingell – Her work on Alice in Wonderland is excellent.
    –#3 Alice Rinne Hager – Her biggest work "The Sign of the Four" is decent, but there are some problems with proportions.
    –#4 Harriet M. Johnson – Sloppy. So many characters are out of proportion, which makes her shorthand hard to read

    Most of the PA 1902 novels have uncredited shorthand plates. I wonder if John Gregg did some of those early ones. The shorthand is VERY slopply in those.

  8. I found some interesting information about Mrs. Richmond. Her mother accused her father of adultery and wanted to divorce him, but apparently the divorce fell through before the day of the final decree. She had a son, Rhea Richmond, who served in the Army, but unfortunately was KIA in WWII. She died in 1964 at the age of 69.

    There is more info, with pictures here.

  9. I find it interesting, from a personal angle, where Mrs. Kenna spent her life. I grew up near New York City, my wife near Chicago. I went to college near Sunbury, PA, and now live near Monmouth, IL. I've been in NYC, Chicago, Sunbury, and Monmouth, so Mrs. Kenna and I have trodden common ground.

    1. I also find it fascinating that she left the east coast to go to Tacoma, WA. In those days, that wasn't an easy trip. I wonder if the loss of her son made her make that trek, away from everything.

    1. Yes, I find it very feminine. And as an experiment, I put 2 open shorthand books side by side (one by Winifred Kenna and the other by Louis Leslie) and asked my husband (who doesn't know shorthand at all) which one was done by the woman. He guessed right.

      Anyone else think so?

    2. I wouldn't describe it as feminine — I would say it is elegant and artistic, just like the cursive penmanship of the early 20th century. It is definitely not sloppy!

      Some of the books that Louis Leslie wrote were written from dictation, and the shorthand will look completely different!

Leave a Reply