History Detectives

The PBS show, “History Detectives,” just contacted me because of my shorthand site. They have some shorthand written in the early ’20s, but it sure looks like Pitman to me. I had to send it off to a friend who knows early 20th century Pitman for a transcript.
Damn.  So much for my 15 minutes of fame!

(by Marc
for group greggshorthand)

13 comments Add yours
  1. That would have been fun. I'd still be interested in seeing a segment like this on shorthand — though Pitman is hardly ancient hieroglyphs! (And I wouldn't dare suggest to an age-sensitive Pitman user like my mum that it was!)

  2. Although Gregg became the "dominant" shorthand taught in the U.S., I know Pitman was still taught in parts of New York state as "recently" as 1958 because a girl who transferred to my high school from New York mid-term could not join our class as she'd already had several months of Pitman before her family moved.

  3. Phil's story is amusing. I actually checked out one of those teen romance novels from the 1950s—no, I don't normally opt for that genre. But the title was too intriguing to pass up: Toby: Law Stenographer. I just had to see how they'd work a romance story of out that particular line of work. And the story happened to be set in New York City.

    The only thing that hit me wrong was when Toby actually starts learning shorthand:
    Even away from school, as people talked, her mind automatically translated their words into the complicated little symbols of the Pitman system of shorthand.And I thought to myself, how could the author do that to the poor girl?! 😮

    At least the author expressed it honestly enough—"the complicated little symbols…" As opposed to "the smooth, light and graceful curves of the Gregg system…"

  4. Anyone who checks the Teachers' handbooks which laid out the lesson plans for class should readily see that half a semester into beginning Gregg, one who was unfamiliar with the Gregg methodology could not be absorbed into a classroom environment. I seem to remember the girl's name was Marilyn Hugg and when she joined a beginning class her next year she did quite well. LOL

  5. Seriously, though, as I embark on learning Evans Shorthand, I'm wondering if this isn't all a lot easier the second time around, once you've got the notion of swapping out phonemes for little squiggles. (I'm hoping that's the case, at least.)

  6. I studied the Evans text last night (okay, while "The Apprentice" was on in the background — this year's display of vulgar narcissism mistaking itself for business acumen). Because I already had mental pegs for so many of the principles, I woke up remembering a lot of the Evans strokes.

    I have to say, I really like it, especially since my handwriting is small and careful, so the big, flowing curves of Gregg have always felt to my hand like roller-skating on ice, whereas Evans is smaller and more angular. That said, seeing another system gives me an appreciation for all the nuances in Gregg.

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