French Gregg

I just found a sweet little volume, “Sténographie Gregg”,  1924, by Ernest W. Farmer M.D. (!), published by Gregg but printed in Norwood, Massachusetts.  It came with the “Clef de la Sténographie Gregg”, a single sheet of “errata”, and a form from Marywood College in Scranton, PA listing those who were absent on April 20, 1936 from the Commercial Law course, signed by Sister M. St. Agnes.  Eight young women had something better to do that day . . . It has great sentences, like “Elle est malade, elle crie” and “J’espère que les oeufs sont frais.”  The book is pretty much in perfect shape.

Does anyone know who Dr. Farmer was, and how he would be authoring a shorthand book in French?  There are so many little mysteries in the world . . .
(by Lee for
group greggshorthand)

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4 comments Add yours
  1. That was the first edition of Sténographie Gregg that was published by The Gregg Publishing Company. The book was revised in 1931 and 1939 by R. J. Sénécal and Frances Lippman from the University of Ottawa, in collaboration with Louis Leslie. While I don't have any biographical details about Dr. Farmer, it wouldn't surprise me if he had created this version beforehand and sent the manuscript to Dr. Gregg for revision and approval. At the time, Mr. Leslie coordinated foreign language adaptations of the manual: many of those adaptations were rejected or left in draft form.

    Some of the conventions used in Farmer's adaptation are very odd in my opinion, especially the treatment of the nasals and miscellaneous word endings. The Sénécal version of Sténographie Gregg looks like the Anniversary manual, is much more complete than the Farmer version, and has a companion book, the Études de Vitesse (Gregg Speed Studies). For that reason, I haven't scanned my copy of Farmer's adaptation, but if there is some interest, I could scan it as I believe it is out of copyright. The key and the errata would be interesting to see as well.

    1. Interesting that both Sénécal's and Farmer’s books are advertised side by side in my British Anniversary manual, 1930.

      Did anyone ever digitise Farmer’s edition? I’m sure it would be an fascinating read.

  2. I would be thrilled if Farmer's book, along with the 'Clef de la sténographie Gregg' and Errata mentionned by Lee were posted on this blog. 

    I've been using French Gregg shorthand for more than ten years on a day-to-day basis. I first learned 'La sténographie Gregg simplifiée', by Sœur Marie-Ernestine, and then the Diamond Jubilee version. Then I was able to find a copy of Senecal and Lippman's book, which are definitely better for speed.

    But last year, I was finally able to find Farmer's book (not the 'Clef', though). I've been working on it, studying it, and using it since, still trying to find out which translation is better between Farmer and Sénécal. 

    Farmer is a bit weird at first, but is definitely shorter than Sénécal. Some parts may be nothing short of 'genius', and much of Sénécal is inspired by it. Many rules are clearer in Farmer (many are taken for granted in Sénécal, but not clearly stated). Yet legibility might suffer in Farmer; there are more angles, and much pen lifting for word endings, in the writing. Also, it seems that a lot of vowels with Farmer end up being disconnected (I expect Farmer was a previous Pitman writer). Farmer is closer to the 1916 edition of Gregg Shorthand, which commends the book. The biggest fault I find with the translation may be that there is no sign for ng-nk, which make some words (like 'anglais') rather difficult to trace or to read. Farmer's translation has not as many word signs as Sénécal (and some are assigned to rare words). Finally, Sénécal presents a very thourough treatment of verbs (which is lacking in Farmer).

    1. I'm partial to Sénécal's adaptation because it mimics the Anniversary manual and it is more complete, but I also like the briefness of Farmer's book (although some conventions appear odd to me).

      If Lee makes a scan of Farmer's book, the errata, and the key, I'll be able to host.

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