Gregg Shorthand – New Rapid Course (1940)

I have received this book today. It is copyright 1940 by the Gregg Publishing Company Ltd (Gregg House, 51 Russell Square, London WC1) and was printed by Morrison and Gibb Ltd, (London and Edinburgh).

It contains 122 numbered pages, preceded by a preface and ‘A Talk With The Beginner’. Inside the front cover of the book, there is a chart of Brief Forms, and at the back a chart of Most Used Phrases.

There are 10 chapters, broken down into 30 units, and two appendices: ‘Keys to Frequent-Word Drills’ and ‘Keys to Word Drills’.

Although I am not very familiar with the 1929 Anniversary Manual, I have already noticed that there is at least one difference: in the Rapid Course, the vowel combinations ea and ia are both represented by the large circle with a dot placed inside, whereas in the Anniversary Manual, this is used for ia only; ea has a dash.

Also, I don’t think the chapters and units correspond the Anni Manual, although in the preface, Dr Gregg says they do; perhaps the UK edition was different from the US version?

Anyway, yet another Gregg Shorthand book added to my collection.

The book I really want to see is the unpublished New Standard Course which Dr Gregg was preparing when he passed away, and was evidently used by Leslie and Zoubek as a basis for the Simplified Manual. Please can somebody go to the New York Public Library and ask to see the John Robert Gregg Papers, Manuscripts and Archives? There appears to be a draft copy in box 65. You could make a copy of this important work and share it with the group and make me very happy 🙂 (I can’t as a live in the UK, otherwise I would.)

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5 comments Add yours
  1. Yes. That manual was published in the UK. However, it was the basis for the abbreviated course that was published for use by the Armed Forces during World War II. It is overall a good manual, but it comes short in some areas (abbreviating principle, for example). It is a good reference to have.

  2. All of these new surprises this week . . . I honestly thought I was familiar with most Gregg publications, but the company was so prolific it seems like there's always the possibility of new discoveries.

    How does this "rapid course" relate to the "Gregg Shorthand Junior Manual" (1925, 1927)? Or were they totally separate approaches?

    1. They are two different beasts. The Junior manual was published with the intention of being used in Junior High Schools (hence the name). (The draft name was "Junior-High School Manual of Shorthand.") Three editions were published: two Pre-Anniversary (copyright 1925 and 1927) and one Anniversary (no copyright date, although my copy was printed July 1938). The manual contains ten lessons, with three units per lesson. In the 1927 and Anniversary editions, there is an appendix with two additional lessons for those students that would continue to study shorthand in senior high schools. These additional lessons covered shorthand principles related to business dictation (phrasing in general, special business phrases, additional word endings, compound disjoined prefixes, compound words, points of the compass, intersection, initials, cities and states, and geographical name terminations). The lessons are well laid out, with lots of explanations in the beginning chapters, including penmanship and penmanship drills. The book had an accompanying reading book (Junior Readings in Gregg Shorthand).

  3. I believe I have the book (booklet?) from the armed forces to which you refer. The compact presentation of the system is excellent but there is a lack of reading and writing material which the book indicates should be supplied by the workbook. In any event, I noted that some of the theory has changed slightly. As just one example, the brief form school/skill is just for school, skill taking the E.

    1. Yes, there is a separate workbook with guided practice. The workbook is also very good and different from the regular workbooks that were published, because it is also a study guide. It provides quite a bit of practice material. It is 252 pages, larger than the actual manual!

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