Questions about the earliest Manuals

First question:
Dr Gregg’s the first version of his shorthand (1888) was in
two parts and in separate pamphlets:
“The Phonetic Handwriting”
“The Reporter’s Handbook”.
The second version (1893) was also in two parts and
“The Elements”
“The Reporting Style”.
I have seen PDF copies of these except for “The Reporter’s
Handbook”. I wanted to know if a PDF copy of this pamphlet exists anywhere?
Second question:
I am confused about the dates of the third and fourth
In various places, I have seen both 1897 and 1898 for the
third version, and for the fourth version 1901, 1902 and 1908.
Do these differing dates refer to prints rather than editions,
or were there delays involved as with the Anniversary Edition, or is there some
other reason?
13 comments Add yours
  1. In “The Evolution of Gregg Shorthand”, Gregg writes:

    “It is my impression that a smaller order was given for “The Reporters’ Handbook,” [than the 500 copies of “The Phonetic Handwriting” that had been ordered] and that there are still fewer copies of it in existence […].”

    So this seems to be a rarity, which may explain why nobody has made a PDF of it.

    (“The Evolution of Gregg Shorthand” was posted to this group here: )

  2. If you want to trace the evolution even farther back, you can look at Script Phonography

    which Thomas Stratford Malone took credit for but I believe John Robert Gregg was involved in designing, I think? Anybody got a link to a clear explanation of the dispute between them?

    And Script Phonography was inspired to some degree by Sloan-Duployan Shorthand; there is a somewhat inconvenient copy of a mini textbook about that at yonder link

    1. The story of Malone's shenanigans is told in detail by Leslie Cowan in his fantastic biography entitled John Robert Gregg, which I know you would thoroughly enjoy! He was certainly a scurvy character—the word "parasite" isn't too strong—and he nearly derailed Dr. Gregg's efforts at an early point by filing a frivilous lawsuit, among other offenses.

      The Sloan/Duployan pamphlet was interesting. Among other things, you can see a transition underway from shading to using length of stroke for distinguishing soft/hard sounds. Baby steps, to be sure.

      But I don't think the author would have any grounds to claim infringement. The only thing I would find "inconvenient" with it would be trying to learn it. 🙂

      Anyway, Dr. Gregg never hesitated to give appropriate credit to his predecessors, nor would there have been any need. Here's a man who solved the most important problems in the art that the most brilliant shorthand scholars had struggled with for 2,000 years—and he did it by the time he was 19 years old. No strain on his ego! 🙂

    1. I think that Paul James has written on this here before, though I don't know if he's posted anything recently.

      Paul has done some very important work tracking down and archiving old Gregg materials. Most of the old Gregg shorthand novels offered here or at were made available through his efforts, and he has ensured the preservation of some real treasures.

      Anyway, I seem to remember some posts a few years back where he offered some detailed analyses comparing different print editions of the early Gregg manuals. And I do mean "detailed." He noted certain word or outline changes on a given page from one printing to the next. Some changes, as Carlos notes, are probably corrections; others were just minor modifications to improve a little here or there.

      Again, I'm going by loose recollection, and I wouldn't be able to locate them quickly. But if you peruse some old threads, perhaps just keep an eye out for his posts. I think he mostly just went by his first name.

  3. Regarding the “Reporter’s Handbook”, the New York Public Library has two copies of the fifth printing (1889) and two copies of the sixth (1892).

    The Library’s “Guide to the John Robert Gregg Papers”, (Manuscripts and Archive Division) shows these located in box number 116, folder 4.

    The Guide can be found here:
    – towards the top of the page, there is a button to click: “Detailed Description (PDF)”.

    I have previously corresponded with a member of staff at the Library and have been advised they provide a remote duplication service:

    “Our duplication service is PDF scans only, delivered by email. The cost is 10 dollars for the first 10 pages and .50 cents for every page thereafter. There are probably around 120-140 pages in all in the manual. Reproduction can take up to 6 weeks depending on the current workload. Once you agree to pay charges, your photocopy order will be placed in queue with our copy services. After some amount of time, you will be sent a precise invoice by email. In return you must remit payment. The preferred method of payment is check or money order, made out to The New York Public Library. All checks must be made in US dollars from a US account.

    Once payment is received, you will be sent the copies as a PDF. For smaller orders, they will be sent as an attachment. For orders resulting in pdfs over 20MB, they will be transferred to you over Dropbox, a file sharing service. You will also receive a copy of the order form, with identifying information redacted, for your records.”

    (The manual referred to in the email is what I hoped was the “Standard” version which Dr Gregg had been preparing when he passed away; after other correspondence with the Library, I concluded this was probably not the document I was looking for.)

    I don’t have a US bank account, but I was wondering if any other member of the group does….?

    BTW, there’s lots of other interesting stuff in the NYPL Gregg Papers collection, such as The Greghand Reading book (box 105, file 1), a “Summary of the New Features in the Anniversary Edition [of the Gregg Shorthand Manual]” (box 104, file 6), a document entitled “Agreement” by Dr Gregg and Thomas Malone (box 114, file 8) and many more items. The Guide has an additional section: “John Robert Gregg Papers (Additions)”, where we find a UK edition of Greghand (container 34, file 13), proposed changes and rejected chapters to manuals (containers 36 and 37). There are also photographs, letters and film footage.

  4. The Pre-Anniversary versions of the Gregg Shorthand manuals are:
    –1888 – 1st version – Pamphlet published in Liverpool
    –1893 – 2nd version – Pamphlet published in US
    –1898 – 3rd version – 1st Hardback version
    –1902 – 4th version
    –1916 – 5th version

    Links to PDF scans of the above manuals above can be found on the Internet Archives web page accessed by the link below. There are 38 items that can be accessed from links on that web page, including different versions of Novels in Gregg Shorthand and some English text versions that can be used as keys. I determined that all of the items on this page are in the public domain. Many of them did not have a proper copyright date on the copyright page or the copyright was not renewed. I scanned many of these books or paid a company to scan them from library collections. Most of the novels were scanned in color.,

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