Dr. Gregg’s Family

I’m curious if anyone has ever found information about what became of Dr. Gregg’s two children (with his second wife Janet).  Did they ever have any involvement with the company or with shorthand?  They would have still been young children when McGraw-Hill bought the Gregg company. 

And how long did Janet Gregg continue to work for the company after the McGraw-Hill purchase?

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  1. The only references I have seen online of J.R. Gregg, Jr. is one as a contributor to the NYPL Gregg archive, and a reference at the "find-a-grave" site which indicates that passed away in 2007:


    Of the daughter, I have found nothing.

    Janet Gregg did remarry at some point to a gentleman named Howell. She signed her name subsequently as "Janet K. Gregg-Howell."

    I've searched google on that name several times and mostly came up with a few letters-to-the-editor in the google newspaper archive. None of these were related to shorthand, mostly to current issues in her community.

    There's an oral archive recording of her at one of the big universities, but when I looked into it I found it was in a restricted group requiring special permission to hear. I think Charles Lee Swem is also represented in that special archive.

    1. I don't think that the gentleman dying in 2007 is him. He was born in 1935. In 2011, it seems that he donated to the University of Illinois to establish the David Kinley Memorial Fund for the Classics. David Kinley was President of the University of Illinois from 1929 to 1930, and was the father of Gregg's second wife (John Jr's mother), Janet Kinsley. You can read about it here.

      Is the oral archive at the University of Illinois?

  2. A little more about Mrs. Gregg, from what I could gather. Mr. Alfred C. Howell, to whom she married afterwards, was a widower and a vice president at Guaranty Trust Company of New York. (This was according to Rick Cypert in his book "America's Agatha Christie: Mignon Good Eberhart, Her Life and Works", published in 2005; an extract is on Google books.) In 1959, Guaranty Trust merged with J.P. Morgan. Even though Guaranty Trust was much larger and had more capital than J.P. Morgan, the latter was considered to be the buyer, and employees from J.P. Morgan were the primary managers. Mr. and Mrs. Howell lived in a 75-acre estate near Bethel, CT — it seems that the land belonged to her, as it was purchased by Dr. Gregg in 1937. In 1977, Mrs. Gregg Howell appears to have donated part of that land to The Nature Conservancy (and called it "Gregg Preserve"), which later transferred the land to the Wilton Land Conservation Trust.

    Bottom line: I don't think that Mrs. Gregg Howell needed to have a job at McGraw-Hill to pay her bills …

  3. The story continues. Mrs. Gregg assumed the presidency of The Gregg Publishing Company on his death and was in that position around a year or so, when McGraw-Hill purchased the company in late 1948. McGraw-Hill not only bought the publishing company in the US, Canada, and the UK, but all of Gregg's enterprises, including the Gregg College in Chicago and the Gregg Schools in the UK. After the buyout, she continued as member of the Board of Directors of the reorganized Gregg Publishing Company, who had James McGraw, Jr. as chairman of the board — he was the son of one of the founders. She also stayed as editor of The Gregg Writer until June 1949. Starting in September 1949, her name was no longer mentioned in the editor's page of the magazine (nor in the first issue of Today's Secretary in 1950) — she may have continued serving in the board, but for sure she didn't have a leadership role within the magazine.

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