Diary of a WWI Soldier

I received a request for assistance in the transcription of some shorthand notes from a diary of a British WWI soldier.

Mr. William Pritchett fought in France during WWI and ended up a prisoner of
war in Germany. He kept a diary: most of it is in plain English, but some parts are written in Malone’s Script Phonography. His grandson kept the diary and requested a third party to transcribe the complete diary, who upon finding the shorthand notes, contacted me. Luckily, we also have a letter that Mr. Pritchett sent to the British War Office in 1919
explaining the circumstances of his capture. With it were pages from a
notebook with a copy of the letter written in shorthand — so we have sort of a “Rosetta
Stone” to start with. The only pages in the diary with shorthand are those that I’m posting. I’m also including a list of brief forms that Pritchett appears to use — the list was compiled by the gentleman who asked for shorthand help.

Is there anyone in the blog that can read Script Phonography, or that is motivated to take a stab at this? Overall, I think this is a doable project, but requires some time if one is not versed in Malone’s shorthand. Feel free to use the blog to write your attempts.

Attachment: pritchett-diary.pdf
Attachment: pritchett-letter-and-transcription.pdf
Attachment: pritchett-alphabet-brief-forms-list.pdf
Attachment: pritchett-diary-first-two-pages-hires.pdf 

7 comments Add yours
  1. Well, amazing. I can't read Malone's phonography, but I agree that it should be decipherable. I do have a copy of the Script Phonography text from about that era (the 29th edition, no date, unfortunately). I posted a couple of scans here a while back, but could scan and post more if that would be useful to whoever wants to tackle the project.

    1. Ah. I missed the link. The organization of the two editions is quite different from lesson to lesson. But the initial page presenting the alphabet and diphthongs is identical, so I presume there was no fundamental change in the theory.

      I also notice that there is no date on this 14th edition, either, unless I overlooked it.

  2. Carlos,
    The bottoms of the first two page scanned are cut off in the image. There is some shorthand at the beginning of the second page, and it looks like it might begin at the bottom of the first page. Could you request a rescan of these pages so that the bottom lines of the first page are visible?

    1. I did a while ago. Last I know, the grandson is on holiday, so unfortunately that's all I have for now.

      I have also transcribed some of the shorthand and sent to the gentleman that contacted me. I found another edition of the Malone book (from the Leslie Collection at Rider University) with more examples, and that also helped. The system is pretty interesting and very compact!

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