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Greetings to all lovers of shorthand,

I am reacquainting myself with Gregg shorthand after many years away. My education came at the tail end of the Series 90 era taught in high school. I thought shorthand was fascinating but I never became proficient at writing much over 40 WPM. I was the only boy in class as well, which was a novelty. I thought that shorthand would help me take notes in college but I became an electrical engineer, so there were mostly equations to write in my notebooks.

Now, with some free time, I have found many resources on the Internet to practice shorthand. My learning journey began at . I find it interesting that this resource is better than my actual classes were at teaching me to write shorthand. I am able to write most of the brief forms well, my fluid writing of long outlines needs practice.

Referring to very old resources, long out of print and seeing the evolution of Gregg is very interesting to me. The instruction manuals from the 1910’s and 1920’s contain surprisingly helpful advice. It really seems to have been the golden age of shorthand. And I have also learned that the “broken circle” was, in fact, once actually a broken circle rather than a circle with a line through it.

I will try to use Gregg shorthand for personal note taking again or to write a mysterious autobiography to be discovered generations from now 🙂


Kendall Willis

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  1. Welcome to the group, Kendall! I too learned shorthand before going to college, but there were no shorthand classes in my high school so I learned it basically on my own, and occasionally sought advice from my aunt who was a legal secretary and wrote beautiful shorthand notes!

    It is true that the old manuals explain principles in a more thorough way. That is in part because Dr. Gregg edited those personally, and his approach was to simplify the presentation of the material by grouping related principles together. This resulted in a small condensed manual with a small number of total lessons (around 20 or so). After his death in 1948, Louis Leslie took over the production of the manual. In 1936, he had written an alternate Anniversary manual (titled Gregg Shorthand Manual for the Functional Method) which was "classroom-ready", that is, 80 lessons of 40 minutes each, and decided to stick to that arrangement in writing the Simplified and subsequent series. In that way, he provided teachers a manual already geared to be used in the classroom. As a consequence, the presentation of the material was more spread out, sometimes spanning more than one lesson to discuss a group of related principles.

    About fluidity in writing, that comes with practice (both reading and writing). Surprisingly, if you read a lot of well-written shorthand, your writing will improve. Since you would be exposed to lots of different words, your brain will remember outlines and writing becomes automatic. Brief forms become easy to write for the same reason: you see them all the time.

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