Anybody Read The Story of Gregg Shorthand?

It’s a 1964 book written by some guy named Leslie, who apparently personally knew Gregg. Anybody read it? Worth investing the time?

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  1. I have these books about Gregg:

    John Robert Greggby Leslie Cowen, 1984, 123 pp, Pre-Raphaelite Press at Oxford: England.

    This is my favorite book about Gregg. It covers the span of his life and provides a lot of information about the development of the various Gregg Shorthand manuals and other Gregg publications. There is very useful information in this book. 


    John Robert Gregg: The Man and his Workby F. Addington Symonds, 1963, 72 pp, McGraw-Hill, New York. 

    This book has some interesting information on the early part of Gregg’s life and the early development of Gregg shorthand. There are some very nice pictures. 


    The Story of Gregg Shorthand: Based on the Writings of John Robert Gregg, edited by Louis A. Leslie, 1964, 214 pp, McGraw-Hill, New York. 

    This book is my least favorite. It goes into great detail about the Gregg Shorthand system itself. This book is long and rambling. It was published by the company who owned Gregg Shorthand. It seems like one big commercial for their product. Leslie didn’t really write this book. He edited a lot of material written by Gregg himself. 


    I purchased the three books described above online. They were all library discards. A lot of Gregg shorthand materials have become available to private collectors because they are being dumped by librarians who know longer find them relevant.



  2. It's unfortunate we can't edit our postings here. Other blogs I've contributed to are hosted by companies that allow such editing.

    On the main subject here, I own and have read all three of these books. I agree with Paul James about the Cowan and Symonds books, but I have a more positive feeling about The Story of Gregg Shorthand. I see it as more than just a long advertisement. But it is really mostly about the system, and not truly a biography of John Robert Gregg. Leslie is quite honest about the book being a collection of Gregg's writings that he edited.

    1. That functionality existed, but it was turned off because of a bug (or a feature?) in which authors were able to edit other author's comments. Until that is fixed, you can't edit your own comments after posting.

      I participate in blogs in which there is a timer on the comments and after a certain time I can't edit my own comments either. So it is not out of the ordinary not to be able to do that.

  3. I've pretty much enjoyed any biographical or historical book on Gregg shorthand I could find.  Besides the ones mentioned in the comments, there are also these two (covers more than just Gregg):


    • To Labor Less & Accomplish More, Part 1:  A Brief History of English Shorthand by Kenneth A. Wick (2016)
    • The Legends of Shorthand by Dominick M. Tursi (2015) (Kindle only)
  4. The Cowan text is very scholarly and informative.  The Symonds text is likewise packed with information, although from more of an "insider" perspective.  

    "The Story of Gregg Shorthand" presents the Gregg Publishing Company/McGraw-Hill perspective.  I think it's a great resource.

    It's important to remember, though, that there are lots of much older books about shorthand.  See if you can track down "Shorthand Systems of the World" by Hans Glatte, the "Story of British Shorthand" by E.H.Butler, and the "History of Shorthand" by Thomas Anderson.  

    Remember that Gregg himself didn't start from a vacuum.  He drew from the work of lots of earlier shorthand creators.  "Pernin's Universal Phonography" is worth taking a look at as a source.  

    All that said, Dr. Gregg refined it all and pulled it all together into a functional system.  There's no doubt he was a genius both from the theoretical and from the marketing perspectives.  

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