Applied Secretarial Practise

Something reminded me of the “Applied Secretarial Practise” book I got 10 or 20 years ago. It is not at all useful for shorthand, though there are some “motivating” paragraphs in shorthand near the end from which I did pick up the useful phrase “as far as” s-f-s which was not in my phrase book.

However it is a glimpse into the secretarial world of the 1920s/30s — a more well defined and steady environment than exists today, and a fascinating survey with pictures of the ‘modern’ machinery that was sometimes used, as well as the paper forms, and filing and accounting methods that was required.

My book had 1934 on it, authored by Sorelle and Gregg (though I expect Gregg only ‘approved’ Sorelle’s work). I’ve not encountered any mention of it since then.

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  1. I have that 1934 edition. It’s a fascinating look at a world of “office work” that just doesn’t exist any more. I’m old enough to remember some of it–document sorters, elaborate paper filing and retrieval systems, spirit duplicators, etc.

    (My copy belonged to a student who signed his name in the front cover in 1935, and left lots of folded over sheets of shorthand and typewriting homework interleaved in the pages).

    There’s an older book “Office Training for Stenographers” by Sorelle. My copy has two copyright dates, 1911 and 1916. It’s quite an elaborate book, with lots of initial letters and marginal notes printed in red, and lots of of tinted pictures.

    There was also “Secretarial Studies” by Sorelle and Gregg (1922, 1927) which has lots of the same information and less elaborate graphics.

  2. “Applied Secretarial Practice” (ASP) indeed came from Sorelle’s books “Office Training for Stenographers” (two editions) and “Secretarial Studies” by Sorelle/Gregg (two editions). In 1941, a second edition of ASP was published (rewritten by Clyde Blanchard and other collaborators) for high school use. In 1944, a new college secretarial book, “The Private Secretary” (TPS), was published by Dr. Gregg.

    The third edition of ASP was revised in 1952 by Albert Fries and Margaret Rowe — the seventh edition (published in 1974) was renamed “Applied Secretarial Procedures.” On the other hand, the college book TPS became “College Secretarial Procedures” (CSP), revised by Irene Place and Charles Hicks in 1952. The fifth edition of CSP became “Executive Secretarial Procedures”, published in 1980.

  3. Wow! Lots of variants for me to find. I may try to get the 1911/16 one. I did not realise that in 1911 so much attention was being given to shorthand secretarial work. I had imagined that at that time shorthand was still focussed on recording speech — in court or politics etc.


    (I love the smell of those spirit duplicators! I remember them from school.)

    1. The 1911/1916 book really doesn’t deal with shorthand at all. It’s all about forms, shipping, filing, mailing, billing, “office appliances”, etc.

      It’s a beautifully put together book. Just no shorthand content.


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