Some Random Thoughts

From The Wilderness World of John Muir, here are some random thoughts about nature in general by the Scottish-born American naturalist, author, philosopher, botanist, and zoologist, transcribed by yours truly in Centennial Gregg.

Attachment: some-random-thoughts.pdf

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  1. For me, Diamond Jubilee, Series 90, and Centennial all just blur together into one thing. I admire your ability to keep the different versions straight!

    I think both Series 90 and Centennial made some sensible changes. But they were both too late in the game to make a difference for commercial or educational success. I’m amazed that McGraw-Hill invested the resources in Centennial when they did.

    I notice that you post a lot of material in Centennial, and I’m curious about your assessment of it.

    1. Among Centennial, S90, and DJS, I chose to write Centennial for the blog because that was the last series published. But like you said, they are very similar. There are slight differences, most of them related to brief forms. If there’s any interest, I can write a post addressing this topic.

  2. I think with the Centennial edition of 1988, McGraw-Hill was trying to hold on to something which was pretty much dead at that point: shorthand as a means of communication in office work. There were only three books to the series (rather than four as in the past editions), and the number of lessons for presenting the theory was decreased; this, of course, meant that there was less theory in terms of principles and abbreviating devices.  I taught Centennial for one year (1990) and then we moved to Speedwriting, also published by McGraw-Hill, for a few years.  By the mid-90s, though, Speedwriting, too, was discontinued and shorthand lost the prominent position it once held in the business education curriculum at both the secondary and post-secondary levels.

    1. In addition to the basic texts, McGraw-Hill published “Gregg Shorthand for the Administrative Assistant” in Centennial, which in my estimation is about the dullest shorthant textbook ever produced. And there is a slender, spiral bound “Abridged” Centennial dictionary.

      I certainly agree with your assessment that it was an attempt to hold on to something that was already over, commercially. It just surprises me that the McGraw-Hill executives making the decisions couldn’t see that, and were still willing to invest in the Centennial materials. They couldn’t have been cheap to produce, since they make lots of use of color printing.

      But my real question is about people’s assessment of Centennial from a theory viewpoint. Was Series 90 an improvement on DJS? Was Centennial an improvement on Series 90?

      Regarding Speedwriting, I wonder how many people ever actually used it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a message anywhere along the lines of “my grandmother wrote all the family recipes in Speedwriting, can you help transcribe them?” or “we found my great-aunt’s diary and it’s written in Speedwriting. We need help figuring out if there’s important family information on this page.”

      But requests like that come up fairly regularly for Gregg shorthand.

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