Sunday, March 22, 2015

"History doesn't repeat itself,

but it does rhyme."
    ~ Mark Twain

History has always fascinated me, and I think many in the antique/vintage world feel the same way. It is always fun to come across something at a flea market and be amazed at how much has changed...or stayed the same...since the date on your find.  For example, I was able to go to the flea market this week since I was on spring break and the weather co-operated.  One of my pickers pulled out a stash of paper goods, and in the pile were these:
I remember taking "notehand" in high school as an elective so that I could take faster notes in college, and now, when you think of it, students can just point and click at notes on the board.  I wondered if anyone uses shorthand, and so I did a little research.
John Gregg, was an Irish American tycoon in the early 20th century, and, when he died in 1949, his Gregg Publishing empire on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan reached into almost every school, business, and courthouse in the country.  The company published textbooks, dictionaries, study guides, magazines, and shorthand versions of classical literature.  He designed an infrastructure of certification agencies and business schools.   Executive secretaries with a Gregg certificate that you could take dictation at 150 words per minute were in demand, and court reporters had to demonstrate 225 words per minute at 98% accuracy.

In the 1970s high schools still taught the Gregg system, and business schools and colleges offered shorthand courses...there was a college catalog with the Gregg magazines...this college features Pittman, but I had to chuckle that they also require English!

The Gregg magazines have a variety of articles, puzzles, and ads.  I like the crossword puzzle done in shorthand.
There is a short story in each also.
I have noticed that so many early USA companies have folded when the owner dies, and Gregg enterprises followed that pattern.  When Gregg died, McGraw Hill bought the company, and then the rise of stenography machines in the 1940s and 1950s continued to put shorthand out of commission, followed by the Dictaphone and recording devices that made notetaking even less important.  
As the women's movement gained support, by the 1960s and 1970s women were leaving the "mad men" world for medicine, law, and non-secretarial positions.  The gifted stenographers were no longer in the offices, and, fortunately, the 1980s brought computers to everyone.  The shorthand world is not totally extinct as court reporters still use a system that is a variation of modified dictation.
In a way, texting has become a form of tech shorthand with u for you and ur for your, but I tend to agree with Albert Einstein...
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

1 comment:

The Cinnamon Stick said... I am a "winner" of a statewide Shorthand test! - and I can still read it...but alas...I am a dinosaur!