NOAH BRIDGES (fl. 1659?-1661)
Stenographer and mathematician, Noah Bridges was a royalist
supporter of King Charles I. His
Stenographie is a practical work on shorthand and secret writing.
Bridges' system is the first to make extensive use of dots rather than
alphabetic symbols to represent initial and final vowels. A much
expanded second edition appeared in 1662. The work was brought out again
in 1665 with 22 pages of additional material under the title:
Rarities; or, The Incomparable Curiosities in Secret Writing
Explained. (Alston VIII:104; Carlton (Pepys) p.74; Galland p. 29;
Stojan 477; Westby-Gibson p. 29; Wing B4482)
[sic]. London, The Author, 1659.
PIERRE CARPENTIER (1697-1767)
Carpentier's work is an early attempt to
explain the cipherment and decipherment of Tironian notes, said to have
been invented by M. Tullius Tiro, freedman of Cicero. One of the
earliest forms of shorthand, Tironian notes utilize a tachygraphic
system, that is, one in which the alphabetic characters used have an
ideographic value. One of its features, that of employing initial
letters to represent words, is still in use today, as, for example, the
use of "A.D." for "Anno Domini" and "N.B." for "Nota bene." Carpentier
devotes considerable attention to the Latin manuscript number 2718 at the
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. His work has been largely
later studies. (Galland p. 36; Graesse II:54; NYP 38:685; Westby-Gibson
Alphabetum Tironianum, seu Notas
Tironis Explicandi Methodus.
Paris, Hippolyte-Louis Guerin, &
Jacques Guerin, 1747.
JEAN FELICITE COULON DE THEVENOT (1754-1813)
Originally published in 1777, Coulon de Thévenot here
presents the first shorthand system of significance invented in France.
His system is noted for disjoining vowels from consonants. The work saw
numerous editions. The present edition represents revisions made by the
author in 1786 and 1787. While generally shorthand books of this period
were printed from engraved plates, this edition of Coulon de Thévenot
has the symbols and characters used inserted by hand. (Galland p.48; Guyot
aussi Vite qu'on Parle. Dix-neuvième édition.
FRANCISCO DE PAULA MARTI (1762-1827)
The father of Spanish stenography, Francisco Martí first published his
shorthand system in 1803. His alphabet is a combination of those of
Coulon de Thévenot and Samuel Taylor. Martí's method became
the basis of several later shorthand systems, including that of Fancisco Serra y
Ginesta (1816). His work also enjoyed the support of the Spanish
Government, which on November 21st, 1802, set up a public professorship
of shorthand at Madrid. Martí became the first to hold this
position. (Palau 8:237; Westby-Gibson p. 124)
Tachigrafía de la
Barcelona, Imprenta de Augustin Roca,
WILLIAM MASON (fl. 1672-1709)
The most important English stenographer of the
seventeenth century, Mason produced three works on shorthand of which
La Plume Volante is the last. Mason derives part of his system
from that of Jeremiah Rich, published in 1646. He employs alphabetic
signs, symbols, and arbitraries. Mason's system is the first to make use
of a small circle for "s" in addition to its alphabetic sign. His work
was re-issued by Thomas Gurney in 1740. Gurney's own position as
shorthand writer of the Central Criminal Court in London secured the
perpetuation of Mason's shorthand method to the present day. This copy
of La Plume Volante bears the bookplate of Hugh Cecil, 5th Earl of
Lonsdale (d. 1944). (Alston VIII: 168; Carlton (Pepys) p. 82; NYP 38:35;
London, D. Brown [etc.] 1707.
CHARLES ALOYSIUS RAMSAY (fl. 1670-1689)
Originally published at Frankfurt am Main in 1678, this
title is considered the earliest independent German manual on
stenography. This Paris edition of 1683 includes both Latin and French
versions on parallel pages. Ramsay's work is a slight modification of
the system proposed in Thomas Shelton's Tachygraphy (London,
1635), known chiefly at the present time for its use by Samuel Pepys
(1633-1703) in writing his Diary. The French version exhibits the
greatest divergence from Shelton's method, including the adoption of
simple signs for several alphanumeric characters. Tacheographia
includes an appendix on processes of cipherment. (Carlton (Pepys) p.
118; Galland p. 153; NYP 38:38; Westby-Gibson p. 184)
Tacheographia, seu Ars
Celeriter & Compendiosè quaelibet inter Perorandum Verba.
SAMUEL TAYLOR (fl. 1786)
An Essay intended to Establish a
Standard for an Universal System of Stenography.
London, The Author,
This is the
first edition, first issue of Taylor's work,
perhaps one of the most influential in the field of stenography. Like
that of John Byrom, whose Universal English Short-Hand appeared in
1767, Taylor's system is noted for its brevity. It consists of only a
consonantal alphabet of nineteen letters and a few abbreviating rules.
Many later editions appeared, the most important being that edited by
William Harding in 1823. Taylor's work established the art of stenography
in England, and his system came into general use on the continent and in
the United States. This copy bears the author's autograph signature,
together with the bookplate of Charles Bathurst. (Alston VIII:286;
Galland p. 179; NYP 38:51; Westby-Gibson p.
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