17 June-John Gregg (Gregg Shorthand)

John Gregg, who invented Gregg Shorthand in 1888, was a native of Co Monaghan, Ireland. His shorthand system became the most widely used method in the United States during the early part of the twentieth century. Though still used today, computers and word processors have largely replaced Gregg shorthand.

John Robert Gregg was born in Shantonagh, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, Ireland in June 1867. He was educated at Rockorry National School, Co Monaghan. Today the website of Rockorry National School states: ’Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest, Till your good is better, and your better best.”

When John Gregg was five years old he angered his teacher by whispering to a schoolmate during class-time. His teacher hit the children’s heads together causing severe damage to Gregg’s hearing. Gregg did not tell his parents about the incident but it had an impact on his ability to learn and he came to be regarded as dull and slow witted. At that time Pitman Shorthand was the dominant form of shorthand and Gregg’s siblings were encouraged to learn it. John was excluded because it was felt it would be too difficult for him to learn. However he succeeded in learning shorthand by himself.

In 1878 when John Gregg was eleven years old his family moved to Glasgow. He left school at the age of fourteen and found work in a law office. He continued to study shorthand and eventually mastered the Pitman System. However he disliked Pitman Shorthand and continued to investigate others and eventually published his own system of Shorthand in 1888.

John Gregg moved to the United States in 1893 where his system was already becoming known through its use by journalists and others. He ran a small school in Boston teaching his shorthand system before moving to Chicago in 1895. There his business expanded rapidly and he eventually opened several schools. Within a few years his system was being taught widely in the public school system. He founded the Gregg Publishing Company to publish shorthand textbooks and books relating to business studies.

John Gregg died at the age of 80 on February 23rd 1948. By the time of his death Gregg shorthand was the most popular form of shorthand in the United States and Latin America. Though modern technology has brought about a huge decline in the use of shorthand, Gregg shorthand is still in use today.

John Gregg, the inventor of Gregg Shorthand was born near Castleblaney, County Monaghan, Ireland in the year 1867 On This Day.

Image from page 154 of “Penman’s Art Journal” (1909) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1909-01-01 00:00:00