All posts by Amanda Owens

About Amanda Owens

Amanda served as lead editor on the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers in Salt Lake City. Prior to that, Amanda spent nearly four years as a project editor on math and science curriculum at Glynlyon, Inc., in Chandler, Arizona. She has an M.A. and a B.A. in English Literature from Arizona State University, with emphases in linguistics, children’s literature, and early Romantic British Literature. She also reads nineteenth-century Pitman shorthand and helped transcribe and annotate a number of shorthand journals from the mid- to late 1800s.

Secrets in shorthand

shorthand3While working in Salt Lake City in 2011, I met a sort of expert in lost arts named LaJean Carruth. Besides being a weaver, she also taught a small class on nineteenth-century Pitman Shorthand,[1] which she invited me to join. Being a lover of lost arts myself, I naturally agreed.

For those unfamiliar with Pitman Shorthand, Sir Isaac Pitman’s creation of a phonetic shorthand system in 1837 marked the beginning of one of the most lasting forms of shorthand, in use for well over a hundred years, particularly in Great Britain. With a variety of strokes to indicate consonants and interspersed dots and short dashes representing vowels, it was primarily used for its speed and ability to conserve space.[2] As a result, many records from the mid-1800s are written in Pitman Shorthand. Continue reading Secrets in shorthand