Saturday, May 27, 2017

Early Tools of Official Court Reporters: Pencils and Pens

When the first generation of official court reporters when to work in America, they were armed with pens or medium hard pencils. For courtroom work, most reporters preferred to take shorthand notes with a dip pen. Until 1884, fountain pens were considered “worthless” because their ink flow was unpredictable. Sometimes it would stop completely, and sometimes it would flood ink all over the paper.


Additional information about the origins of official court reporting in the U.S. can be found in Guardians of the Record, which can be purchased by clicking on its cover in the right hand column.


Spencer C. Rodgers: Enemy of “professional parasites”

The conscience of the newly emerging profession of official court reporting in the last quarter of the 19th century, Spencer C. Rodgers, expressed disgust for the “bare faced swindlers” who advertised to teach shorthand writing in “six easy lessons.” He argued that court reporting should become a state-licensed profession and that it should be respected as a “sister profession” to lawyers.



Additional information about Rodgers and the origins of official court reporting in the U.S. can be found in Guardians of the Record, which can be purchased by clicking on its cover in the right hand column.

Eliza Boardman Burnz: The Mother of Women Stenographers

Because she opened the profession of court reporting to women in the United States in the late nineteenth century, Eliza Boardman Burnz became known as the “Mother of Women Stenographers.” Throughout her life, she battled against poverty, against sex discrimination, and against fierce business rivals for the right to do all the things men were doing in the world of shorthand.



Additional information about Burnz and the origins of official court reporting in the U.S. can be found in Guardians of the Record, which can be purchased by clicking on its cover in the right hand column.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

William O. Wyckoff: Typewriter Tycoon

After working 16 years as the first official court reporter in Ithaca, NY, William O. Wyckoff retired from the profession to become the driving force behind the commercial success of the Remington typewriter company. After he was elected president of the company in 1886, sales of Remington typewriters skyrocketed throughout the world and Wyckoff became a millionaire.


Additional information about Wyckoff and the origins of official court reporting in the U.S. can be found in Guardians of the Record, which can be purchased by clicking on its cover in the right hand column.


William W. Osgoodby: Shorthand Organization Man and Religious Author

The first president of the New York State Stenographers’ Association, William W. Osgoodby, not only authored a best-selling shorthand system, but also wrote a 269-page narrative life of Jesus, entitled The Matchless Life. It was published by the Life Publishing Company in Rochester, NY, in 1913, the year following his retirement after working over 50 years as an official court reporter.



Additional information about Osgoodby and the origins of official court reporting in the U.S. can be found in Guardians of the Record, which can be purchased by clicking on its cover in the right hand column.

William H. Burr: Genre Artist and Free Thinker

One of the first official court reporters hired after Edward F. Underhill’s groundbreaking law authorizing courts in New York City to appoint stenographers went into effect, William H. Burr, came to the profession after a seven-year stint trying to make a living as a portraitist and genre painter. After he retired from court reporting, he spent the last 39 years of his life exposing literary myths and attacking the Bible and Christianity.


Additional information about Burr and the origins of official court reporting in the U.S. can be found in Guardians of the Record, which can be purchased by clicking on its cover in the right hand column.