Edward F. Underhill, a shorthand writer and newspaper reporter, and the reformer Stephen Pearl Andrews, organized a social club for men and women in New York City in 1855. Because sex was discussed publicly, it became known as the Free Love Club. It was here that Underhill was inspired to write a law that provided for stenographers to be used in New York City courts. When lawmakers in Albany enacted the law on April 16, 1860, it became the first state statute in the U.S. to authorize a court to appoint a court stenographer.
Additional information about Underhill 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.