The Pitman Collection

A collection of books and pamphlets focused on the subject of shorthand writing and phonography.

About Sir Isaac Pitman

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Sir Isaac Pitman

Sir Isaac Pitman (1813-1897), born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire in England, was a teacher of the English language who developed the most widely used system of shorthand, known now as Pitman shorthand. His system was published in 1837 in his book Stenographic Sound-Hand. It uses a system of dashes, curves, dots and pecks in place of the alphabet. Pitman was a lifelong advocate of spelling reform for the English language, producing many pamphlets during his lifetime on spelling reform. His motto was "time saved is life gained".

Pitman was an active “Swedenborgian” and a founding member of the local congregation of the New Church in Bath. He was a lifelong vegetarian, a non-smoker and advocated temperance principles.

About the collection

The collection of about 350 books and pamphlets dates from the early eighteenth century to the early 20th century. It comprises mostly instructional material on shorthand but also includes the history of stenography, shorthand and phonography, and books in phonetic text and shorthand, such as Milton’s Paradise Lost: Paradise Lost: a poem in twelv bucs.

Finding aid

Online catalogue

Further reading

Wikipedia, "Isaac Pitman".

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "Pitman, Sir Isaac".

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