John Robert Gregg

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John Robert Gregg
John Robert Gregg LOC 33970.jpg
BornJune 17, 1867 (1867-06-17)
Monaghan, Ireland
DiedFebruary 23, 1948(1948-02-23) (aged 80)
New York City, New York, United States
Occupation Educator, publisher, Humanitarian, inventor
Language English, Irish
Citizenship Irish
Notable works Gregg Shorthand

Signature John Robert Gregg Signature.svg

John Robert Gregg (b. 17 June 1867, Shantonagh, Monaghan, Ireland – d. 23 February 1948, New York City, New York) was an educator, publisher, humanitarian, and the inventor of the eponymous shorthand system Gregg Shorthand.

County Monaghan County in the Republic of Ireland

County Monaghan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Monaghan. Monaghan County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 60,483 according to the 2011 census.

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.




John Robert Gregg was born in Shantonagh, Ireland, as the youngest child of Robert and Margaret Gregg, where they remained until 1872, when they moved to Rockcorry, County Monaghan. [1] Robert Gregg, who was of Scottish ancestry, was station-master at the Bushford railway station in Rockcorry. He and his wife raised their children as strict Presbyterians, and sent their children to the village school in Rockcorry, which John Robert Gregg joined in 1872. [2] On his second day of class, John Robert was caught whispering to a schoolmate, which prompted the schoolmaster to hit the two children's heads together. [2] This incident profoundly damaged Gregg's hearing for the rest of his life, rendering him unable to participate fully in school, unable to understand his teacher. [3] [4] This ultimately led to John Robert unnecessarily being perceived as dull or mentally challenged by his peers, teachers, and family. [5]

In 1877, one of Robert Gregg's friends, a journalist named Annesley, visited the village for a weekend. He was versed in Pitman Shorthand, and took verbatim notes of the sermon at the village church, causing the preacher to sweat and studder,[ clarification needed ] out of fear that his sermon, which he had plagiarized from a famous preacher, would be made public through Annesley's notes. [5] That day, Robert Gregg saw the shorthand skill as a powerful asset, so he made it mandatory for his children to learn Pitman shorthand, with the exception of John, who was considered by his family too "simple" to learn it. [6] None of the children succeeded in fully learning the system. [5] On his own, John Robert learned a different shorthand system, that of Samuel Taylor, published in a small book by Odell. He taught himself the system fully, since he did not require the ability to hear in order to learn from the book. [6]

Due to hardships on the family, Gregg had to leave school before the age of 13 in order to support his family's income. [7] He worked in a law office, earning five shillings a week. [7]


Gregg said he initially set out to improve the English adaptation by John Matthew Sloan of the French Prévost Duployé Shorthand, while working with one of Sloan's sales agents, Thomas Malone. [8] Malone published a system called Script Phonography, of which Gregg asserted a share in authorship was owed to him. [9] Angered by Malone, Gregg resigned from working with him and, encouraged by his older brother Samuel, published and copyrighted his own system of shorthand in 1888. [10] It was put forth in a brochure entitled Light-Line Phonography: The Phonetic Handwriting which he published in Liverpool, England. [10]

Duployan shorthand shorthand system for French created by Émile Duployé in 1860, and subsequently adapted for English, German, Spanish, Romanian, and Chinook Jargon

The Duployan shorthand, or Duployan stenography, was created by Father Émile Duployé in 1860 for writing French. Since then, it has been expanded and adapted for writing English, German, Spanish, Romanian, and Chinook Jargon. The Duployan stenography is classified as a geometric, alphabetic, stenography and is written left-to-right in connected stenographic style. The Duployan shorthands, including Chinook writing, Pernin's Universal Phonography, Perrault's English Shorthand, the Sloan-Duployan Modern Shorthand, and Romanian stenography, were included as a single script in version 7.0 of the Unicode Standard / ISO 10646

Liverpool City and Metropolitan borough in England

Liverpool is a city in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500 within the Liverpool City Council local authority in 2017. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

In 1893, he emigrated to the United States. That year he published Gregg Shorthand. [11] with great success. Gregg settled in Chicago where he wrote many books for the Gregg Publishing Company on shorthand and business practices.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, and the fourth largest in North America and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.

See also


  1. Cowan, Leslie (1984). John Robert Gregg: A Biography. Oxford: The Pre-Raphaelite Press. p. 11.
  2. 1 2 Cowan, 11.
  3. Cowan, 11
  4. Gannon, Jack. 1981. Deaf Heritage–A Narrative History of Deaf America, Silver Spring, MD: National Association of the Deaf, p. 169 (PDF Archived 2012-04-24 at the Wayback Machine )
  5. 1 2 3 Cowan, 12.
  6. 1 2 Cowan, 13.
  7. 1 2 Cowan, 14.
  8. Cowan, 18.
  9. Cowan, 21.
  10. 1 2 Cowan, 30.
  11. Cowan, 43.

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