Puritan Shorthand & Stenography Thomas Jefferson/samuel Pepys/isaac Newton 1685 For Sale
EXCEEDINGLY SCARCE, ORIGINAL 1685 EDITION OF "ZEIGLOGRAPHIA. OR A NEW ART OF SHORT-WRITING NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED." This important 17th century work was written by Thomas Shelton and printed for Dor. Newman at the Kings Armes in ye Poultry & Thomas Sawbridge in Little Brittaine, London. Author was a pioneering English stenographerand avocalPuritan sympathizer. He is best remembered for his twoinfluential works on shorthand,"Tachygraphy" (1626) and the present treatise, Zeiglographia" (1650).
Shelton'smethods of shorthand were immenselypopular andinfluenced a host of notable figures in both England and colonialAmerica. His many loyalconverts included Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Pepys and Sir Isaac Newton, among others.Newton in particulardrew heavily from the present work,"Zeiglographia" as is evidenced in many of his surviving manuscript notebooks. All early editions of thistitle are scarce and wecould not locateanother copy of this edition in private hands. Wing S3096; Arber's Term cat. II, 119.
"Thomas Shelton...was a zealous Puritan but is best known for his systems of shorthand, one of which was used by Samuel Pepys in his diary..." [See: "Protestant Nonconformist Texts" edited by R. Tudor Jones, Arthur Long, and Rosemary Moore (2007), Vol. 1, p.371]. "The 'former hand' distinguishes the Tachygraphy from Shelton's later and totally different system, Zeiglographia, which was the cipher employed by Sir Isaac Newton" [See: "Freedom after Ejection" edited by Alexander Gordon (1917), p. 174].
"Thomas Shelton's 'Tachygraphy'...was in favour for many years despite being overtaken by more efficient systems; and extremely basic version of it was, for example, still being used (by Thomas Jefferson) in 1792" [See: "The Putney Debates of 1647: The Army, the Levellers, and the English State" edited by Michael Mendle (2001), p. 37].
"The most famous diary ever published was that of Samuel Pepys, which was written in the Shelton system. In this diary Pepys gives a vivid account of the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London, with many intimate accounts of the court of King Charles II...It is interesting to recall that Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to his friend Page, dated January 23, 1764, proposed that they should master Shelton's system, the one used by Pepys, so that they might have something which was unintelligible to any one else. He said, 'I will send you some of these days Shelton's Tachygraphal Alphabet and directions.'
There is evidence that the art of shorthand was in use in this country within half a dozen years of the landing of the Pilgrims. In the library at Springfield, Massachusetts, there is preserved the shorthand note-books of Major John Pynchon, the son of the founder of Springfield, containing reports of the sermons of the first pastor of Springfield, the Rev. George Moxon. These sermons are dated from 1637 to 1639, seventeen years after the coming of the 'Mayflower'." [See: "The New Larned History for Ready Reference, Reading and Research" by Josephus Nelson Larned (1922), p. 9].
Thomas Shelton (c.1601-c.1650) was a noted English stenographer and the inventor of a much-used 17th- and 18th-century stenography. The 1647 edition of Thomas Shelton's "Tachygraphie" contains a portrait giving his age as 46, implying that he was born in 1600/01. Nothing certain is known about his origin and education, but it was supposed that he came from the well-known Shelton family which owned much land in Norfolk. In the English Civil War (1642-49), Shelton stood on the side of the Parliament; his religious sympathies were decidedly for Puritanism.
Thomas Shelton made his living from shorthand, teaching the subject in London over a period of some thirty years while he developed his stenographical systems. Shelton knew the stenography of John Willis and took over its geometrical basic principle for his own shorthand. He published several books about shorthand which he sold directly from his house. Shelton invented a new stenographical system and published it in 1626 in the book "Short-Writing" [in later editions since 1635 called "Tachygraphy", Ancient Greek for "speedy writing"]. In Shelton's shorthand system every consonant was expressed by an easy symbol which sometimes still resembled the alphabetical letter.
The vowels were designated by the height of the following consonant. Thus the B symbol with the l symbol written directly above meant "ball", while the B symbol with the l symbol below meant "bull". The B symbol with the l symbol on top right meant "bell", in the middle right "bill", below on the right "boll". A vowel at the word end was designated by a point in the suitable position. For initial vowels there were additional symbols. There were other symbols for frequent prefixes and suffixes as well as for consonant connections.
A disadvantage of Shelton's shorthand was that vowels and diphthongs could not be distinguished. For example, the symbols for "bat" could mean "bait" or "bate" as well, and the symbols for "bot" could mean "boot" or "boat" as well. This can only be decided from the context. An advantage of his system was that it could be easily learned. Therefore, between 1626 and 1710 more than 20 editions of his "Tachygraphy" were printed. German issues appeared between 1679 and 1743 and a French issue in Paris in 1681. Shelton's shorthand was used, amongst others, by Samuel Pepys, Sir Isaac Newton and Founding Father and third President of the United States Thomas Jefferson. In the year of his death, 1650, Shelton published yet another shorthand system called "Zeiglographia", but it did not become as widespread as his "Tachygraphy".
Condition: Rare book remains in good to fair condition [see images]. Volume bound in late 18th century leather-backed stiff boards; cover worn with front board detached though present and rear joint cracked, title page and final page well toned, scattered marginal damp staining, a few dog-eared corners, lacking rear endpaper,generally clean internally. Volume collates: , 55  pages including various tables and one illustration; and measures approx 6.25" tall x 4" wide x .25" thick. Quite a find and a very worthy acquisition indeed.
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Puritan Shorthand & Stenography Thomas Jefferson/samuel Pepys/isaac Newton 1685: $149