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Arkisden, Thomas (1608/9–1682), Church of England clergyman and writer of shorthand, was probably born in Essex or Suffolk, one, probably the elder, of the two children of Thomas Arkisden, a minor landowner, and his wife, Francis, née Durrant. After his father's death, his guardian was his '...

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Bright, Timothy (1549/50–1615), physician and writer on shorthand, was the son of William Bright (d. 1592), possibly the William Bright who was mayor of Cambridge in 1571. Sheffield, Yorkshire, has been given as his birthplace, but Bright himself stated that he was born and educated in ...

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John Byrom (1692–1763) by Dorning Rasbotham © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Byrom, John (1692–1763), poet and creator of a system of shorthand, was born on 29 February 1692 at Kersall Cell, Broughton, near Manchester, the second son of Edward Byrom (d. 1711), merchant, and his wife, Sarah Allen. The Byrom family were well known in the district: the ...

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See Cherry, Francis

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Elphinstone [née Thrale], Hester Maria, Viscountess Keith (1764–1857), protégée of Samuel Johnson, the eldest daughter of Henry Thrale (1728–1781), brewer, and his wife, Hester, afterwards Mrs Piozzi (1741–1821), was born on 17 September 1764 at Southwark, London. Dr Johnson, a friend of the family from 1765, called her ...

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Gregory [married name Alison], Dorothea (bap. 1754, d. 1830), companion of Elizabeth Montagu, was baptized on 4 June 1754 at St Nicholas's Church, Aberdeen, the elder of the two daughters of John Gregory (1724–1773), professor of medicine at Edinburgh University, and his wife, ...

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Thompson Cooper

revised by Joanna Hawke

Gurney, Joseph (1804–1879), shorthand writer and biblical scholar, was born in Bartlett’s Buildings, Holborn, London on 15 October 1804, the eldest son of William Brodie Gurney (1777–1855), the philanthropist, and his wife, Ann née Benham (1781-1827). He acted as secretary to his first important committee of the ...

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Leslie Stephen

revised by Michael Bevan

Langton, Bennet (bap. 1736, d. 1801), friend of Samuel Johnson, son of the Revd Bennet Langton (1696–1769) and his wife, Diana, daughter of Edmund Turner of Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire, and descendant of the old family of the Langtons of Langton, near Spilsby in ...

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Master, Thomas (1602/3–1643), poet and amanuensis, was born in Coates, Gloucestershire, where his father, William Master (d. in or after 1637), was rector. He studied under Henry Topp at Cirencester grammar school and in 1617 advanced to Winchester College on a scholarship. He was nineteen on 15 November 1622 when he matriculated from ...

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Milward, Richard (bap. 1609, d. 1680), amanuensis to John Selden, was baptized on 25 April 1609 at Flitton in Bedfordshire, son of Richard Milward, a yeoman. He matriculated from Trinity College, Cambridge, as a sizar on 7 July 1625 and was elected a scholar of his college on 13 April 1627. He received his BA in 1625 and his MA in 1632....

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Sir Isaac Pitman (1813–1897) by Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope [posthumous] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Pitman, Sir Isaac (1813–1897), deviser of a system of shorthand writing, was born on 4 January 1813 at 3–4 Timbrell Street, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, the third of the eleven children of Samuel Pitman (1787–1863), manager of a weaving mill, and his wife, Maria Pitman, ...

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Roe, Richard Baillie (1764/5?–1853), stenographer and writer, was the son of James Roe of Queen's county, Ireland, and was admitted pensioner at Trinity College, Dublin, aged nineteen on 30 June 1784, graduating BA in spring 1789. He married Albertina Hood on 24 April 1790. At some time before 1800 he took holy orders. It is possible that he moved to ...

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W. P. Courtney

revised by Michael Bevan

Taylor, John (bap. 1711, d. 1788), friend of Samuel Johnson, baptized at Ashbourne, Derbyshire, on 18 March 1711, was the son of Thomas Taylor (1671–1730?) of Ashbourne and his wife, Mary, daughter of Thomas Wood. He was educated with Samuel Johnson by the ...

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Tiffin, William (1695/6–1754), phonetician and stenographer, was born at Crimplesham, near Downham Market, Norfolk, the son of Roger Tiffin, gentleman, of a family long settled in that area. He was educated at Downham Market under Mr Robinson, and at Norwich under Mr Pate...

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Willis, John (d. 1625), stenographer, is of obscure origins. Nothing is known of his early life or family background. He matriculated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1589, graduated BA from Christ's College in 1592, and proceeded MA in 1596. In 1603 he received the degree of STB. On 12 June 1601 ...

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Yonge, Sir Walter, third baronet (bap. 1653, d. 1731), politician and friend of John Locke, was baptized on 8 September 1653 at Sandford, Devon, the first surviving son of Sir Walter Yonge, second baronet (c.1626–1670), politician, of Colyton, Devon, and his wife, ...