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1987: Pitman’s Shorthand

Both pages of this card were expressed in (hand-crafted) Pitman’s shorthand. This achieves its economy of strokes and compression of space by some interesting techniques, including variable intensity of stroke and variable positioning relative to the line – so shorthand needs lined paper.

Front page

Front page of 1987 card

This translates as:

Happy Christmas

Inside page

Inside page of 1987 card

This translates as:

and best wishes for nineteen eighty eight
from Brian Barker
(with thanks to my mother for proofreading!)

My now-late mother had been proficient in shorthand when she was employed as a secretary nearly fifty years earlier. I am not sure now whether my omission of the hyphen which correct English requires in “eighty-eight” was simply an error or – more likely – that the hyphen simply does not exist in the Pitman code.

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Version 23: Revised 23 December 2008
Brian Barker