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The early typists

Shortly after the Sholes & Glidden Type Writer was introduced in 1874, copyists set up shop, new territory for stenographers. The machine they used was the all-caps model that would shortly become the Remington Standard No. 1. Little is known of this early class of typists, but advertisements suggest they were bold entrepreneurs.

The New York Daily Herald, October 1, 1876 —

Sun, Oct 1, 1876 – 17 · New York Daily Herald (New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The Chicago Tribune, February 11, 1877 —

Sun, Feb 11, 1877 – 14 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The Cincinatti Recorder, April 2, 1877 —

Mon, Apr 2, 1877 – Page 3 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

From Browne’s Phonographic Monthly, November 1877 —

Mary E. Hill may be the earliest typist known by name, but not much more is known about her. She placed advertisements in Browne’s Phonographic Monthly quite frequently, but what became of her is uncertain. A Mary E. Hill assisted Frank Overton write Nature Study (see book here).

Update (1/5/19) —

I overlooked Mrs. L.A. Cones, whose name is listed in the April 2, 1877 advertisement. So Hills and Cones are likely the earliest typists by name. Cones has an interesting history:

Thu, May 27, 1880 – Page 2 · Belmont Chronicle (Saint Clairsville, Belmont, Ohio, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

© 2019 – 2021, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Michael Höhne January 3, 2019, 10:38 pm

    I’m really loving your research, Mark. So much new information so well presented. Thanks.

  • RIchard P January 5, 2019, 1:15 am

    These really were pioneers!

    • Mark Adams January 5, 2019, 7:52 pm

      Yes, and I wonder what method of typing they employed. They must have been sufficiently competent to offer their services.

  • Mark Adams January 5, 2019, 7:57 pm

    Updated this post with additional information about another named typist. See end of post.

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