Thursday, July 23, 2009

Under code and key, or, Help Wanted For Shorthand Decipherment

Well, another layer of mystery has been reached in the search for more information about the medical education of women in Oregon. We're hoping that someone out there might know some shorthand, and be willing to lend their expertise to this situation.

We have two volumes containing minutes from some of the meetings of the faculty of the Willamette University Medical Department (Accession 1999-001). In these minutes, the men discuss topics concerning the governance of the school, faculty disagreements, et cetera--the cetera including student performance. Some sections of the minutes covering the period June 18, 1878 - May 28, 1888 were recorded in shorthand.

Alas, we have no shorthand expertise in house. While it could be some runic language for all we know, it looks a little like Pitman shorthand. We include a segment here, with a bit of the secretary's longhand for comparison. If any kind souls out there are able to decipher this bit and would be willing to take a look at a few more sections, we would be thrilled to hear from you (comment here with your contact information, or email us at homref[at]

[Click on the image for a larger version]

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