Thursday, April 26, 2007

Densmore bought the Walworth County Independent in 1855, changed its name to Elkhorn Independent, and published it until 1857. Then he sold it and gave up journalism as a career. Later he summed up his eight years of newspaper experience in Wisconsin by saying: "I started at Oshkosh, succeeded eminently, and threw it all away. I started again at Kenosha and Elkhorn, succeeded beyond my hopes, got more and threw it all away." He departed from Wisconsin without fortune he had come to get but he had added to the vigor and picturesqueness of early journalism in the State. -- Richard N. Current: "The First Newspaperman in Oshkosh", Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol.30, No.4 (June 1947), pp.408-422.

No, Mr. James Densmore neither departed from Wisconsin in 1857, nor gave up journalism then. In 1860 he still stayed in Hudson, Wisconsin. He edited Hudson Chronicle there, writing down his political positions on it (cf. James Densmore: "The Bond Question", Hudson Chronicle, Vol.4, No.16 (March 31, 1860), p.2, l.2). In fact, Mr. Densmore in 1860 resided at St. Paul, Minnesota, 10 miles west from Hudson, but he could not depart from Wisconsin journalism.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sholes and Densmore were not strangers even at the time they worked together on the Kenosha Telegraph, which was fifteen years before they came into business relations in the typewriter. They had met eight or ten years before that at Madison, Wisconsin. -- Henry W. Roby's Story of the Invention of the Typewriter, George Banta Publishing, Menasha (1925).

It is incredible for me that Messrs. Christopher Latham Sholes and James Densmore had met that time at Madison. It is sure that in December, 1853, Mr. Densmore became associated with Mr. Sholes on the Kenosha Telegraph (cf. C. L. Sholes: "James Densmore", Kenosha Telegraph, Vol.14, No.28 (December 30, 1853), p.2, l.1). Then, according to Dr. Roby, Messrs. Sholes and Densmore had met at Madison in 1843 or 1845. It's impossible. Mr. Densmore landed to Wisconsin, at Milwaukee, in 1848 (cf. James Densmore: "A Little Personal Gossip", Oshkosh Democrat, Vol.3, No.1 (March 7, 1851), p.2, l.3-4), and before that he had resided in Pennsylvania for about fourteen years (cf. Family Record of James Compton and Clarissa Cleveland-Compton, Porter Cleveland-Compton (1901)). I've found that Messrs. Sholes and Densmore had met at Madison on January 13, 1853 (cf. "Editor's Convention", Oshkosh Democrat, Vol.4, No.48 (January 28, 1853), p.1, l.3-5), but I'm not sure that it was their first time.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A certain Mrs. L. B. Longley, the owner of a Shorthand and Typing Institute, had the audacity to the state that all typists should use all the fingers of both hands. The Cosmopolitan Shorthander in 1877 condemned Mrs. Longley and stated that unless the third finger of the hand had been previously trained to touch the keys of a piano, it was not worth while attempting to use this finger in operating the typewriter. It went on to say that the best operators all used only the first two fingers of each hand and doubted whether a higher speed could be obtained by the use of three. Such an important publications could have put Mrs. Longley in her place had it not been for Mr. Frank E. McGurrin of Salt Lake City who, quite accidentally, rescued Mrs. Longley and established the four-bank keyboard once and for all. -- Wilfred A. Beeching: Century of the Typewriter, Heinemann, London (1974).

Mrs. L. B. Longley? Is it a misspelling for Mrs. Elizabeth Margaret Vater Longley? If so, Mr. Frank Edward McGurrin never rescued Mrs. Longley, but he beated one of her pupils, Mr. Louis Traub, on July 25, 1888, as I mentioned before. Furthermore, The Cosmopolitan Shorthander was never published in 1877. The first issue of the magazine was published in May, 1880, under the title of The Canadian Illustrated Shorthand Writer. The title was changed into Bengough's Cosmopolitan Shorthand Writer in September, 1881, then The Cosmopolitan Shorthand Writer in January, 1884, and finally The Cosmopolitan Shorthander in June, 1884.