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The Smith College Aurelia S. Plath shorthand data set includes the date and type of the artifact (such as a letter or manuscript), where on the artifact to locate the shorthand, the instrument used to write it, the box and folder holding the artifact in the Smith College Libraries’ Mortimer Rare Book Collection, contextual information, and transcriptions from Gregg shorthand into English. Unlike translations from spoken languages, transcriptions from Gregg shorthand are word-for-word. Catherine Rankovic is grateful to Smith College’s Karen V. Kukil and the library staff for their help and guidance.

The shorthand in the Sylvia Plath Collection at Smith College is the property of the Estate of Aurelia S. Plath. The Estate granted Plath scholar Catherine Rankovic written permission to publish the shorthand transcriptions for scholarly purposes. The transcriptions are copyrighted by Catherine Rankovic.


Shorthand is solely a written language. For this reason, “translating” shorthand into its original language is correctly called “transcribing” it, and the result is called a “transcription.” An individual shorthand symbol is called a “character.” A shorthand “character” usually represents a single word.



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