Mr. Munson was so careful and so thorough in his work that a revision might be considered unnecessary, yet he never lost sight of the fact that daily practice will reveal errors or defects which might in the ordinary course escape even the most watchful eye, and he was quick to note these and always ready to grasp anything which he thought would aid or be useful to the stenographer in his work.
During tilts between opposing counsel and in the examination of witnesses who are rapid speakers, even an old experienced reporter is sometimes put to his utmost speed, and in making his outlines forced to avail himself of any short cuts or expedients which may suggest themselves.
It was Mr. Munson's habit in reporting or in dictating to amanuenses to note anything which struck him as being practical or useful, whether in the form of a good, legible outline or in the construction of a phrase, and he would quickly encircle it with his pen so that he might afterwards examine it more carefully, and if deemed worthy of preservation write it down for future reference.
He would then not only test its usefulness himself but would submit it to some of his fellow reporters to prove its worth, and if found to be of value he would adopt it in his practice and teach it in his books.
His duties in court prevented his utilizing much of this material, which, being the actual and practical results of the author's many years' experience in court, the lecture room, etc., is of great value. After his death there were found among his letters, papers, and transcripts of cases a vast number of these notes which can be used in the revision or preparation of future work.
While his aim was to make his System of Phonography as absolutely perfect as it could be made, and to hold closely to the rules which he laid down for the guidance of its writers, yet when he found that a slight deviation from these rules was necessary to prevent confusion arising from a similarity of form or meaning he did not hesitate to recognize the fact. As he remarked to an expert and enthusiastic writer: "The rules were made for phonography, not phonography for the rules."
As the Shorter Course was the last text-book published by Mr. Munson, it has been the aim of the writer to avoid making any radical changes—neither to add nor strike out anything which might tend to disturb the harmony or mar the beauty of the work, making only such alterations as were contemplated by the author, and correcting palpable errors or omissions which must have escaped his keen scrutiny or occurred through the carelessness of the proof-reader, and thus make the book a perfect exponent of the system as he wrote and taught it.
The writer was associated with Mr. Munson, socially and in his business, for forty years, and assisted him in the preparation of the Shorter Course and all his books except the Complete Phonographer; therefore it is this education and familiarity with the author's ideas concerning the Munson System that he feels has fitted him for this work of revision.
Besides the correction of typographical errors, imperfect phonographic characters, words out of position, the mingling of characters with dotted lines, particularly in Reading Exercises, pages 203 to 220, inclusive, and the changes necessary to conform to later rules, there have been some additions and corrections in List of Abbreviations and Outlines Specially Distinguished.
Outlines of words were given in some of the exercises before their use had been sufficiently explained. As this was confusing to the student and embarrassing to the teacher, other words have been substituted.
Attention is called to the following:
To the new rule for the termination "SHUS," page 202.
"HAVE" in Phrases, how written, page 54.
Breve-yay for Syllable " U"—omission of sound "u," page 39.
Abbreviations out of Position, how written in Fourth Position, page 41.
The stem L. when standing alone is always struck upward. See Examples: hall, hill, halloo, hallway, page 40; owl, page 15.
New Abbreviation for oil, Poid-Lee. See Example, page 31.
The writer takes pleasure in acknowledging his indebtedness to Mr. George S. Walworth and to Mr. Harris Pierce for their kindly interest in the work and for their suggestions in regard to it.
James J. Williamson West Orange, N. J. January, 1912.