Warden Collection


Warden Collection


The collection of shorthand books was formed by John Mabon Warden of Edinburgh (1856-1933). Warden was an actuary for the Scottish Equitable Insurance Company. He started work at the company in 1874 as a junior clerk and gradually worked his way up to secretary of the Company, retiring in 1926. He had a wide range of private interests, such as mathematical problems, genealogy, Esperanto (becoming a leading scholar of the language) and stenography. He built up a comprehensive collection of shorthand manuals from the 16th to the 20th century, mainly in English, but with around 500 works in foreign languages, together with works of literature, sermons, reports of trials, etc. reproduced in shorthand. The collection contains around 4,600 printed items comprising books, pamphlets and runs of periodicals. Pre-1701 items include Samuel Botley's 'Maximum in minimo' (London, 1674), William Hopkins's 'The flying pen-man' (London, 1674), and editions of Thomas Shelton's 'Tachygraphy and tutor', Jeremiah Rich's 'The pen's dexterity completed', and William Mason's 'Pen pluck'd from an eagle's wing'. A large section of the collection is devoted to the work of Sir Isaac Pitman and his successors, including books reprinted in Pitman's phonography or modifications of it.


The books have been catalogued individually and have the shelfmark 'Wn.'.


The collection was presented to the Library by John Mabon Warden in 1927.

Related collections

Sixty manuscript items in the collection were transferred to the Library's manuscript collections in 1972. The manuscripts are held at Acc.5706.