Historians Struggle to Understand Oral History Written in Forgotten ShorthandHistorians in the News
tags: documents, oral history, archives, Utah, transcribing
Scholars at a Utah university are trying to unlock a mystery after discovering a nearly 70-year-old transcript of an interview with a notorious brothel owner that is written in a shorthand style that few people can read today.
The interview was with madam Rossette Duccinni Davie, who ran the Rose Rooms brothel in Ogden with her husband in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, the location is home to the nightclub Alleged, the Standard-Examiner reported.
The interview with former Standard-Examiner reporter Bert Strand was hidden inside a box of 1970s photos from the newspaper, said Sarah Langsdon, head of the Weber State University’s special collections.
The pages could be a treasure trove of material for historians in Ogden, a city of about 88,000 located 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City.
But there’s a problem: The 1951 transcription is written in a decades-old shorthand style that few people use today. “It’s definitely a lost art,” Langsdon said.