Skip to main content

Stenotype Company photograph collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SP028

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photographs from the Stenograph Company in Indianapolis, Indiana ranging from circa 1913 to 1919 regarding the company's workers, equipment, and factory in Mars Hill, workers engaged in munitions manufacturing during World War I, residential homes on a street, and a banquet hosted by the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce for transportation commissions on October 16, 1919.

Eight panoramic and one oversize photographs from the collection are located in an oversize folder (OBF005). They depict the National Association of Stenotypists banquet in Indianapolis, May 22, 1916; the 1st annual convention of the Stenotype Live Wire Club, Indianapolis, July 28-29, 1913; and seven photographs of the Stenotype Manufacturing buildings going up in Mars Hill, Indianapolis, 1918.


  • circa 1913-1919

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Administrative Note

The Stenotype Company (later known as the Universal Stenotype Company), was established by Ward Stone Ireland to manufacture stenotypes. Stenotypes are machines, a form of shorthand typewriter, used by stenographers to record speech heard through pressing chord-based keys in different combinations to print syllables or phonemes, as an alternative to handwritten shorthand. Ireland patented his stenotype machine in 1911 and sold the first one in September, 1912.

Originally from Owensboro, Kentucky, the company chose the Mars Hill neighborhood in Indianapolis, Indiana for its factory in 1913. The factory, a three-story building situated on 10 acres of land at Farnsworth Street and Holt Avenue. The company grew rapidly over the next three years, but the war effort largely suspended the production of stenotypes when the company was contracted by the U.S. government to manufacture war munitions in 1918.

The Stenotype Company ran into financial difficulty following World War I as a result of its war work and in 1919, the company’s assets, including patents, equipment, land, and building were sold to help satisfy the company’s debts. By that time, over 26,000 stenotypes had been sold.


“Another Giant Plant Coming to Mars Hill.” Indianapolis Star, January 12, 1913, 1.

Fletcher Savings and Trust Company. “Do You Want to Own and Manufacture the Stenotype?” advertisement. Indianapolis News, March 4, 1919, 13. Accessed May 24, 2019.

Ireland, Ward Stone. Stenotypy, 3rd ed. Indianapolis: The Stenotype Company, 1914. Accessed May 24, 2019.

“Local Company Gets $1,367,538 on War Claim.” Indianapolis Star, December 19, 1920, 1, 10.

“Orders Property Sold.” Indianapolis Star, March 5, 1919, 1.

Rehr, Darryl. “Bartholomew and the Stenograph.” ETCetera 16 (1991 September): 5. Accessed May 24, 2019.

Stenograph LLC. “The History of Writing Machines.” 2019. Accessed May 24, 2019.

“Stenotype Company Shares Profits with Employers.” Indianapolis Star, June 19, 1916, 3.


0.17 Cubic Feet (1 folder, 1 extra-large oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digitized panoramic photographs from the collection are available online in the ISL Digital Collections:

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

OBF005: Stenotype Company oversize photograph collection, 1913-1918

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2019/05/24 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2019/05/24 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid revised 2022/03/14 by Brittany Kropf.
Stenotype Company photograph collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.