I'm digging this out of long ago memory, but I think the commonly used system was Gregg shorthand. I never studied it because I never wanted to work in an office, but I'm old enough to have had the opportunity. My sister took it, but never mastered it. You could maybe dig up an ancient textbook.
I'm not that old, but I am proficient in shorthand. In my job, I go in the examination rooms with the doctors. The doctor will dictate the exam to me as he is doing it, and I take it in shorthand and transcribe that part from my notes. The doctors I would for love this system as it saves them much time in dictation later. I've been offered several jobs just for this skill alone.
I took shorthand in high school, a long long time ago. I never really mastered it. Okay I was bad at it. When I did work in an office after high school, the only secretary that had to use it was the directors. And she convinced him to use a dictaphone instead. I know the Gregg method was always the preferred one to use.
I took shorthand in high school too. I am sure you can find a textbook in a used book store or a thrift store. Its not that hard to learn. Each stroke represents a sound in a word and brief forms represent commonly used words and phrases. But just like learning cursive writing you have to practice to be able to read your own notes. lol.
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