A native of Belleville, Illinois, Bartholomew was an official court reporter and is considered the "Father of the Stenograph." The Bartholomew Stenograph was the first machine to attain a degree of success in the reporting field. Many machines were manufactured and some schools taught its operation. The venture was not a financial success, however, but Bartholomew remained supportive of machine shorthand. In 1883, he wrote, "The old prejudices against machine stenography are giving way to confidence in, and acknowledgement of, its superiority over the pen, and the tide of public favor is raising rapidly in the front."
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