Early reporters.jpg

Photo taken by Coley Griffin at the top of

Rib Mountain when WSRA was having a convention in Wausau .  Left to right:  Walter Evers, Circuit Court Reporter, Wausau ; George Alderson, Circuit Court Reporter, Madison; Thelma (last name unknown), County Court Reporter , Viroqua; Gertrude Jacquot Krohn, County Court Reporter & Register in Probate, Dodge County ; Paul Schuh; Henry Pinkerton, County Court


Oshkosh ; and Louis Svacina.  (Louis Svacina and Paul Schuh went to each county talking to reporters about forming an association.)

Beginning Of WCRA, April 1940:


(As a PREAMBLE: What follows is being presented by N.J. (Coley) Griffin, RPR

(Ret.), a charter member of WSRA, based almost entirely on an abridgment of the faithful and complete original minutes prepared by Mabel D. Holt, Juvenile and

County Court Reporter of Kenosha County, the first Secretary-Treasurer of WSRA, supplemented only on a few instances by this writer's personal recollections.

Upon being asked by Past-President Roberta Bitler as to the organization date of WSRA, the writer assured Roberta of the correctness of the April 13, 1940, date because he was present and was a charter member. Roberta in this past September said that for the purposes of preparation of a newsletter she would like to have as many recollections as possible from the writer. Roberta was then assured that the original secretary had been most efficient in preparing minutes, that if the original minute book could be located a much more accurate report could be prepared. At the request of Roberta and following a diligent search by our present longtime efficient Secretary, Karlye Canfield, the original minute book was unearthed. The priceless story of our organization follows. Quotation marks will not be used and the writer has put certain words in bold for emphasis.)


The minute book bears the cover label of:



MINUTES: 1940 - 1949.


PRELIMINARY MEETING, February 24, 1940, Elks Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Pursuant to notices sent to the attached list of Wisconsin Reporters by National

President Healy, a meeting was held at the Elks Club in Milwaukee Saturday afternoon, February 24.

PRESENT: John J. Healy, president of the National Shorthand Reporters' Association; W.A.J. Warnement and Louis Goldstein, treasurer and secretary of the National; and the following reporters from Wisconsin: (the names of 34 Wisconsin reporters are set forth.)

Louis S. Svacina acted as chairman, stating the meeting was a result of conversation had at the National Shorthand Reporters' meeting in New York in 1937, at which time Wisconsin reporters in attendance expressed a desire for a Wisconsin association and the possibility of organizing.

President Healy extended congratulations from the National Association and said he hoped this gathering would result in the formation of a strong state association: he stated that, as a result of correspondence with Wisconsin reporters, he had called for a National Board  meeting to be held in Chicago on February 22 and 23, so that they might be able to attend this meeting . . . . He stated that the National officers were here to help . . .  Mr. Goldstein then spoke.

 Mr. Warnement then spoke, as did various of the Wisconsin reporters present.

(Lengthy and complete minutes of the above are included in the minutes.)


Mr. Dorsch moved that the chairman of this meeting be the temporary president of the new organization. Moved and seconded that nominations be closed. Mr. Svacina requested Mr. Healy to take the chair. Mr. Healy put the motion, which was carried unanimously and the chairman accepted the temporary chairmanship.

Mable D. Holt of Kenosha was nominated as secretary-treasurer; motion was carried unanimously and Mabel Holt accepted temporarily.

Harry Manzer (Madison) was nominated as vice-president and Mr. LeBow moved the nominations be closed. Motion carried. Mr. Manzer was elected unanimously. (Mr. Goldstein had mentioned in his talk that Harry Manzer joined the National in 1908 and holds the record, for Wisconsin, for the longest consecutive membership.)

A fifteen minute recess was requested by the chairman so that the question of committees might be discussed.

The meeting reconvened, and committee appointments were announced for

Constitution and By-Laws, Membership; and Executive Committee.  Then in the minute book follows a naming of a Mailing List of Wisconsin Shorthand Reporters, setting forth their address and classifications.


(NOTE BY THIS WRITER: Following the Preliminary Meeting of February 24,

1940, and prior to the Organizational Meeting of April 13, 1940, two Milwaukee Civil Court reporters, Louis Svacina, with more than 20 years of experience, and Paul Schuh, with more than 16 years of experience, using their vacation time and at their personal expense, visited the reporters in each county in Wisconsin to explain and extol the merits of joining the state association, and inviting and urging their attendance. Both Mr. Svacina and Mr. Schuh were fine persuasive gentlemen, and this arduous service on their parts was of great benefit to our upcoming association.)


An Executive Committee Meeting called by the temporary chairman was held at Kenosha, Wisconsin, on March 30, 1940, at which time the draft of the proposed Constitution and  By-Laws was discussed and, with one exception, was approved, and their adoption at the next meeting of April 13, 1940, was recommended.  Mr. Schuh moved that the proposed Constitution and By-Laws as approved by the Executive Committee be mimeographed and sent to each name on the mailing list. Seconded and carried.


A letter to accompany the above, and announcing the meeting at Madison on April 13, 1940, was drafted.


Ada White, of Madison, was selected as the registration clerk for the April 13 meeting.

The Organization Meeting of the Wisconsin Shorthand Reporters' Association was held in the Circuit Courtrooms (Branch 2), Fourth Floor of the Courthouse, Madison, on April 13, 1940, at 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon, after registrations had been taken by Miss White and Miss Gladys McGuire. Louis S. Svacina presided.

The roll of reporters registered was called.

Fred Hoppe moved, the secretary having sent to each member a copy of the minutes of the last meeting in February, that the reading of the minutes be waived and they be accepted without reading. Motion seconded by Ray Ford, and carried.

Mr. Svacina made a few remarks regarding the object of the organization and spoke optimistically of its future.

(Very detailed minutes of the meeting taken by the very efficient Secretary, Mabel Holt are then set forth.)

The matter of the adoption of the Constitution was next taken up, Mr. Harry McDermott, chairman of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee, leading the discussion. A motion to amend the Constitution was amended and carried.

The vote on the adoption of the Constitution as a whole as amended was then taken, and the motion carried.

Mr. McDermott asked Mr. Schuh, a member of the committee, to lead the discussion on the adoption of the By-Laws. Mr. Schuch led the discussion, an amendment was offered and carried.

Discussion of the remainder of the By-Laws brought out no other suggestions and Mr. Schuh moved the adoption of the By-Laws as amended. Seconded by Miss Frey, and carried.

A recess was taken and the meeting reconvened.

The meeting reconvened for the report of the nominating committee; Mr. Weber, chairman, reported that most of the reporters present take the stand that this is an annual meeting and election, and the committee presents the following slate:

President: L. S. Svacina; Vice-President, Harry E. Manzer; Secretary-Treasurer, Mabel D. Holt; Librarian-Historian, Andrew J. Snyder. For members of the Executive Committee: R. E. Hochtrit, Ralf T. Runge, Ella Crooks and C. J. Weber.

Mr. Dorsch moved the nominations be closed and the secretary cast a unanimous ballot for those named. Seconded by Mr. Crabb, and carried. Mr. Crabb explained the committee attempted to select the executive committee geographically, so that the whole state would be represented, also reporters from different lines of work.

Additional discussions were had after which, on motion duly made and seconded, the meeting was adjourned.

Then follows in the minute book a printing of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Wisconsin Shorthand Reporters Association and a listing of the Charter Members of the Wisconsin Shorthand Reporters Association (29 in number) and their places of employment.

Then follows a listing of the Committee Personnel including the Chairman and Members of each Committee.

Then follows the minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting, Madison, Wisconsin, April 13, 1940. The matter of the next meeting of the Association was discussed and it was decided to hold it on June 29 at Devi-Bara resort, Devils Lake, Wisconsin. The motion to adjourn was carried.


(The balance of the bound Minute Book contains detailed minutes of the various meetings of WSRA and Executive Committee meetings, some in considerable detail including Presidents' annual convention addresses, concluding with the Association meeting of July 18 and 19, 1949, and the Executive Committee meeting of December 14, 1949.)


N. J. (Coley) Griffin, RPR (Ret.)


If you have any comments, concerns, or questions about our association, or you would like additional information about court reporting as a profession, please contact us at president.wcra@gmail.com.

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