Roe, Richard (DNB00)

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ROE, RICHARD (d. 1853), stenographer and miscellaneous writer, doubtless graduated B.A. in the university of Dublin in 1789. In the early part of his career he may have been a mathematical and classical teacher. Afterwards he was in holy orders. He was residing in Dublin in 1821, and in 1835. He was a popular bass-singer, and gave in London some glee and ballad entertainments. He died in London in March 1853.

His principal works are: 1. ‘A New System of Shorthand, in which legibility and brevity are secured upon the most natural principles, with respect to both the signification and formation of the characters: especially by the singular property of their sloping all one way according to the habitual motion of the hand in common writing,’ London, 1802, 8vo; 1808, 4to. 2. ‘Radiography, or a System of Easy Writing, comprised in a set of the most simple and expeditious characters,’ London, 1821, 8vo. These works mark a new departure in the development of stenography. Roe was in fact the originator of that cursive or script style of shorthand which, though it has never found favour in this country, has acquired wide popularity in Germany, where it has been successfully developed by Gabelsberger, Stolze, Arends, and others.

Roe was also the author of: 3. ‘Elements of English Metre,’ London, 1801, 4to. 4. ‘Principles of Rhythm both in Speech and Music,’ Dublin, 1823, 4to, dedicated to the president and members of the Royal Irish Academy. 5. ‘Introduction to Book-keeping,’ London, 1825, 12mo. 6. ‘The English Spelling Book,’ Dublin, 1829, 12mo; a work of great value to the advocates of spelling reform. 7. ‘Analytical Arrangement of the Apocalypse,’ Dublin, 1834, 4to. 8. ‘Analytical Arrangement of the Holy Scriptures,’ 2 vols. London, 1851, 8vo; on the title-page he gives his name as Richard Baillie Roe.

The shorthand writer is sometimes confused with Richard Roe, a surveyor, skilled in mathematics, who died at Derby in July 1814, aged 56 (Gent. Mag. 1814, ii. 194; Biogr. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816, pp. 299, 446).

[Allibone's Dict. of Authors; Faulmann's Historische Grammatik der Stenographie, p. 157; Gibson's Bibliography of Shorthand, p. 194; Gibson's Memoir of Simon Bordley, 1890, pp. 11–13; Levy's Hist. of Shorthand, p. 137; Lewis's Historical Account of Shorthand, p. 182; Shorthand, i. 103–7, 130; Zeibig's Geschichte der Geschwindschreibkunst, pp. 89, 212; Brown's Dict. of English Musicians; Athenæum, 1853, p. 360.]

T. C.