Henry Binmore was born in London, England, September 23, 1833; educated in the schools of England and at Wickhall College, and came to Montreal, Canada, at the age of 16. He at once entered the profession of journalism and invented a system of phonographic reporting peculiar to himself. With it he was able to attain a desirable speed, but could not exchange reading with other systems. He continued at newspaper work in Montreal, New York, and St. Louis for several years, including a term as reporter in the Missouri state senate. In 1858 he was employed on the St. Louis Republican, a Douglas organ, and was sent to Illinois to report the triumphant home-coming of the senator. His reports appearing in the Republican showed such skill in his art that he was employed by the Chicago Times, the official newspaper of Douglas, to report the set debates with Lincoln. He shared this task with James B. Sheridan, a regular phonographic reporter, brought from Philadelphia. At the close of the campaign, Mr. Binmore became a private secretary to Douglas and in 1860 was made reporter in the House of Representatives. From this position he resigned to accept a secretarial appointment on the staff of General Prentiss and later on that of General Hurlbut. At the close of the war, he returned to Chicago, became a law reporter, was admitted to the bar, and died in that city, November 4, 1907. He left an unpublished manuscript on the art and experiences of reportorial writing.
MR. HORACE WHITE
Mr. White, the official reporter of the Debates for the Chicago Press and Tribune, was born in New Hampshire 1834. When three years of age, he was taken with the to Wisconsin Territory, where the city of Beloit now stands. In 1849, Horace entered Beloit College, was gradated in 1853, and became a reporter on the Chicago Evening Journal. In 1857 he spent a short time in Kansas, returning to Chicago to become an editorial writer on the Chicago Press and Tribune. While holding this position, he was designated as chief correspondent to accompany Abraham Lincoln in 1858 on his campaign against Stephen A. Douglas for the United States senatorship. The notable features of this campaign were given to the public chiefly through Mr. White's letters to the Chicago Tribune, and were subsequently condensed by him at the instance of Wilham H. Herndon and published in the latter 's Life of Lincoln. (2d ed., D. Appleton & Co., New York).
JAMES B. SHERIDAN
The art of phonography was early developed in Philadelphia
where was located a prominent school. Among
its early disciples was Mr. Sheridan, who became a prominent
reporter on Forney's Philadelphia Press. Forney
espoused the cause of Douglas in his breach with Buchanan
and when the senator entered upon his great canvass for
re-election, Forney sent Sheridan to Illinois to follow the
campaign. It was not the original intention to have him
remain throughout the autumn, but the value of his services
as a reporter was so evident that he was employed
to take the debates for the Democratic Chicago Times, in
connection with Mr. Binmore. He continued to write
descriptive articles for the Press, many of the quotations
from that paper printed in this volume being no doubt
contributed by him.
At the close of the campaign, Sheridan went to New York, enlisted as a northern Democrat in the Civil War, attained the rank of colonel, and later became the official reporter of the New York Supreme Court. In 1875, he was elected justice of the Marine Court of New York City. He died about 1905.
MR. ROBERT R. HITT
Robert Roberts Hitt was born in Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio, January 16, 1834. In 1837, the Hitts moved to Illinois and with their following settled in Ogle County, and established what became the village of Mount Morris. Educated at the Rock River Seminary at Mount Morris, an institution founded by his father and uncle, and later graduated from the Asbury (now Depauw) University of Indiana, the subject of this sketch trained himself in the art of phonography and in 1856 opened an office in Chicago and established himself as a court and newspaper shorthand reporter, the first expert stenographer permanently located in that city.
In 1867 and 1868 he made a tour of Europe and Asia,daily taking down in shorthand notes his impressions of the peoples and conditions of the countries and places visited. Upon his return he was again employed by the government in confidential cases, including missions to Santo Domingo and to the southern states to investigate the Ku Klux Klan, after which he became private secretary to Senator O. P. Morton, and in December of the same year was appointed secretary of legation at Paris, by President Grant, which position he held for six years. In 1880, upon the request of Mr. Blaine, then secretary of state. President Garfield appointed him assistant secretary, which position he resigned to become a candidate for Congress, to which he was elected in 1882. He served continuously from the Forty-eighth to the Fifty-eighth Congress. While serving his twelfth term, Mr. Hitt died on September 20, 1906 at Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island.
MR. ROBERT R. HITT
His work as a stenographer first brought him into the notice of Abraham Lincoln, then practicing law, and later as a newspaper reporter in reporting the campaign speeches of Lincoln and other prominent orators of the day, including Douglas, Logan, Lovejoy, and indeed of all the great speakers of the Middle West of that time. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates he was the verbatim reporter, receiving the highest praise from Mr. Lincoln for the accuracy of his work. During the sessions of 1858, 1859, and 1860, Mr. Hitt was the official stenographer of the Illinois legislature, having the contract for both the senate and the house.