Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who's Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Blanche Reisel

Blanche passed away last December. There was a big 90th birthday celebration for her in March of 2009 at Forlinis. Photos above from her son Paul. Hunter College High School? Maybe Blanche could have been nominated for Supreme Court Justice?
From the recent newsletter of New York State Court Reporter's Association
Blanche Riesel Passed Away: Went to the World's Fair to practice Gregg Shorthand by taking down Albert Einstein's speech
Blanche Riesel, a former Head Hearing Reporter of NYS's Workers' Compensation Board, passed away on December 26, 2009 at the age of 90. She had retired from Workers' Comp., from a job she loved on December 29, 1982. She always appreciated many long term friendships from her 35 years there along with her professional and collegial relationships.Blanche was the first in her family to be born in America prior to women having the right to vote in 1919. She attended public schools including Hunter College High School for Girls and George Washington where it said in the yearbook that, “Her grades are like a fever, they run so high.” She was devastated when her immigrant family needed her income so she was unable to attend Barnard College where she had been offered a scholarship. At 17 she found a job typing which evolved into Gregg Shorthand. She took speed classes at Hunter and Columbia Colleges and had been awarded the Gregg Diamond Medal for writing 200 words per minute. She became a CSR and taught Gregg Short hand at Abbe Institute and Drake Schools. She created Gregg shortcuts which were later published. Blanche worked at the War Department during World War II and utilized her reporting skills to record conferences of steel industry executives; she requested they wear clothing pins with numbers to identify each when speaking. She later briefly joined Unemployment Insurance then transferred to Workers' Comp. as a Hearing Reporter in 1944. In 1977 she became a supervisor, Head Hearing Reporter.As a 20-year old, Blanche brought her steno book to The World's Fair to practice Gregg Shorthand by taking down Albert Einstein's speech. She was mistaken for the official stenographer who did not show up that day. She was brought to the front of the audience and dutifully recorded Einstein's speech while a New York City policeman held a chair she was standing on. After,she typed the speech and mailed it to the appropriate people.She attempted to retire for about nine weeks but realized she needed to keep busy. She returned to the workplace at an insurance company for a number of years along with working in some law offices and acted as an office manager at her son's company for many years through December 2008.She had been a member for many years of the New York State Shorthand Reporters Association and was awarded a certificate for NYU's Women's Law Class. Blanche is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Paul and Helen Levine and by her grandchildren Grant, who is a junior at Syracuse University and Anne, a freshman at Johns Hopkins University. Thanks to Blanche’s son Paul for sharing this with us. Our condolences go out to the family of this great lady.

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