On Feb. 6, 1930, the Easterner published a story about a student setting a record typing speed at 97 words per minute. The Easterner later became the Daily News. Digital Media Repository, photo courtesy
On this day: ‘Mary Bertha types Ninety-Seven Words Per Minute, Receives jeweled pin’
Exactly 88 years ago, Ball State University was Ball State Teachers College, the Daily News was the Easterner and typing was a coveted skill.
On the front page of the Easterner published Feb. 6, 1930, a story titled “Freshman makes highest record” printed with “Mary Bertha Types Ninety-seven Words Per Minute, receives jeweled pin” detailed underneath.
“Mary Bertha of Gary, freshman at Ball State Teachers College, beat her own record last week by writing ninety-seven words per minute with four errors,” the story began. “As a result of this high record Miss Bertha will receive a sapphire jeweled pin from the Underwood company.”
Given the speed for the average computer typist is 41 words per minute, and Bertha typed 97 words per minute on a typewriter, it seems she deserved the “sapphire jeweled pin” from the testing company.
“This is the highest record ever made in this school. Mr. Losch, an Underwood representative, said that as far as he knew this is the highest record ever made in any high school or college,” the story read.
In addition to the pin, Bertha also earned two typewriters for her record-setting speed.