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All rights to the essays published here remain with their respective authors. Permission to publish or excerpt from the essays must be obtained from the authors.

The images of the manuscript letters and photographs may not be reproduced without obtaining prior written permission from the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

For more information, please contact us.


These guidelines have been used in the transcriptions of the Frederick Douglass letters in the University of Rochester collections. They are based upon the guidelines used in the Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Project, Ann D. Gordon, editor.

Editors should do their best to prepare the most accurate transcription possible.

Letters should follow a standard format.
  • The date of each letter should be the first line of text, set flush to the right margin.
  • The salutation of each letter should be printed on one line and set flush to the left margin.
  • The signature of each letter should be the last line of text (with exception noted below) and set flush to the right margin. The signature should appear in italics.
  • Postscripts, if any, should appear on the last line of text and set flush to the left margin.
  • Paragraphs should be indented.

The transcription of the letters should be as accurate as possible. The author's punctuation and spelling should be retained. Underlining and capitalization, abbreviations, indentations or their absence, and paragraphing or its absence, should be retained. The author's form of dating should be retained.

Emendations to the text should be marked. Where the author has crossed out text, or added words above or below the line of text, the change should be noted. Strikeouts and erasures should be indicated with strikethrough text. Interlineations may be indicated with the added word(s) in brackets.

Numbered footnotes should be used to provide the reader with information necessary to understand the letters. The numbered notes should primarily identify references to people and events mentioned in the letters. They should be identified at their first mention in the text.

Incomplete dates and place names should be added in brackets.


Date of Letter [added information]


Indented paragraph of text. Strikethrough


Post Script