Transcription Guidelines

As accurately as possible, we have faithfully rendered and transcribed all letters. We have retained original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, paragraph division, indentations and abbreviations. Interlineations are indicated by carets (^and^). Underlining has been maintained. Double or triple underlines are rendered as a single underline. Dashes are transcribed as faithfully as possible, with one keystroke (-), or a dash representative of the length of the original. Unless the meaning of a word is unclear, apostrophes have not been added when omitted by the author, nor is the word marked as misspelled (for example, Amys is not followed by a [sic], or Amy[']s).

Words that have both a British English and American English spelling were maintained and not corrected, nor are they indicated with [sic].

Misspelled words are left in their original form and indicated with [sic]. Misspelled names, places or events are corrected in annotations at the end of each letter. Misspellings include instances where there is a perceived typographical error. For example, a word is considered misspelled if the author's intention was to write "of", and instead wrote "off".

If there is conjecture as to the accuracy of a word, it has been entered in brackets with a question mark.

If it is impossible to enter the text, the missing word or passage is represented as: [obliterated], or [illegible] within the body of the transcription.

Each new transcribed page begins with the page number typed flush to the left margin and rendered: (Page 1).

Additional Formatting Decisions

For text that is not in the main body of letter (such as writing in margins, addresses written on the backs of letters, writing that overlaps other writing, etc.) , "[Text...]" has been included in the transcription, as well as the location and the orientation of the writing. Examples include:

If words are in a margin, the transcribers has indicated the specific margin, as well as the orientation of the writing, if the page were held right-side up:

[Text in top margin, written upside down]

Frequently an address appears in the middle of a page. The transcriber has included the location and the orientation of the writing to someone viewing the letter or a scan right-side up:

[Text in center of page, written downward]

If text is in a place not specified here, the transcriber has done their best to indicate where on the page the text appears and its orientation:

[Text halfway down the page on right side, written downward]


[Text on left side of page overlaying main text, written upward]

When text appears in the top margin of page it has been transcribed first, and the transcriber has indicated when the regular text of the letter has begun again.

[Text in top margin]

I forgot my other favorite people Rachel and Valentine!

[Text normal]

Dearest favorites Isaac and Amy,

Are you well? I sure hope you are.

The sections of the transcription have been labeled according to the order that a reader would view them when seeing the document or the scan for the first time. With rare exception, sections of letter are transcribed from top to bottom, and then, for the most part, left to right. Writing in the top margin will usually go first, then the main body of text, and then the other margins, etc.

Sometimes a section of writing that starts in one place in one orientation moves into another section, and often in another orientation. For example, a writer who has gotten to the bottom of the page but has more to say may curve his writing upward into the right margin for a little mor space. In that case, the transcriber has inserted "[Continues...]".

The most common instance of this is a writer finishing his or her letter in the right margin:

Oh dear I've run out of space but I'm not

[Continues upward into right margin]

done! But now I am. Yours affectionately R G

Writing in two margins:

[Text in top margin, written upside down]

This empty space looked suficient [sic], but it turns out I

[Continues downward into left margin]

will need this other margin as well. Thine R

Sometimes the writing can continue in the same direction:

[Text in left margin, written upward]

I've never seen a margin I couldn't fill and this

one is certainly no exception and neither

[Continues in top margin, written upward]

is this one. Send my love

to your family. R

If sections of the letter do not reflect the order in which they should be read, the transcriber has pointed the reader to the next section of letter by giving a rough direction and the first three words of the section where he or she should keep reading.

Sometimes the letter is interrupted by an address:

Things are mostly going smoothly but sometimes I could use

[Continues below with line beginning "a little direction"]

[Text in center of page, written upwards]


University of Rochester

Rachister [sic], NY

[Text at bottom of page, written normal]

a little direction to help me find my way.

Sometimes a sentence continues on another page:

(Page 1)

[Text in top margin, written upside down]

to go back to the begining [sic] to make any sense out of it.

[Text normal]

Sometimes things are easy to follow but then

(Page 2)

sometimes I go all the way to the end of something, and then I have

[Continues in top margin of page 1 with line beginning "to go back"]

Sometimes a letter is written perfectly normally, but the transcription is interrupted by some notes in a margin.

(Page 1)

Things are going prety [sic] smoothly, yet I worry that something might get

[Continues on page 2 with line beginning "in the way"]

(Page 2)

[Text in top margin, written upside down]

be so bad after all.

[Text normal]

in the way and make things confuseing [sic], tho maybe it wouldn't

[Continues in top margin with line beginning "be so bad"