Technical Details about the Sherburne documents Letters of the Sherburne Family

Technical Information - Table of Contents


Notes on the Transcriptions: General Conventions

Spelling is retained as written. This is so even of the most obvious errors of inscription or slips of the pen. In cases where words are identifiable but constituent letters are ambiguous, we have sought to render the author's intended spelling as accurately as possible, as suggested by practice elsewhere in the letters.

Capitalization is retained as written. If in a particular instance the author's intent regarding uppercase/lowercase remains unclear after consideration of a letter's form, its relative size, and tendencies elsewhere in the letters, we resort to modern practice.

As a general rule, punctuation is retained as written. Terminal punctuation is never inserted where it is lacking in the manuscript; nor, in such cases, are sentence endings indicated by the inclusion of an additional space. Especially elaborate, idiosyncratic, or decorative usages of punctuation marks by particular writers, often in the context of dates and other numbers, may be modified or normalized to the keyboard. Dashes that might serve some purpose as punctuation are retained. Hyphens or other marks used for words broken between lines are omitted. Apostrophes replace alternative punctuation forms in contractions. Ampersands are used to indicate all symbols meaning "and".

Crossed out words or passages that remain legible have been indicated with strikethrough type, as have readable erasures; the corrected version follows. Illegible crossouts have been silently omitted.

Interlineated words or passages are silently incorporated into the text at the point indicated by the author (or, lacking this, at the point in an adjacent line that renders the text most coherent). Marginal text has been silently incorporated in a similar manner. Text added by the author to the margins of previously completed pages is included in the transcriptions at what appears to be its proper point in the narrative. Such blocks of text are identified by headings reading "{Additional text on Page 1}," etc.

Abbreviations and contractions are retained as written, and are never expanded.

Underlined words or passages are indicated with underscoring. Different underlining practices (i.e., single or double underlining; continuous or broken underlining) have been regularized to a continuous, single-line underscoring.

Missing words or word fragments are indicated by bracketed ellipsis points. Three bracketed points [. . .] are used: 1) for missing word fragments (with the brackets placed adjacent to the transcribed part of the word); 2) for missing individual words. Four bracketed points [. . . .] are used: 1) for missing sequences of words; 2) for missing sequences of words and word fragments. Missing words or phrases are never interpolated.

Paragraph indentations are standardized to the customary five-character space. When an author has chosen not to indent the first line of a new paragraph, that format is respected. Long dashes or gaps within the text typically have been interpreted to indicate a new paragraph, and are so rendered.

Non-textual manuscript elements that are essentially decorative in function are not represented.

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Notes on the Transcriptions: Annotations

Editorial interventions, indicated by characters in square brackets, are used throughout the transcriptions as a means of annotation. Such interventions are used mostly with reference to proper nouns, especially the names of persons and places. Interventions whose purpose is limited to the correction of misspelled words take the form [sp. _____], with the intervention following the misspelling.

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Notes on the Transcriptions: Letters

The formats of the original letters are not duplicated in the transcriptions. Dates and places, salutations, closings, and postscripts are normally left-justified and separated from letter bodies — and from one another — by single spaces. However, if any of these elements are patently integrated into the body of the letter, they are so rendered in the transcription. Line breaks are retained primarily in opening and closing elements and in the bodies of letters following the ends of paragraphs. New paragraphs are either left-justified or uniformly indented, depending on practice in the manuscript. Line breaks are also observed in certain unusual instances within the bodies of letters; for example, the inclusion of verse.

Insofar as possible, the text of each transcribed letter is presented in the order in which it was originally written. Thus, text added by the author to the margins of previously completed pages is included in the transcriptions at what appears to be its proper point in the narrative. Such blocks of text are identified by headings reading "Additional text on Page 1," etc.

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Notes on the Images

To create the images used in this Web site, manuscript materials are originally scanned in full color at 150 DPI and saved as .JPG image files. These images are, as necessary, digitally manipulated a minimal amount to increase the contrast between the words and the page on which they are written, and thus increase the legibility of the text.

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Contact Information

Questions and comments regarding this Web page should be directed to Ray Mann.

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