Editorial Method

A purpose of Women of Faith in the Latter Days is to allow women to tell their own stories in their own words. Transcriptions of personal writings will be kept as authentic as possible to be true to the woman’s own voice. We also realize, however, that her words must be readable, and sometimes it does require minimal punctuation and editor’s insertions to clarify details. Below is the editorial method to follow as you transcribe the personal writings of women in the series:

[ ] Editor’s Insertions:

Commentary made by the editor to clarify or correct information in the original text will be surrounded by [brackets].

o   Correct misspellings of words otherwise difficult read (i.e. thou[gh]t, els[e], filosafical [philosophical])

o   Name persons who are not formally introduced by the writer (i.e. Sister [Elizabeth Ann] Whitney, T[homas] B. Marsh)

o   Include additional information to clarify location (i.e. Birmingham [Alabama], Birmingham [England])

o   Correct misinformation

  • Martha Hughes Cannon was the first woman [state] senator.
  • Joseph Smith was martyred on July 23 1844 [June 27, 1844].

Misspellings and grammatical errors will be kept true to the text. Corrections may be added as needed to make a sentence understandable. Editor’s insertions will be noted in [brackets].

  • I promised to go [to] Farmington to vis[i]t Helen and baby.
  • Worked harder then ever I dreamed off to Help settel Coalsville.
  • Went to [Reapers’] Club yestreday. Had a grand time


Light punctuation may be silently added if a sentence is unclear without it. It is not necessary to add [editor’s brackets] to inserted punctuation.

  • Before: “Presidents Young Taylor and Woodruff”
  • After: “Presidents Young, Taylor and Woodruff”

If  it is appropriate to insert a period, please capitalize the beginning letter of the following sentence.

  • Before: Sun 5 Frank’s birthday he had 3 or 4 little Boys here after meeting to dinner listened to Estelle Neff give lecture in conjoint i attended
  • After: Sun 5 Frank’s birthday he had 3 or 4 little Boys here after meeting to dinner. Listened to Estelle Neff give lecture in conjoint [fast meeting] i attended

If your author did not capitalize the first letter in a sentence, please change it to upper case.

  • Before: I staid all nite nursing John. he was well by morning.
  • After: I staid all nite nursing John. He was well by morning.


For simplicity’s sake, we do not document interlineations. Insert the additional details written above or below a line into the intended place within a sentence.

Illegible Words

If a word is illegible, simply note it in brackets.

  • Must be sure not to [illegible] when next I see him.

Blank space: ___

Authors may intentionally leave blank spaces which can be denoted by 3 underscore markings: ___

  • Sister ___ of California

Abc strikethrough—equates with strikethrough in text

  • Rec’d a letter from Mercy Mary Fielding [Smith].
  • Wrote an article for the Women’s Woman’s Exponent
  • Was angry with my husband made amends.

Delete accidentally repeated words if they do not alter the meaning of the text.

  • “Went to theatre with with George.” (Delete repeated with)
  • “Had a letter from from Lucy.” (Delete repeated from)

*Endnotes will be used instead of footnotes.

*The latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style will be used for citing sources.

*For further information about documentary editing, a good resource is Mary-Jo Kline and Susan Holbrooke  Perdue, A Guide to Documentary Editing,3rd ed. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008).