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Editorial Conventions

The Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online edition will contain the letters of Elizabeth Montagu to a variety of correspondents who were important figures in politics, history and culture in the eighteenth century. In addition, a consolidated Inventory will be compiled, for the first time listing EM’s entire and traceable letter corpus, incorporating printed editions, current locations of manuscript letters, new discoveries and locations, and auction catalogue information. 

Each section editor will be given a list of the letters in advance, including a list of the copies, if relevant, and also the matching section of the Inventory to check for any errors, queries or additional information. The section editors will also have access to the digital images of the relevant correspondence to and from EM for information and more accurate annotation. As work progresses, we hope that section editors will uncover further letters from EM not listed in the spreadsheet, more information about printed versions and aid to substantiate or revise conjectural dating.  

The aim of the edition is to reproduce, as closely as possible subject to the textual policies outlined below, the state of the text in which each letter was sent and therefore first read. The digital edition will display the document image, the diplomatic text with and without annotations (clean text).  

The letters are presented in a diplomatic transcription of the originals. Section Editors will work on Word and send us one document per letter. 

  1. Transcriptions retain historical punctuation, abbreviations (ye, wd), spellings, misspellings and deletions 

  1. Original spelling retained, including ligatured forms. Long s will be silently amended. 

  1. Superscripts and subscripts are retained (note: different to interlineated words – see editorial signs below) EXCEPT for yr which should be consistently superscript. 

  1. Valedictory remarks will be placed according to manuscript with line breaks preserved 

  1. Postscripts are reproduced as they appear in the original document. 

  1. Quotations such as poems are preserved as they appear in the original document with indentation. 

  1. Date in source. This is the date EXACTLY as it appears in the source, complete with abbreviations and lack of detail. If the date is incomplete and the editor is using editorial conjecture or a note on the document in a later hand to determine further detail, then they can include that [in square brackets] and indicate what they have done in NOTES. If clarity is given in the endorsements of the letter, then include that [in square brackets] too, with the word ‘Endorsements’ to indicate where it was found, e.g. ‘March 22 [1788, Endorsements]’ The letter identified itself as having been written on ‘March 22’, and in the endorsements it was identified as 1788.  

  1. Contracted surnames (e.g. Lady B., Mr.F.) should not be expanded. Usages of this kind indicate informality and occasionally generate ambiguity and for this reason should be preserved. A note should be added to identify surname. Where a name is indicated by a number of dashes (e.g. Mr. F – –), the exact number of dashes should be transcribed as short hyphen dashes. 

  1. One document = one letter. 

Emendations: 

  1. The use of lower and upper case is reproduced faithfully – if the reading is unclear, the grammatically correct reading should be used (silent emendation) 

  1. If a final period has been inadvertently omitted, we will introduce one if readability is compromised. This is not necessary at the end of the letter immediately preceding the valedictory remarks. 

  1. Any punctuation under superscripted letter(s) in abbreviations is placed last, regardless of relative left-right orientation in the original. Thus, Mr. Mr: Mr– Mr may occur (inline versions Mr. Mr: Mr- Mr), but M.r M:r M-r will not 

  1. Symbols used in MSS to designate pounds and shillings will be silently standardise to ‘£’ and ‘s’ respectively. 

Prefatory Materials (Header): 

  1. EMCO Editor’s Name 

  1. Identification  

  1. Autograph: Autograph Letter Signed (A.L.S) or Holograph Letter Signed (H.L.S) so far all of the letters in the Montagu project have been Autograph: Autograph = author’s hand, Holograph = other hand (secretary etc.)   

  2. Number of pages 

  3. Archive: please use the following abbreviations (submit new archive names to Editor-in-Chief): 

  4. Manuscript specific catalogue or folio numbers number 

  5. Repository abbreviations: 

    Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service (BAR) 
    Beineke Library, Yale University (BLY) 
    Bodleian Library (Bod) 
    British Library (BL) 
    Doctor Johnson’s House (DJH) 
    Hampshire Archives (HamA) 
    Houghton Library, Harvard University (HLH) 
    Huntington Library (Literary Manuscript Collection) (HLM) 
    Huntington Library (Montagu Collection) (HMC) 
    King’s College, Aberdeen University Library (AUL) 
    Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University (LW) 
    John Rylands Library, Manchester (JRL) 
    Longleat House (LH) 
    Mitchell Library, Glasgow (ML) 
    National Archives, London (NA) 
    National Art Library, V&A (V&A) 
    National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh (NLS) 
    National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh (NRS) 
    New York Public Library (NYPL) 
    Nottingham University Library (NU) 
    Princeton University Library (PU) 
    Sheffield City Archive (SA) 
    Westminster City Archives (WCA) 
  6. Letterbook copy if relevant – do not transcribe all copies but annotate differences between copies in footnotes 

  7. Seal (in case image is separated from transcription) 

  8. Deletions and editorial comments 

  9. Printed source followed by relevant information 

  1. The address on the outside of the letter 

  1. Endorsements stating in whose hand, if known.   

  1. Copies (if applicable and which are uploaded onto OneDrive) and their respective archive and archive number 

  1. Copyist if applicable and if known. 

 

Editorial Signs and Terms Editorial Signs and Terms

|  

new manuscript page 

house 

deleted, crossed out or erased by author. 

/house\ 

denotes word or letter interlineated by author 

Mrs/ Ye/ Ld 

for superscript, use superscript 

Ye/Yr 

always superscript 

{house} 

uncertain reading 

{?} 

illegible 

{?} 

illegible and deleted, crossed out or erased by author – a note should clarify which it is. 

[ ] 

word torn from text or otherwise damaged 

[house] 

editorial conjecture of word torn from text or otherwise obliterated  

[London] 

non-given but certain place or date 

[? London] 

editorial conjecture of place, date 

 

Common Abbreviations 

£ 

l. 

2nd 

2nd / 2d 

3rd, 23rd, etc. 

3d / 23d 

about 

abt 

account 

acct 

acknowledgments 

acknowledgts 

against 

agt / agst 

Archbishop 

Abishop / ABp / ABp 

Bishop 

Bp / B. 

Bodleian 

Bodln / Bod. 

Christ Church 

Christchurch / Ch.Ch. / Christ Ch. / XtCh. 

compliments 

complimts / comps 

could 

cd / cd 

Doctors / Doctor / Dr 

Drs / Dr / Dr 

Duchess Dowager 

Dss. Dr 

Edition 

Edn 

line 

l. 

Lord 

Ld / Ld 

mm 

monument 

mont 

Mr 

Mr 

MS/MSS 

MSs. / M.S.S. / Ms 

note 

not. 

number 

numb. 

p. 

pag. / pg 

quarter 

qr 

Queen 

Qu. 

receipt 

rect 

received 

recd 

should 

shd 

Sir 

Sr 

that 

yt 

The 

ye 

Vice-Chancellor 

V Chancellor / V.C. 

Vols. 

Vls / Vs 

Which 

wch 

would 

wd 

your 

yr

 

See also Bruce Redford's comparable list of expanded abbreviations in the The Hyde Edition of The Letters of Samuel Johnson, 5 vols. (Princeton University Press and Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992-94): abt (about), acct (account), agst (against), Bp  (Bishop), cd (could), compts (compliments), Dr (Dear), Ld (Lord), Lop (Lordship), Ly (Lady), Lyship (Ladyship), recd (received), sd (should), Sr (Sir), wc (which), wd (would), yr (your) 


Please note that all dates and location information are provisional, initially taken from the library and archive catalogues. As our section editors continue to work through the material we will update our database and the changes will be reflected across the edition.