Copyright 1999. Laurens Papers Project. All rights reserved.

Aids to Reading the Documents

The Papers of Henry Laurens significantly changed its textual policy beginning with the publication of the edition's tenth volume (from which the documents in this electronic mini-edition are taken). In the first nine volumes the punctuation was regularized, capitalization was supplied where appropriate and many abbreviations and contractions were expanded. The edition ignored most canceled text, silently inserted interlineations and brought superscripts down to the line. The editors sought to produce a clear text that created little difficulty for anyone whose primary focus was on the content of the document.

A new school of textual criticism emerged in the 1970s which demanded a greater concern for the fidelity of the text. Partly in response to this valid criticism the Laurens edition adopted new textual principles. The text now contains no silent editorial changes.

The authors' emendations to the text are indicated by symbols (as illustrated below) when possible or if necessary in footnotes. Readers who do not want to see these alterations may change to a clear text copy of any document in this mini-edition.

Textual Conventions

Capitalization, spelling, punctuation, abbreviations and contractions are normally retained. Superscripts are retained.
Underlined words are retained.
Text has justified left and right margins.

Textual Devices

[roman]1 Text supplied from another source identified in footnotes or text set apart when editorial clarification is required.
[illegible] Editorial insertion.
^text^ Interlineations.
text Canceled text which has been recovered.
illegible Canceled text which has not been recovered.
tilde Flourish at end of word is writer's form of abbreviation and indicates omission of characters (usually at the end of the word).
- Bar over character in word is writer's form of abbreviation omission of one or more characters (usually in the middle of the word).
/ Indicates line break (used in close and source notes)

Changes in This Mini-Edition

Some characters used in the print edition are not available for this mini-edition. Thus the symbol for per is replaced by the word "per" and the thorn becomes "th".

Although the print version contains both indented and non-indented (block) paragraphs, this was not possible in the mini-edition. Paragraphs are indicated by an extra line space.

Anyone interested can look at the images of the pages from the printed edition and see the symbols and the paragraphs as originally designed. These images may be found at the end of the Table of Contents or accessed from the page numbers within each document.


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This page updated 1 July 1999 by