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The Founding Era Collection > Founders Early Access > Adams Papers: Early Access > About the Early Access Adams Documents
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About Early Access Adams Documents

The Adams Papers transcriptions that appear here on the Founders Early Access website have been checked and verified by the staff of Documents Compass, a division of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Readers should be aware that these documents have not received the scholarly work that makes the published editions of the Founding Fathers so valuable that Edmund Morgan of Yale University once described them as “the major scholarly achievement of American historical scholarship in this [the 20th] century.” The documents that appear in Early Access, however, have undergone a rigorous process of review. Most of the Adams correspondence began with a transcription done by a member of that project’s editorial staff. Documents Compass has then taken that transcription; identified which original source to check against, should there be more than one; performed an oral tandem proofreading; entered the corrections; and added a note on the location (repository) of the original document, and whether or not the copy used was intended to be read by the receiver. Documents Compass also transcribed fifty Adams documents directly from a copy of the original source, then followed the remaining procedures for verification. What Documents Compass has not done is the scholarly work that ensures the authoritative accuracy of the documents, and lays the groundwork for the editors’ careful annotations. Please note again that the Adams papers editorial staff has not reviewed the work of Documents Compass, and that these documents should therefore not be cited in formal research. When these documents are formally published, the Early Access version will be removed from the Early Access area, and after further technical markup will be made available in the Adams Papers Digital Edition in the Rotunda Founding Era collection. The reader should also be alerted to the fact that some of the documents that appear here from the Adams papers will not appear in the scholarly edition after the editors have reviewed and made their selections for publication. These documents will remain available in this Early Access section.

Adams Editorial Style as Applied by Documents Compass

During the proofreading and verification of documents in Adams Papers: Early Access, the current editorial style in use by the Papers of John Adams and the Adams Family Papers was adhered to as closely as possible. The original manuscripts were copied literally and faithfully. Archaic or misspelled words are retained. Underlining is preserved. Lower-case letters at the start of sentences are retained, and sentences without punctuation are represented. Double punctuation, authorial square brackets, superscripts, canceled text, and line breaks and indents in the closing are reproduced with minimal adjustment. For example, a single mark under a superscripted letter is rendered as a superscripted period, while double marks under a superscripted letter are rendered as a superscripted colon. If a period came after the raised letter(s), then the period is placed on the line. Repeated words are not silently corrected. The placement of special characters, such as thorns, per signs, expansion signs, braces, and printer’s fists, is indicated as [thorn], [per sign], [expansion sign], [brace], and [printer’s fist]. Ligatures are reproduced as a single character. Interlineations appear as raised green text. Spaces in the text that are deemed to be intended by the author appear as visible gaps in the text, while authorial square brackets are rendered. Some exceptions to literalness were taken, however. A standard indent is used on all paragraphs, regardless of how the paragraph appeared in the original. The use of green ellipses indicates uncertain, ambiguous, or missing words resulting from damage, tape, binding, or blots. Text written in the margin is inserted at the closest point in the text. The formatting of tables and numerical lists only could be partially replicated.

Documents Compass Staff

Stephanie Finn
Hannah Holtzman
Angela Horan-Anderson
Chris Jackson
William Kurtz
Suzanne Morgen
Morgan Myers
Susan H. Perdue
Jon Schneider
Greg Seib
Susan Q. Severtson
Holly C. Shulman
Eric C. Stoykovich
Annie Swafford
Maria Thomas