Editorial Conventions

In general, the list transcriptions found in the Thomas Jefferson’s Libraries project are rendered based upon the textual method adopted by The Papers of Thomas Jefferson and The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series. This means that original spelling, capitalization, and punctuation found in the primary source material have been retained in the transcription.

One exception to this rule, however, is the way periods found at the end of book formats in Jefferson's manuscript book lists are rendered. Such periods are retained and transcribed on this site as found in the manuscript, whereas these are no longer transcribed and are silently omitted under current editorial policies practised by the editors of the letterpress editions of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson and The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series.

Strikeouts and line-throughs have been rendered to reflect as closely as possible what is found in the manuscript. Where symbols, characters, or literary devices (for example, check marks) cannot be rendered exactly as found because of technical limitations faced within the web environment, these have been replaced by surrogates or by editorial notes. These, together with how gaps, illegible text, or wording supplied by editorial conjecture are rendered, are all detailed under Textual Devices.

Users should note that the first volume of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson was published in 1950. Since then, modifications in textual policy and editorial apparatus have been implemented over time, one example being the adoption of a more literal approach with effect from Volume 30 of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson in 2003. The first volume of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, published in 2004, adopts this more literal approach as well. Jefferson quotes cited in the Thomas Jefferson’s Libraries database are based upon transcriptions as published in the respective volumes of these letterpress editions of Jefferson’s correspondence, and do not necessarily reflect changes in textual method since a particular volume was published.

For a guide to abbreviations utilized in database entries, see Abbreviations.

This website often cites or makes references to published works in the form of abbreviated or short titles. For full citations of these short titles, see Short Title List.