Editorial Method


This website presents a complete transcript of the journal that Isabelle Maria Harris kept during her incarceration at the Utah Territorial Penitentiary from 18 May to 31 August 1883. This transcript was produced largely in accordance with the editorial conventions developed by the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

Rules of Transcription

The initial transcription for this website was made from digital images of Harris’s original journal, which is housed at the Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah (MS 1818). Images are accessible online in the Church History Catalog. The transcript has been verified twice, sometimes three times, against the original journal.

The overall transcription approach is to reproduce the original, word for word. Individual letters or small groups of letters that do not amount to a word, canceled or not, are silently emended.

Misspellings are preserved, without sic being employed. Other characteristics of the inscription are reproduced as closely as is possible and practical.

Cancellations and insertions

Words canceled in the original have been struck through in the journal, regardless of cancellation method. Insertions (that is, additions made after the initial inscription) are set off in <angle brackets>. Insertions above or below a line of text or written in a margin are placed at the apparent intended point of insertion.

Insubstantial cancellations and insertions—those used only to correct spelling and punctuation—are silently emended, and only the final spelling and punctuation are reproduced. If the correction alters the meaning, the underlying word is transcribed as a strikeout and the correction written thereafter as an <insertion>. If it is apparent that the correction was made before Harris had continued writing, the preferred word simply follows the canceled one without insertion marks.

Date headings

Standardized headings giving dates and days of the week have been supplied in a large typeface for each entry to aid in navigating the diaries. Dates included by Harris are also reproduced as they appear in the journal.

Editorial insertions and descriptions

Words, letters, or punctuation marks inserted by the editors to expand, correct, or clarify the text are enclosed in [square brackets]. A question mark is added to conjectured editorial insertions. An illegible word is represented by the italicized word [illegible] in brackets.

Significant descriptions of the textual medium, especially those inhibiting legibility, are italicized and enclosed in brackets: [page torn].

Hyphenation and line ends

Words hyphenated or otherwise divided at the end of one line and the beginning of another are reproduced as though written on the same line and hyphenated or not according to modern usage.

Line ends are neither typographically nor symbolically represented.

Pagination and page breaks

Harris hand-numbered most of the pages in her journal. These numbers are placed at the end of the transcribed page to note the end of a page: [p. 1]. Bracketing of the page number itself indicates that the page was not originally numbered and that the number of the page is editorially supplied: [p. [70]].

Paragraphs and alignment

Paragraphs are given in standard format, with indention regularized. All journal entries are left-aligned, even if the original appears to show centered or right-aligned text.

People and place names

The journal contains dozens of personal names, including many partial names. If a name is incorrect or incomplete in the journal, the complete and correct name, if known, is supplied in brackets for the first mention in the journal. For women, the supplied name is generally the given name, maiden name, and married name (if any) at the time. For men, the supplied name is generally the given name, middle initial, and surname. In supplying names, the editors have relied on a variety of sources, including journals and other primary documents, the Church History Biographical Database, and FamilySearch.

Punctuation and character styles

Punctuation is faithfully rendered as it appears in the journal.

Approach to Annotation

In contrast to some previous publications of the Church Historian’s Press (such as The Joseph Smith Papers), Harris’s prison journal is being made available only digitally, with little editorial matter. Such an approach allows the press to make this record available quickly and more economically.

Cite this page

Editorial Method, The Prison Journal of Belle Harris, accessed April 24, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/belle-harris/reference-material/editorial-method