Editorial Method


This website presents transcripts of selected journals kept by single women missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the two decades following the calling of the first women missionaries in 1898. The first two journals featured here are those of Eliza Chipman and Josephine Diantha Booth. These transcripts were produced largely in accordance with the editorial conventions developed by the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

Rules of Transcription

The initial transcriptions for this website were made from digital images of the original journals, which are housed at the Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. Images are accessible online in the Church History Catalog (Chipman journal, Booth journal). The transcripts have been verified at least two times against these images or the originals.

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. Where deemed relevant by the editors, the text of newspaper clippings inserted in the journals has been included.

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 the journal keeper 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 journals. Dates included by the writers are also reproduced as they appear in the journals. Most month headings at the tops of pages are silently omitted.

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. Illegible characters are represented with diamonds (◊). Repeated diamonds represent the approximate number of illegible characters (e.g., sto◊◊◊s).

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

Some of the missionaries whose journals are featured here hand-numbered the pages. 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

Each 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 a given month. 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. Additional information on many individuals can be found on the project’s People tab. In supplying names of individuals not included there, the editors have relied on a variety of sources, including journals and other primary documents, published biographies by family members, the Church History Biographical Database, and FamilySearch.

Punctuation and character styles

Some punctuation has been standardized for readability. For example, dashes of various lengths have been standardized to a consistent pattern, lowercase x’s used as terminal punctuation have been changed to periods, and punctuation in some scriptural references has been standardized according to current conventions.

Policies for Sacred, Private, and Confidential Information 

The Church History Department has long-standing policies that govern the publication of sacred, private, or confidential information. In publishing transcripts of these journals, we have sought to honor these principles while also making as much information as possible available to the public and clearly indicating any omissions. As such, a few details of the journals have been withheld. In every instance where the text has been redacted, a notation has been made in the text explaining the reason for and extent of the redaction. 

Cite this page

Editorial Method, Journals of Early Sister Missionaries, accessed May 23, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/early-sister-missionaries/reference-material/editorial-method