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Editorial Method

This website presents transcripts of the journal of George F. Richards. These transcripts were prepared largely according to the editorial procedures developed by the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

Rules of Transcription

The initial transcriptions for this website were made from the original journals. The transcripts have been verified at least two times against scanned images of the documents. Where necessary, the transcripts have been reviewed against the original journals.


Over the nearly seventy-year period during which he kept journals, Richards was the only one to write in his journals. The first six volumes were written in record books—large, bound books with ruled pages. Most of the rest of the volumes were written in small pocket books, herein called daybooks. The last two volumes of his journal were written on loose pages that were then bound together with a post binding.


Physical descriptions of the record books and daybooks are included with the relevant transcripts. Photographs of books can be found at the Photos page on this site.

Date headings and pagination

Standardized headings giving dates and days of the week have been supplied in a larger typeface for each entry to aid in navigating the journal. These standardized headings replace the dates as written in the journal. Original page numbers were preprinted and are provided in brackets.


Paragraphs are given in a standard format, with indention regularized and with blank lines between paragraphs generally omitted.


If Richards intended to underline the whole word or phrase but did not, the entire word or phrase is underlined here. Likewise, if more than the intended word or phrase was underlined, only the intended word or phrase is underlined in the final copy. Double or wavy underlining is regularized to single underlining.

Cancellations and insertions

Words canceled in the original have been struck through in this publication. Inserted words are set off in <angle brackets>.

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 immediately after the inscription was made, the preferred word simply follows the canceled one without insertion marks. For cases in which an original word was changed to a new word by canceling or inserting letters in the middle of the word, for readability the original word is stricken in its entirety followed by the revised word in its entirety.

Insertions above or below a line of text or written in a margin are indicated by angle brackets < > at the apparent intended point of insertion.

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.

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

An illegible (but not canceled) word is represented by the italicized word illegible enclosed in brackets. An illegible character within a partially legible word is rendered with a hollow diamond. Repeated diamonds represent the approximate number of illegible characters (for example: sto◊◊◊s).

Illegible cancellations are not included.


Single instances of periods, commas, and apostrophes are all faithfully rendered without regard to their grammatical correctness. Richards frequently placed a dash at the end of a sentence to signify a period. In such cases, the punctuation is rendered as a period. In some cases of repetitive punctuation, only the final mark or final intention is transcribed while other characters are silently omitted. Flourishes and other decorative inscriptions are not reproduced or noted. Dashes are standardized to either em or en lengths.

Hyphenations 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 Richards’s normal usage or, where that is not clear, modern usage.

Line ends are neither typographically nor symbolically represented.


Richards had various ways of handling superscriptions. These various forms are all standardized so that they appear on the line, rather than as superscriptions (for example, $750 is rendered as $7.50).

Policies for Sacred, Private, and Confidential Information

Preparing the journals of religious leaders for publication poses serious ethical challenges. The work of these leaders, by its very nature, involves them in many matters that are sacred, private, or confidential. Matters of great sacredness deserve reverence. Divulging some kinds of information may violate principles of privacy, and persons who confess to religious leaders or communicate other information in a confidential setting expect that leaders will maintain their confidences. The Church History Department has long-standing policies that govern the release or publication of sacred, private, or confidential information. In publishing Richards’s 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, some details of the original journal have been withheld, such as information about temple ceremonies. 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.

Approach to Annotation

In contrast to some previous publications of the Church Historian’s Press (such as The Joseph Smith Papers), the Richards journals are being made available only digitally, with a few document images and without historical annotation aside from some introductory material, including a list of major events prefacing each year of the journal. Such an approach allows the press to make this crucial historical record available quickly and more economically.