Editorial Principles
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xix Editorial Principles All of the seventy-eight documents reproduced in this volume are held in a single private collection, the Annie Wood Webb Papers. Because of the rarity of these documents as examples of nineteenth-century African American personal correspondence , there has been no selection process: all documents written by Louisa Jacobs (fifty-eight) and Annie Purvis (thirteen) to Eugenie Webb are included. In addition, the collection includes three letters from Frank J. Webb Jr. and one each from Sarah L. Forten (Purvis), Charlotte Forten (Grimké), Francis J. Grimké, and Edith Willis (Grinnell). There are no extant reciprocal letters from Eugenie Webb. Enclosures in Louisa Jacobs’s letters have not been counted as separate documents. One undated note has been placed early in the exchange (1881) according to context. Other documents from the Annie Wood Webb Papers are cited in the notes. The location and date are placed at the top right of each letter. Envelope addresses and postmarks are considered to be relevant information and are placed at the beginning of each document. Strikethroughs indicating change of address and forwarded mail are included. Salutations are rendered as they appear in the original. Closings are right justified. Editorial comments indicating enclosures, marginal writing, pencilings, and other descriptors are contained in square brackets. Annotations—identifying people, places, and events—are included in the notes. Identifications are usually provided at the point where the person, place, or event first appears in the text. The letters were transcribed as faithfully possible. Original spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have been preserved except for Louisa’s initial misspellings of “Genie” as “Jenie” and the name Grimké, which has been standardized to include the accent. Louisa Jacobs’s inscription errors—for instance, “think” for “thing,” “hear” for “heard,” “pay” for “play”—have been retained without the use of [sic]. Conjectural readings of illegible words and characters xx Editorial Principles are enclosed in square brackets. Underlined words in the original text appear as underlined words in the transcription. A missing letter at the end of a word is supplied by the editor in square brackets. Interlinear insertions have been incorporated into the text, and superscripts have been lowered. Occasionally, a paragraph break was inserted when a sentence started on a new line and there was a clear change in subject. In some cases, a new paragraph was introduced when a separate line of thought coincided with a slightly larger space between the end of a sentence and the start of a new one. The overriding editorial principle of this volume is one of clarity and simplicity , reflecting the relative clarity of the original letters. Editorial comments and marks have been kept to a minimum to ensure a flowing, readable text. Notes on Photograph Identifications With the exception of William Claflin, everyone who appears in photographs in this volume is African American. Many of the photographs found in Genie Webb’s album and among the Annie Wood Webb papers are unidentified. Of the four Webb sisters pictured in their youth, only Ada and Cordelia are positively identified. I identified Miriam Webb by comparing images of her as an older woman. Eugenie “Genie” Webb is identified by the date and place of the photograph in Corry, Pennsylvania, where the Webbs lived in the late 1860s and early 1870s, and by comparison to a daguerreotype taken of Genie and her sister Edith in 1858. I made positive and tentative identifications by first determining the date of the photograph, using photography studio names and places, and women’s hair and dress fashions. Next, after establishing a photograph date, I attempted to determine the age of the sitter. I then consulted family trees to see who in the family circle was that age at that time in that place. In some instances I was able to make an identification by linking an unidentified younger person with an identified portrait of her as an older person. The danger, however, in linking photographs by resemblance is that these are family albums and different family members sometimes look alike. Confirmation bias is always possible when one is making a tentative identification. My final identification method resulted from the process of elimination. After identifying as many family members as possible, I searched the family tree for those who should be in the album and were not yet identified. Fortunately for this project, only one of the five Webb sisters had children, and thus most of Editorial Principles xxi the family documents remained together in the Annie...



Subject Headings

  • Jacobs, Louisa Matilda, 1833-1917 -- Correspondence.
  • Purvis, Annie (Harriet Ann), 1848-1917 -- Correspondence.
  • Webb, Eugenie, 1856-1919 -- Correspondence.
  • African American women -- Correspondence.
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