Aids to Reading the Documents

Challenges Confronting Staff and Users

The MEP Edition of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers is different from all previous MEP editions. Unlike our MEP colleagues, The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers (ERP) is a new project and has not yet published a print or microform edition. Furthermore, we have not completed our search for Eleanor Roosevelt related documents. Consequently, this edition is limited to material obtained from the Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Papers at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and the John F. Kennedy President's Office Files at the John F. Kennedy Library. We hope, time and funding permitting, to update this edition in Spring 2003 with documents obtained from the Adlai Stevenson Papers and other archives as well as a representative sample of other sources in other media (audio, video, graphic design, etc.).

Scope and Focus

The staff decided to focus on the election of 1960 for three reasons. First, material associated with this contest clearly reveals Eleanor Roosevelt's political convictions, her influence within political circles, and the impact she had on voters when she appeared on the campaign trail. Second, by including material from a variety of printed and audio-visual sources, users would be encouraged to look at the wide cross-section of material available for documentary editions. Third, we hope that focusing on two such famous Americans will encourage students, teachers and the interested public to use and support documentary editions.

Transcription Guidelines

With the exception of transcribed recordings (which will be discussed in a paragraph below), all the material included in this edition was transcribed from final versions of typed copy.

Correspondence: Staff corrected spellings, capitalization and typographical errors and noted the original text in a footnote. Insertions are transcribed and noted as insertions in footnotes. All other forms (paragraphs, grammatical errors, strikeouts, etc.) mirror the original text. Letterhead is included to reflect the variety of places from which the two leaders wrote one another.

"My Day": Staff based its transcription of "My Day" upon the final column copy United Features Syndicate wired its affiliates for publication. We decided not to transcribe the United Features Syndicate header posted on each column as it did not appear when the column was reproduced in the press. We retained all other information that appeared in newsprint, including the copyright. As in correspondence, staff corrected spellings, capitalization and typographical errors and noted the original errors in a footnote.

Transcription of Recorded Text: Whenever audio copies of texts could be obtained, transcriptions were compared to audio recordings. There is one exception to this. The excerpt of the transcript of the March 30, 1958, CBS-TV interview with John Kennedy was not compared to the audio as the written transcript enclosed in the Cass Canfield letter to Eleanor Roosevelt is the document ER used to formulate her response to his letter.

Typographical Errors

Staff corrected typographical errors (inverted spellings, etc.) and noted the original errors in footnotes. Because ER frequently misspelled people's names, the staff decided to leave her misspellings in the text as they were deliberate acts rather than typographical errors and to reference the proper spelling in footnotes.


Because staff expects a wide variety of users, we decided to annotate the documents as thoroughly and as clearly as possible. The goal is to provide readers the information they need to understand the documents. Annotation is limited to two types: footnotes and a glossary.

Footnotes: These numbered notes provide basic news, context, definitions, and identification necessary to understand the document.

Glossary: Each name that appears in a document is hyperlinked to a biographical dictionary entry summarizing that person's career and clarifying his/her relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt. Sources used in constructing this summary follow each entry.