The Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr: First Black Bandmaster of the United States Navy

By Alton Augustus Adams Sr.; Mark Clague | Go to book overview

Editorial Notes

Mark Clague

As editor, I have written the comments given here as backnotes. Notes written by the author, Alton Augustus Adams, Sr., are presented as footnotes on the pages of the memoir itself. My notes are of two types. Some describe the content of Adams’s original typescript whenever I as editor have deemed changes I made to be significant enough to warrant fuller description and explanation. In contrast, minor adjustments to grammar, typography, or punctuation are often made without comment to avoid unnecessarily disrupting the text. (See Editorial Methods for further explanation.) These notes may also identify source documents, usually written by Adams himself, used as the basis for the memoir, if such documents survive in the Alton Adams Collection (AAC) of the Center for Black Music Research (Chicago) and the Adams Music Research Institute (St. Thomas). Items cataloged in the AAC are identified by series, box, and item number using the following abbreviation to save space: AAC§Series.Box.Item. Thus the code “AAC§V.2.10” indicates that a document labeled item 10 is stored in box 2 of series 5 and held in the Alton Adams Collection. A second type of editorial backnote offers scholarly commentary, additional historical information, or source information used for fact-checking, further reading, and research. These editorial comments help minimize changes to Adams’s text while enhancing the historical breadth and precision of the project as a whole. For example, Adams’s memoirs contain little detail about his second assignment to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 1942, whereas I found information in Virgin Islands newspapers that affirms and expands the narrative presented in the memoirs. Backnotes 23 and 26 for chapter 10 contain this additional information.

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