Yellowstone and the Great West: Journals, Letters, and Images from the 1871 Hayden Expedition

By Marlene Deahl Merrill | Go to book overview

Editorial Method

The initial transcriptions of George Allen's journal and field notebook (both deposited in the Oberlin College Archives), as well as Albert Peale's journal, on deposit at Yellowstone's Research Library at Mammoth Hot Springs, were done from their original notebooks. Peale, however, kept two journal notebooks and seemed to switch randomly between them every few weeks or so. His other journal is deposited with the United States Geological Survey Field Records Library in Denver, where its damaged condition called for preservation before handling for transcription. Its pages were removed, deacidified, and individually encapsulated in Mylar. Photocopies of each encapsulated page were sent to me, and I used them for the initial transcription. When the transcription was complete, I checked it against the original document in Denver.

The process of transcribing the Allen and Peale journals was complicated by the nature of the documents themselves. Each leather-bound notebook, when closed, is not much larger than a medium-sized hand and obviously received hard use. Many pages are torn and spotted, and the cramped handwriting is often barely legible because of the use of blunt, worn pencil points.

Hayden's letters to Baird (deposited at the Smithsonian Institution Archives) were transcribed from unusually clear photocopies. Any transcription difficulties were due to Hayden's notoriously poor handwriting.

Because the journals were often hurriedly written and not intended as literary documents, I have taken some editorial liberties in order to present them in a more readable form. I have broken overlong journal entries into several paragraphs. I have formatted datelines uniformly for all three writers and integrated interlineations into the text by following page markings or contextual clues. I have spelled out ampersands and most abbreviations and

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