[APG Public List] Citing a manuscript

Michael Hait michael.hait at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 25 18:44:43 MST 2010

Larry,  I think the entire list would appreciate your input on the citation, so would you mind posting it to the list (rather than privately)?
I agree that imposing a title on an untitled manuscript would be misleading and inappropriate.
However, I feel that an informal descriptive "title" would be appropriate.  In terms of citation, this means that this "title" would not be italicized, underlined, or capitalized (depending on the publication format), and should be followed by the notation "unpublished manuscript," as you mentioned.
For example,
(Source List)  Hait, Michael.  Unpublished Hait family history manuscript. ...
Hait, Michael.  Hait family history, unpublished manuscript. ...
[Both of the above use a descriptive "title" for purposes of differentiating this manuscript from other possible manuscripts by the same author.]
Hait, Michael.  THE HAIT FAMILY HISTORY. ...  [which implies that this was the official title]

The rest of the citation should follow the normal guide for citations, such as creation date, collection (or catalog) number, repository, etc.  If a photocopy of the original, this should certainly be noted.  If in public possession, such as a library or archives, then limited provenance in the citation would be necessary (because the same source would be able to be viewed by any others), but discussion of the source would proceed in the narrative as with any other source.  If in private hands, however, then a more detailed provenance, such as the chain of custody from the original author, etc., and current location (limited if for publication), would definitely be necessary.
I apologize for not giving more detail above, but I am out of town and full of turkey! ;)

Michael Hait
Read the newest article: African-American Genealogy Examiner
LinkedIn profile:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhait


> From: laboswell at rogers.com
> Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2010 09:37:26 -0500
> To: jean at suplick.name
> CC: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
> Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Citing a manuscript
> I replied off list as to how I would write the citation, but want to mention on the list that I think the idea of constructing a title for an "untitled manuscript" (as previously recommended) is not a good idea. Not as an imposed title anyway. If you want to add something that refers to the content or intent of the manuscript then maybe add that in a note. Constructing or imposing a title would be a mistake, and not reflect what the item actually is, an "untitled manuscript"
> Larry
> On 2010-11-25, at 8:40 AM, Jean Suplick wrote:
> > First, thank you all the explanations and pointers regarding my
> > questions about family tradition. It helped immensely.
> > 
> > I have another source & citation puzzler. At least it is for me! I've
> > read several different sections of EE, but my head is spinning at this
> > point. I'm just too new to the fine points of citing sources to feel
> > good about any of my attempts at this one so far.
> > 
> > In the genealogical collection of a library is a photocopy of a
> > manuscript. The original manuscript was apparently written in a bound
> > notebook of lined leaves with numbered pages.) It is untitled. The
> > author penned on the first page of the original notebook: "Compiled
> > and Written by Samuel Mac Millan in 1914 in the 85 year of his age."
> > On the first page of the photocopy is penned "Copied from original
> > owned by Dr. James T. Herron, Canonsburg, Pa." And another penned
> > note, "Copy - Mrs. [private name], [private address]."
> > 
> > So I have:
> > - The author
> > - No title, but I can construct one
> > - A date for the manuscript
> > - A pretty good idea of the location where the manuscript was created
> > - A presumed possessor of the original manuscript (although I know he
> > is deceased, I but have not located the current owner of the original)
> > - The presumed previous owner of the original manuscript (got that
> > from a different, reliable source)
> > - Who photocopied the original and where they live, but not when it
> > was photocopied.
> > - The repository of the photocopy (a public library in the county in question)
> > - It is not part of any collection of papers or series at the library,
> > just a lone, cataloged item
> > 
> > I'm looking for pointers on how to construct a source entry and a 1st
> > reference for this.
> > I think one of my confusions is how to note the provenance, sketchy as
> > it is. It seems important to capture that for this particular work.
> > Does one put a note at the end of the source entry? In square
> > brackets? How long is too long?
> > 
> > Thanks in advance,
> > Jean Suplick
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