Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version


Document Type



Documentary Editing, Volume 29, 2007. ISSN 0196-7134


2007 © the Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


hen I attended my first Association for Documentary Editing . V V Annual Meeting, my name tag read "Melody Miyamoto, The Papers of Clara Downes." "'Who is Clara Downes?'" people asked me. My reply: "No one famous ... yet." Clara Downes was a single woman who headed west on the Overland Trails in 1860. She may never be famous, nor will she ever leave the kind of legacy that past presidents, politicians, and literary figures have. But she did leave a daily account of her six month adventure. And her personal writings, like so many other women, minorities, and rural people, are in need of sharing with a wider audience. Through this article, I hope to emphasize the worth of studying men and women who have been previously neglected by historians. 1 present ways to approach editing, annotating, and emending journals and diaries, by offering examples of western women's writings as models. The advice and suggestions can be applied to anyone's diary, letters or reminiscences, and the samples and end notes can serve as references when looking for editing ideas. With this in mind, I challenge readers to find an unpublished diary and start on the adventure that is documentary editing.