Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version

Fall 2006

Document Type



Documentary Editing, Volume 28, Number 3, Fall 2006. ISSN 0196-7134


2006 © the Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


The above scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail can be contorted into an illustration of the dilemma faced by documentary editors when dealing with the death of the subject of their edition. We want to use documents to chronicle the lives of our subjects, but, as King Arthur rightly exclaimed, few record their dying moments in print. In most editions, the death of the subject also ends the editor's work, adding another layer of significance to the event. In this article, I will explore the different ways editors have recorded and contextualized these deaths and discuss how the Margaret Sanger Papers Project grappled with the issue of selection as we reached Sanger's death.