Overview of Primary Materials
More than 80,000 manuscript pages make up the Harvard Peirce
Papers, a collection which includes the vast majority of publishable
materials in the Peirce canon. Most of these writings were never
published, nor even completed to a fair copy stage; thus, the
"manuscripts" at Harvard are often only loose groupings of related
pages, and--with few exceptions--no longer represent Peirce's
original units of composition. Extensive searches in the National
Archives and the archives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration have yielded 8,000 pages related to Peirce's
30-year career in the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, including
important letters correcting and even augmenting his scientific
publications. Several thousand more pages survive at Southern
Illinois University and in other collections across the country.
If all of Peirce's writings were to be published, they would
fill over 100 volumes. By electing not to publish multiple variant
forms, unless significantly different, nor disconnected fragments,
unreduced scientific data sheets, and mathematical and logical
scratch pages, the final selection base becomes manageable.
In practice, Peirce's materials from this selection base fall
into three categories. Certain documents will be immediately
identified for inclusion, because they represent Peirce's most
acclaimed work, and others will definitely be excluded, because
they are too preliminary or incomplete. The remaining items
are sent to contributing editors, who are asked to recommend
if a given item should be published, could be published but
is of lesser importance, or should probably not be published.
The recommendations of contributing editors provide the basis
for the conclusion of the selection process. The final selection
is made by the editors, in consultation with members of the
Board of Advisors for difficult cases.
Our central goal is to provide critically edited and reliable
texts of Peirce's work across the wide range of disciplines
to which he contributed. Rather than reproducing a single surviving
form of a document, we (as critical editors) identify the most
mature coherent form closest to Peirce's composing hand, and,
by incorporating identifiable authorial revisions and corrections
from subsequent forms or representations, produce an eclectic
text which aims to represent his most fully developed intention.
Variants from subsequent published forms of the text judged
to be editorial sophistications and compositorial errors are
rejected; Peirce's own errors of content are corrected. This
new text, when combined with an apparatus documenting the evolution
of the various forms of the work, listing the historical variants,
and identifying all of our editorial emendations (and their
sources), constitutes the "critical edition" of Peirce's work.
We apply the editorial
standards and guidelines of the Modern Language Association's
Committee on Scholarly Editions, and have received the CSE's
emblem, "An Approved Edition," for all our volumes. The CSE
does not dictate a step-by-step procedure for critical editing,
but rather identifies the essential elements (a textual essay,
a textual apparatus, and a proofreading plan) and recommends
the inclusion of a general introduction providing either an
interpretive or historical frame for each volume. Beyond these
elements, CSE stipulates that the editing theory and procedures
be appropriate for the particular author. Implicit in the statement
of standards put forward in "Aims and Services of the Committee
on Scholarly Editions" (January 1992 printing) is a system of
evaluation based on three expected outcomes: accuracy, consistency,
and clarity of editorial discussion.
Our editorial procedures are based on the following general
1. We are committed to producing a critical, unmodernized edition
of Peirce's published and unpublished work. This edition is
critical because our central goal is to produce a text that
recovers Peirce's intentions as an author. It is unmodernized
because, rather than update its accidentals for the benefit
of the modern reader, our goal is to present a text that retains
the author's preferences in punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.
2. Although we work from master sets of microfilm, microfiche,
and photographic copies of Peirce's papers, we are committed
to proofreading our transcriptions against the original documents
to verify the accuracy of the transcribed readings, to ascertain
the physical characteristics of paper and ink, and to resolve
any problematic marks or revisions on the document. This step
is part of a comprehensive plan for proofreading at crucial
phases in the transcribing, editing, and publishing process.
3. We are committed to determining, as clearly as possible,
the transmission of the text and its relationship to other writings
in the corpus. We use standard collation schedules for horizontal
comparisons of Peirce's printed articles with his own corrected
and annotated offprints, with errata sheets, and with other
copies of the original printing to discover variant readings.
Texts transmitted vertically through two or more manuscript,
typescript, or copy-set forms are also collated to identify
variations. We compare parallel but distant versions of a text
to recover the full family tree for a given document.
4. When more than one form of a text exists, we are committed
to a consistent procedure for copy-text selection and emendation
based on W. W. Greg's "The Rationale of Copy-Text" and modified
for nineteenth- and twentieth-century editing situations by
Fredson Bowers and G. Thomas Tanselle. (Linked is an updated
listing of the copy-text
essays we find most useful.) As Greg pointed out, the copy-text
concept is not an abstract principle but rather a pragmatic
rationale for editing when there exists no compelling evidence
for making choices among variant readings from surviving texts.
Peirce's tendency to continuously develop a document in many
forms over many years has led us to modify copy-text selection
in certain cases where "text" cannot be traditionally defined.
5. In terms of presentation, we are committed to a chronological
edition published in a clear reading text. The chronological
order of presentation allows us to fit the transmission of individual
texts into the larger perspective sought by scholars since Murray
Murphey's The Development of Peirce's Philosophy appeared in
1961; our volumes show the evolving nature of Peirce's work
in each of his many disciplines, the breadth of materials that
Peirce worked on (often simultaneously) in particular historical
periods, and the emerging patterns of Peirce's intellectual
development throughout his entire lifetime. The clear reading
text is made possible by our construction of a textual apparatus
keyed to the pages and lines of the clear text.
With these general goals in mind, we turn to a discussion of
our specific editing policies. (A detailed list of production
steps can be found through this link.) Most of our future
volumes will each contain from 40 to 80 individual items, diverse
in content, and ranging in form from personal journals, notebooks,
and lecture notes to published reviews, published articles,
and fair-copy drafts of manuscripts intended for publication.
This broad range in form requires different editing techniques
for the two major categories of materials--papers published
by Peirce and his unpublished manuscripts.
A number of Peirce's publications (especially his reviews and
his Coast Survey reports) were published more than once during
his lifetime. Many of his philosophical publications were heavily
revised in offprint for republication, although few ever reached
print again. For many of these items, there are a number of
surviving manuscript versions and pre-publication proofs. In
cases that require a choice among possible copy-texts, a historical
collation is used to identify all variants among the relevant
forms and to determine the transmission of the text. Generally,
a manuscript form (or the last draft if a sequence of manuscripts
survive), because it represents Peirce's preference in accidentals
(spelling and punctuation) and is the best authority for his
word choice, is selected as copy-text.
Variants (in the copy-text and in later forms) judged to be
the result of non-authorial intervention, such as compositorial
errors, compositorial misreadings, or editorial changes in grammar
or style, are rejected and noted in the historical collation;
non-authorial substantive variants within this category appear
in the volume's list of Rejected Substantives. Finally, any
revisions by Peirce in the copy-text itself supersede earlier
layers of the pre-copy-text; a full record of authorial alterations
within the copy-text is made, and substantive alterations within
this category appear in the published Alterations List. The
complete list of alterations will be included in the electronic
version of the Writings.
Peirce's publications appeared in many different journals and
periodicals, each with its own house style. We emend title references
to conform to our own edition style (Chicago Manual of Style,
14th ed.); thus we italicize book titles, place chapter titles
in quotation marks, and so on. Lengthy quotations set in the
text of Peirce's original publications are offset and indented
to conform with our own style for printing extracts.
All emendations to the texts are listed, and the sources for
each cited in the emendations list. Any changes not listed there
are described generically in the Essay on Editorial Method or
in the item Headnote in the Apparatus. These include purely
visual characteristics, such as the uppercase styling of opening
words in a publication, or the scholastic font Peirce tended
to use in his own typescripts. When no manuscript survives and
the proof or published form must serve as copy-text, we emend
printer's styling to conform to Peirce's own style of punctuation
and spelling only if Peirce has demonstrated a clear preference
in established practice over time. Peirce's preference for acceptable
nineteenth-century spelling forms, as well as acceptable variant
spellings of proper names, are allowed to stand as they appear.
For the most part, Peirce shows no clear preferences in such
matters as routine punctuation.
Peirce's manuscript copy-texts require a different editorial
approach than do his publications. With published items where
no prepublication forms of the text survive to serve as copy-text,
we focus our effort on locating and eliminating editorial or
printing corruptions. With holograph and typescript items, the
focus is on identifying the sequence of Peirce's revisions--both
across drafts and within single drafts that show evidence of
one or more layers of revision. In general, the search for copy-text
follows the same rationale used for published items: a mature
manuscript form in Peirce's hand represents the best authority.
Where more than one manuscript draft survives, collation will
generally lead us to a fairly simple editing decision. Sometimes,
a mature manuscript is followed by a typescript (or an amanuensis
draft) prepared under Peirce's supervision, which contains his
holograph corrections and revisions, but varies significantly
in both substantives and accidentals from the holograph version.
If the two versions are collatable word-for-word, we accept
the authority of the manuscript (copy-text) and emend it with
those substantive revisions (and corrections to accidentals)
that can be attributed to Peirce with a fair degree of confidence.
If the typescript is so thoroughly rewritten (which usually
indicates a missing intervening draft) that word-by-word collation
is not possible, we conclude that Peirce rewrote the document,
and use the typescript as copy-text. The surviving earlier stage
will be designated a pre-copy-text form and important variant
readings will be reproduced or described in editors' notes.
In fact, situations involving widely diverging forms (that derive
from single original drafts) represent the most common copy-text
dilemma found in the unpublished materials. Successive manuscript
versions may repeat the title or have the same or a similar
opening sentence, but will often diverge into a related but
new line of inquiry or method of argument. Paragraph or outline
collation will usually yield a chrono-logical order, but we
are left with two or more discrete documents, generally parallel
in content but distinct in presentation and development. When
parallel versions are equally significant for documenting Peirce's
evolving ideas or scientific findings, we may publish them as
discrete items. Each serves as its own copy-text, and will not
be emended from subsequent parallel forms; we may refer to other
parallel versions for annotation, but not for textual authority.
However, as stated above, our decision to publish an electronic
edition has reduced the need to publish parallel versions in
the print edition.
Through W4, our transcriptions consisted of Peirce's final revised
text, and contained no record of the initial readings or layers
of revision beneath Peirce's final alterations. Thus words marked
for transposition were automatically transposed, words careted
were inserted, but words and punctuation Peirce had deleted
were not transcribed. With the recommendation of NEH consultants,
and with our present computer capabilities, we now make literal
transcriptions of Peirce's text; that is, we show layer by layer
what appears in the original document.
We archive the full record of Peirce's pre-copy-text alterations,
but only those alterations that manifest a "critically significant"
change of intention in the process of composition will appear
in each volume's apparatus (however, the complete record of
alterations will be included in the electronic edition). To
decide whether a correction is critically significant, the following
maxim, inspired by Peirce's own pragmatic maxim, is applied:
consider whether the change of intention possibly manifested
in the alteration produces an effect which might conceivably
modify a reader's perception or understanding of the altered
passage; if there is any such conceivable effect, then the alteration
is critically significant. Given this selective process, there
are some manuscripts for which we do not publish an alterations
list, even though they do contain alterations recorded in our
After examining different linear methods based on special symbols
for insertions, deletions, transpositions, and the like, we
settled on a modified version of the method created by Fredson
Bowers (Studies in Bibliography 29 : 212-264).
In W5, we embedded the entire record of alteration within the
transcription in a close approximation of the Bowers method.
In subsequent volumes, the embedded alterations have been replaced
with hypertext links. Peirce's pre-copy-text layers of superseded
text are tagged into the copy-text at the exact points where
Peirce canceled or revised them; this alteration record can
be displayed in a more-or-less genetic text format, or represented
by place-holding "tags." Emendations and regularizations are
marked on a hard-copy printout as before, but they are imposed
into the electronic copy-text file through the same hypertextual
process of tagging. In the same way, textual notes, content
annotations, and chapter headnotes can be tagged into the edited
The Print Edition
Some or all of the hypertext tags described above can be suppressed
(hidden) for ease of proofreading; all hypertext-linked text
as well as the tags themselves are suppressed when the document
is laid out for print publication. The suppressed apparatus
sections and annotations actually remain a part of the copy-text
document--in terms of production, this is the most important
technological step forward to date. These scholarly components
can be assembled in the distinct sections required of a critical
edition, keyed to camera copy of the edited texts, and prepared
in turn as backmatter camera copy.
The addition in 1997 of a technical editor and the subsequent
transition into a hypertext editing environment have made it
possible to deliver camera-ready copy directly to Indiana University
Press. In the past, the entire text of each volume had to be
sent to a third-party compositor and revised at considerable
cost before presswork began. The 1998 publication of the second
volume of the Essential Peirce, a non-critical edition,
provided the prototype experience for in-house camera-ready
production; the procedures established in that work are already
being used to save time and money in the preparation of new
volumes of the critical edition.