This edition is still being proofed. Please do not cite this
preview until this notice is removed.
The editors welcome suggestions and corrections (see link above).
About the Edition
The Editorial Team. Working in cooperation with the Rare
Books and Manuscripts Library at The Ohio State University, and under the
direction of Professor H. Lewis Ulman, principal editor, a team of undergraduate
students edited this collection of the William B. Anderson letters during
the spring of 2006. In order to provide each student with the opportunity
to work through a wide range of editorial problems, the edition comprises
eighteen distinct editions, each with its own editorial introduction, coordinated
by a set of project guidelines and this Web site.
Project Guidelines and Standards. The XML Version of the
Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines (TEI P4) informed the project's markup
guidelines (see the link at the top of this page). The editorial team also
consulted the Modern Language Association's Committee on Scholarly Edition
Guidelines as well as recommendations by various essays included in an online
pre-print of Electronic
Textual Editing. More detailed information about editorial methods
can be found in the editorial introduction accompanying each letter.
Navigating the Edition. Each page of this Web site contains
an identical navigation bar at the top of the screen. Links from the "Links
to the Letters" page lead to various views of each of the letters. Within
each of those views, links at the top of the page labeled "Home" lead
back to this page; other links lead to other views of a given letter.
About the William B. Anderson Letters
Managing domestic affairs and sustaining familial bonds when family members
are separated for long periods by great distances; the rhetoric and logistics
of mid-nineteenth-century correspondence in the U.S. heartland; the economic,
logistical, and physical challenges of the riverboat business, especially
on a waterway as critical as the Ohio River in the midst of the American
Civil War; the uncertainties, vicissitudes, and suffering faced by civilians
and soldiers alike in wartime—these are the broad topics about which
William Anderson repeatedly writes to his wife Mary Louisa during the summers
of 1862, 1863, and 1864.
All but two of the letters were written from Cincinnati, Ohio,
a thriving center of commerce on the Ohio River approximately halfway between the river's source at
the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and its confluence
with the Mississippi River a mile or so south of Cairo, Illinois. The remaining two letters in the collection
were written from St. Louis, Missouri and Pittsburgh, the Anderson's home, though Anderson mentions writing from Louisville, Kentucky and
Nashville, Tennessee as well.
According to Geoffrey Smith, Head of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library
at The Ohio State University, the university purchased the autograph, signed
letters in 2005, in part because they fit into a larger goal of acquiring
materials that reveal the "common man's view of great
events," and war letters are one focus of that larger effort. The passing
of time has made the everyday information in the letters newly valuable,
and the letters poignantly evoke the emotional fabric of everyday life,
especially when it becomes frayed in the course of national events.