Acknowledging Sears' work

Stephen Sears responds to this recent post.
I would simply like your acknowledgment that 1) the LC letterbook copies, in the handwriting of General McClellan or his daughter, of the general's now-missing letters to his wife, are legitimate; and 2) that my volume of McClellan correspondence, as complete and accurate as I could make it, is worthy of acceptance in the scholarly community.

As to my "unique intellectual property," it is merely inserting a date and place of writing or an informed surmise when they are lacking. That's standard procedure in any compilation of documents. No one is ripping me off, any more than I am ripping off Nevin's Chase Papers or Basler's Lincoln Papers or Beale's Welles diary when I cite them.

Thus when you say, in your 12/5/09 post, "The very notion that this is a letter and that it was sent to someone belongs to Sears and is not supported by material in the LC," you are wrong on every count. In McClellan's hand, we know it is a letter, that it was written to his wife, and that it was written in October 1861. Accept that the McClellan Correspondence book is legit; I ask nothing more.

Regards, Stephen Sears
I accept points 1) and 2) and have from the outset. I honor the research and value added but disagree with the way the book is viewed and cited by others. You are very clear on what these documents are and how they came to be but those citing you seem confused.

I have to disagree with the unique intellectual property view here stated; if I assign a date, it is my assigned date and McPherson needs to cite me, not the LC.

I say "is not supported by material in the LC" because although the book itself is in the LC, non-LC inputs have transformed these from mere notes in a book in the LC's holdings.

The "McClellan Correspondence book" is an ambiguous, incomplete document that has been enhanced by hard editorial work. I accept that the notes are real, in Mac's hand, and in the LC. What the notes in the book represent and how they relate to a potential superset of documents, under the tight control of the late Mrs. McClellan, has to remain an open question, despite the best editorial and research effort that can be applied.

Please, you deserve much more credit in this than you are willing to take.

Thank you for sending your response,
Dimitri Rotov