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Appendix H: Cuttering for WA MSS

Get the Cutter book, find the Cutter number that corresponds to the main entry's name. The number is either to the immediate right or left of the names listed. When the name falls between entries, choose the first. For instance, Massida comes between Massey and Massil. Choose the number for Massey. The Cutter number consists of the first letter of the person's last name and the number in the book. The exception to this first letter rule is for vowels and the letter "S", in which case you use the first two letters of the last name (names starting with "Sc" go out to three letters). For instance, Meriwether Clark is C548. Spiro Agnew is Ag63. Winfield Scott is Sco86.

Once you have that number, go up to the WA MSS files and see if there are any other files that use that number already. If someone is already assigned C548, then Meriwether Clark gets bumped up to C5481. If there is a C5481, it gets bumped up to C5482, and so on. Once it is at the basic C548 number, the alphabetizing by first name isn't going to be stellar, since the extra numbers are assigned on a first come-first served basis and not strict alphabetical sequence within the Clark, M. category.

Once you've figured out the number, put it in the holdings statement directly after your WA MSS number with a semicolon and then the Cutter number. For example:

STATUS a DT 04/25/94 AD none 
NOTES |a dms 
001 1T CN |a bein,wa |b WA MSS |c S-1592;C548 
Then, on the folder itself, one writes the following information. On the left, the Cutter number (all by itself, no WA MSS number with it). In the middle, one writes the author, title, and date. On the right, one writes the WA MSS number without the Cutter number. For example:
C548 Clark, Meriwether Lewis. Petition of
Meriwether Lewis Clark and George R.H.
Clark. 1839 Oct 17.
WA MSS S-1592
The accession number may be recorded on the folder front. File numerically by Cutter number, not by last name, for while both filing systems usually coincide, in the case of the Cutter numbers that are pushed out to four numbers or more, the alphabetical sequence won't necessarily be in order.

Related to this process is creating dummies for the shelf after cuttering something for the files. On the dummy, one writes, if one had the Clark petition above:

For WA MSS S-1592 C548 
SEE: WA Files
One may make a dummy for several numbers if they are consecutive, but not if they aren't, as there has to be a dummy for each gap on the shelf. So it could look like:
For WA MSS S-1592 C548 
S-1593 Ag53 
S-1594 Sco86 
SEE: WA Files 

Copyright 1997. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
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