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:
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:
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:
Copyright 1997. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
All rights reserved.