Portal talk:The Charles Henry Gauss Family Papers

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This first discussion has been moved from Wikisource:Scriptorium. Eclecticology 08:04, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I keep several web pages, notably for this site, The Charles Henry Gauss Family Papers This is a collection of private, here-to-fore unpublished papers and letters and papers from my family, centered mostly in St. Charles, Missouri. I, being unbiased, of course, think that they are interesting. Among other things there is a journal that was kept by my great great grandfather throughout a good deal of the 19th century, and a great many letters, including a couple of letters from the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss. I have published a good many of them on the above site under a Creative Commons license. Is this sort of thing within the purvue of this site? Mathsinger (Susan Chambless)

I don't have a problem with that being published here. However, remember that by publishing it here, the source must be licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Meaning that other people can distribute and modify them for commercial purposes (as long as they give you reference). Maio 15:00, 19 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. I just don't want them leaving the Publc Domain. Mathsinger

I have posted a couple of pages of the The Charles Henry Gauss Family Papers. I have tons of this material, by the way. Mathsinger

I think that this is an interesting and exciting development. In particular it opens up a whole different class of documents that have a bearing on local histories.
Licensing should not be an applicable issue. The following is from a quick reference page that I use, http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/okbooks.html#whatpd
  • Works never published prior to 2003 (and never registered for copyright prior to 1978) are now in the public domain in the US if they are by authors who died more than 70 years before the most recent New Year's day. (For 2004, this means authors who died before 1934.) Although this new rule does not put any previously published material into the public domain, it may allow some long-lost manuscripts and collections of letters to be published online as "new" online books.
I've checked the links that you provided to determine that Charles Henry Gauss died in 1913, so unless this material has been published before, it is almost certainly in the public domain. (The "almost" would only deal with possible extraordinary and rare circumstances that are not worth pursuing.) So I would not be concerned about them "leaving the public domain".
While I do have some issues about how these contributions are being titled, those issues are relatively minor, and I'm sure that an accomodation can be reached in due course when others have expressed their views on this narrow point. Titles can always be changed later. Meanwhile, welcome aboard, and keep up the good work. Eclecticology 18:27, 19 Mar 2004 (UTC)

How would you title them? On my own web site, I have titled them by date, and dealt with duplicate dates by appending letters, i.e., 'a', 'b', 'c', etc., to the end of the name, and/or storing them in different directories. I was at a loss as to how to name them here, so I am open to any ideas. -Mathsinger 18:46, 19 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The problem with using dates here is that somebody else could try to use the same date for something completely unrelated, and the result wouldn't mean anything to anybody. We also have the problem the names such as "letter" or "journal" when used alone would be so generic as to be useless.
What I suggest here may not have unanimous approval, but I hope it helps. The page The Charles Henry Gauss Family Papers is just fine. It seems to be primarily an index page that will bring together your own contributions and allow you to keep some order in your own work. The approach that I have been favoring means that every author should have an "Author:" page even if he is represented by only a single letter. (I've noted that the two letters that you have contributed so far are not by Charles Henry Gauss.) You can use any existing "Author:" page as a guideline. Thus far these pages are written in two parts, biography and works. I've begun the biography section with the birth and death years of the individual, and followed it with links to biographical articles on the Wikipedias of many languages. Where someone is unlikely to merit an encylopedia entry a brief statement to give the person a historical context would be appropriate. The Works section would be bibliographic by nature, and would provide links to those writings that are included in the project.
For the texts themselves, to the extent that they have generic titles, I'm tending to favour the format that begins with name and type of writing. Beyond that, if necessary, we should have the recipient of the letter and date. I tend to prefer them in that order, but no policy has yet become established on that. I'll be glad to work with you on this. Eclecticology 23:19, 19 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think I am following you. The reason I call this the Charles Henry Gauss collection is that it centers around his family and his wife's and their children, and this is the most compact way of looking at the whole thing, in my opinion. Most of the material was collected by him and his two daughters, Anne Durfee Gauss and Minna Gauss Reeves. I inherited it from my mother, who inherited it from Minna. Some of the authors have many works; others are represented by a single letter. I was wondering about a short historical note about each person mentioned -- how they fit into the picture. Your scheme seems to take care of that. Probably the only people who would merit a regular encyclopedia article -- or mention -- would be Carl Friedrich Gauss, his children, and George Sibley Johns, Charles Henry's brother-in-law, who was editor of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and his son, Orrick Johns, the poet and playwright.

I will continue putting things up, as is, so that there is some idea of the scope. Also, you might take a glance through my web page [1] to get an idea of the range of the collection. I have probably posted 1/3 - 1/2 of what I have. Like you said earlier, we can always change names, etc. -Mathsinger 01:21, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Help...I started an Author page for Author:Thomas Lindsay. Am I somewhere in the ballpark with this? Should he be listed with the other authors, or just have a reference on the CHGC page? He seems kind of lost there with all the famous people. Mathsinger 05:18, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)

That suthor page is just fine. Yes I would also add him to Wikisource:Authors-L. I looked at your web page and the material is fascinating, but a lot more than I would ever have the time to study in any kind of depth. I do have a few observations. The Butchart family that built the Butchart Garden also originated from Forfar. See http://www.victorialodging.com/butchart/butchart_family_jennie_robert-2.html The letter that you have downloaded is almost certainly from early 1800. The sense of grief in Lindsay's narration of Washington's death suggests that the matter is still fresh in his mind. The reference to tobacco prices "last year" makes the possibility that the letter was written in the last days of 1799 very unlikely.
I note that you place Lindsay in North Carolina, so I assume that there is other material that would have him living elsewhere than in Charleston (South Carolina). The phrasing in the letter suggests that he was already there in 1798.
Although I have not had a personal connection with the St. Louis area I did have a relative there in Florissant in the later part of the 1700's. Eclecticology 08:04, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Well, I have added another letter. I named it Joseph Fawcett 1821-01-21. Is this correct, or should it be preceded with something? 'Letter:' or 'Author:'. I promise that when I get the idea here, I won't ask so many questions. Also, how do I get the pages that I originally named suboptimally renamed? Mathsinger 02:57, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

These letters make interesting reading, even to those of us who are not related. Iwould probably have added the word "letter" after "Fawcett", but don't worry about it. Adding any more than that really depends on how extensive the individual's correspondence is.
Nor should you worry about asking questions; the real pains in the butt are those who go ahead and insist on doing things in their own new way without alking to anybody else.
To change the name go to the page that you want to rename, and use the "move" function from the sidebar; this will give you an opportunity to write in the new name. When you have done that simply click on the "Move page" button. Additionally, you should go to "What links here", and to each page on that list to correct links to the page. Once that is all done, I can simply delete the obsolete file. Eclecticology 08:25, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I hope you are kind of checking out what I am doing here.

I have another dilemma. I just put up a letter where two people contributed. They actually wrote separate letters, but used the same paper. It was actually a single piece of paper, folded in half, then in thirds, then in thirds again and sealed to make a kind of envelope. I am sure that this has a name, but I don't know what it is. Anyhow, I have several of these joint letters. Do you have a recommendation for handling them? Should I break them up into separate documents, or use redirection, or what? Mathsinger 20:47, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)

"Folded letter sheet" will do. They were very common everywhere until stamps became common. Compared to today postage costs were very expensive then, and people liked to make efficient use of their paper. Envelopes would only have increased the weight. Some early envelopes were turned inside out for re-use by the first recipient. They are also often collected for the various post office markings that were applied while the letter was on its way. A letter from St. Charles in that time could be more interesting than one from Charleston.
The only thing that I have to advise about you particular dilemma is to use your own best judgement and common sense. If the second person is a grandchild saying "Hi grandma!" it might not be worth separate mention. On the other hand a person simply remarking about a big snowstorm on a certain date could be historically significant if there was no other system for reporting weather at the time. Eclecticology 01:40, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)

In the course of dealing with randome anonymous sillines that was put on the CHG page, and trying to my own satisfaction that he might indeed appear as an author I ended up reading his 1898 letter to Floria Cajori on your webpage, and found it quite fascinating. BTW to purpose may be a little antiquated, but it remains a perfectly good English word which does not merit a (sic). Cheers, Eclecticology 04:45, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Fascinating stuff. Could you put a quick note on the index page specifying what time period these letters span? --NeuronExMachina 04:16, 3 Jul 2004 (UTC)