A Peek at the Sources
I’ve been thinking that my readers would be interested in how I gathered the resources used in Mediko, so I have prepared the following remarks. Enjoy!
In the process of writing Mediko, I held many different documents in my hands. Books with yellowed pages, tiny old photos in black and white, microfilm, small pamphlets, magazines, and thousands of pages of typed and handwritten pages. The handwriting was often difficult to decipher! At times I felt sorry for the person who first received the handwritten letters, and who was expected to respond to them.
If they were Raph’s letters, they were usually produced through use of carbon paper on a typewriter. Those of my readers who have never used nor seen a sheet of carbon paper are truly blessed. Using those heavy, coated sheets to make second and third copies of letters, articles, etc., was a great, messy challenge! Thankfully, because Raph used the typewriter, and kept copies of his letters, I was saved from continually deciphering his handwriting. He was a copious correspondent, and it amazed me both that he could type these letters late into the night, and that Dr. Commons and others usually responded to those letters!
I found the microfilm sources to be challenging, as well. Occasionally, the images on the microfilm were photographed sideways, causing me to practically stand on my head to read them. Or, they were like palimpsests, in which one image displayed both sides of the page at the same time!
Using sources from an archive eventually results in the necessity of getting permission from the archive to publish the quotations, and that was an adventure in itself. In fact, as much time was taken in the process of gaining that permission as in the rest of the publication process.
I could have published many more photos. They are available in the archives, and Mark Henry, tasked with the fascinating but endless job of digitizing ABEO and ABWE photos and documents, provided more. The photos in the printed book were impacted by the printing process and they often lost definition. In that way, those who have purchased the eBook have benefitted in that the digital images in the eBook are easier on the eyes.