This edition of the Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Nineteenth President of the United States (1922-1926), 5 vols., has been out of print and inaccessible to many students and scholars. Now, with this electronic version available on the World Wide Web, those same individuals will have access to the words and thoughts of a central actor in the political life of the Civil War and Gilded Age eras. Students who wish to know firsthand the views and ideas of the Nineteenth President of the United States can find that information here. They can, for example, see what Hayes, himself, thought about the disputed election of 1877, and how he viewed the so-called Compromise of 1877. They can also read his own disappointment at the failure of southern leaders to live up to their promises concerning the rights of their African American fellow citizens.
All who use this work, however, should realize that these volumes do not contain the entire body of Hayes' letters, nor even every entry in the diaries. While the work was published with the idea of printing everything of importance, scholarly standards in the early years of the Twentieth Century differ from those of the last decade of the same century. Social, cultural, and personal allusions were often omitted because they were deemed too personal or unimportant. Other items were omitted because they might have seemed embarrassing or derogatory about the President, his family, associates or friends. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation were often silently corrected.
Finally, all who use the Diary and Letters should be aware that many letters and other items have come to light since it was published. Many of these may now be found in the library of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.
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