Source of the original material

The General Correspondence files were originally stored in filing cabinets, with each year's papers sub-divided into folders, filed alphabetically according to subject. There is a list of the folder headings for each year here. The folder location of each document is recorded in the database under the heading "folder". Because these were working office files, rather than an archive, their contents were not indexed, and the papers in each folder were usually stored in reverse chronological order, with the most recent documents at the front of the folder. When the microfilm was made, the material was copied according to this original organization, with the pages copied in the order in which they were found in the folders. No further indexing of the material took place.

Apart from these inherent problems with its organization, the original microfilm archive is difficult to use for a number of reasons. The recording material used is 16 mm. negative microfilm, with no frame or edge numbers. It is, therefore, difficult to find individual documents on the microfilm even if the researcher knows them to be there. While few of the documents in the archive are hand-written, many are file copies, in all probability fourth or fifth-skin carbon copies, and as a result they are frequently difficult to read, and make little or no sense to Optical Character Reading programs even when the negative image has been reversed.