The subgroup RECORDS BY EDITORIAL ERA is organized in series reflecting the tenures of each of the chief MED editors. The series are: Moore-Knott Era, 1930-1945, Kurath Era, 1945-1961, Kuhn Era, 1961-1983, and Lewis Era, 1982-2001 (and later). Each of the series includes subseries relating to content: correspondence, administration and history, editorial matters. Additional subseries pertain to specific matters under particular editors such as the reading program, bibliography, production matters, and non-MED matters.
Effort was made to retain the arrangement and the order of the original materials insofar as that was possible, but inevitably for the sake of consistency from one editorial era to another we had to adapt the arrangement to the emphases in each era. Correspondence, alphabetically arranged, always appears as the first category for all eras. This includes the chief editor's MED and professional, scholarly, and academic correspondence (including intra-university correspondence), both to and from him, with notes on the main correspondents, the subjects of the letters, and who else besides the chief editor was involved in answering letters. Each correspondent's letters are arranged chronologically, from earliest to latest. The only exception to this arrangement is in the Moore and Knott correspondence, where some letters were pasted together for filing in reverse chronological order, as was the custom in the 1930s and 1940s, and these have been kept as they were originally, with the latest on top.
The correspondence is always followed by administrative records and historical files, alphabetically arranged, which contain information on budget requests and staff salaries by year, the minutes of the various committees either overseeing or participating in the work of the MED (chiefly the Committee on Dictionaries from 1930 to 1977, the MED Council and various internal committees thereafter), reports (both annual and miscellaneous), external financial support and grant applications, hiring of editors, ordering of books for the MED library, equipment inventories, statements of account, and the like.
Then follow files and records on editorial matters, also alphabetically arranged: these include such topics as bibliography, dialects, editing progress, editors' guides and style books, papers and articles on various subjects pertaining to the MED, and reviews after publishing began.
Following these fixed categories appear, where appropriate according to the principal activities of each era, some separate categories: for example, for the reading program (which was an especially important activity in Moore's era, to a lesser extent in Knott's), for the bibliography (which was in the process of being established in Kurath's era), and for production matters (which were particularly extensive in the changeover from typewriters to computers in Lewis's era).
Finally, for all but one of the editorial eras, there is a category called non- MED materials, which contains files on the EMED (these are particularly extensive during the Moore and Knott eras), correspondence other than that pertaining to the MED if it is extensive, research and editorial matters not directly related to work on the MED, and occasional files on graduate and undergraduate class matters and civic affairs.