Q. In my dissertation, I cite a volume of letters in which the editor has inserted square brackets for clarification. So, for example, one passage reads: “Winston, Tito, Ben Gurion, Uncle Joe [Stalin], Bullitt, De Gaulle.” When I’m quoting the letter I’d like to add my own bracketed clarification to Bullitt’s name, but how do I distinguish it from the original editorial matter? CMOS 6.97 specifies that I should clarify whether editorial insertions are original, but surely there is some method that would prevent me from specifying the status of each individual bracket in footnotes.

A. There’s no need for footnotes; just add your initials to your own bracketed insertions [like this —CB].