Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. I need to cite a quotation I took from a text which was originally reproduced in a book (“book 1”) that cites the archival source of the text in question. The book I am taking the quotation from cites book 1. How should I cite the quotation? How far should I go in citing, knowing that the original text is an archival document that has been reproduced several times? When citing in footnotes, can I write “Transcribed in . . .”?

A. The more intermediaries between you and the original text, the further you are from actual evidence and the closer to rumor. If you can’t consult the original archived document, you owe it to your readers to convey the chain of transmission. It won’t necessarily be pretty. “Transcribed in” is a fine way to start.