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Footnotes made easy: a guide for history majors

Archives and manuscripts

Notes

In citing correspondence from manuscript collections, give the full names of the writer and recipient, the date the letter was written, and the manuscript collection in which it may be found. The first time a collection is cited, its name should be given in full and its location should be indicated.  Subsequent citations should abbreviate the name of the collection and omit location of the collection.  For example:

  • 9.  James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, May 6, 1791, Andre De Coppet Collection, Firestone Library, Princeton University.
  • 10.  James Madison to George Washington, Feb. 18, 1788, De Coppet Collection.
  • 11. Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 11 September 1801, Thomas Jefferson Collection, Folder 20, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

In the case of large collections, you should indicate the number of the box (or designation of the file) in which the cited material may be found.  For example:

  • 12.  Adlai E. Stevenson to John F. Kennedy, Jan. 12, 1961, Adlai E. Stevenson Papers, Box 310, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton University.

Bibliography

  • Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Record Group 218. National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C.
  • Stevenson, Adlai E.  Papers.  Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton University.
  • Thomas Jefferson Collection. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
  • Triangle Club Records, 1883-2008, University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

Chicago says

Interviews and oral history

Note: if you are planning to conduct oral history interviews as part of your research, you should discuss your project in detail with your advisor to determine whether if falls under the University's Human Subjects Research policies.

The Oral History Association has published guidelines on their web site at http://www.oralhistory.org/do-oral-history/principles-and-practices/. See also the Smithsonian's Oral History Interviewing Guide, which includes a sample release form.

Finally, there are a number of handbooks for oral history:
The oral history manual. Barbara W. Sommer and Mary Kay Quinlan. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD : AltaMira Press, c2009. (from the American Association for State and Local History)
History Reference (SH) D16.14 .S69 2009

Government documents

For legal and government documents, the Bluebook now supersedes the style of older Chicago editions:
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. 20th ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Law Review Association, 2015.
Trustee Reading Room Reference (DR): Ready Ref. K50 .xU64 [and many other locations]

U.S. government documents: bibliography examples

  • U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Naval Affairs. Hearings on H.R. 9218. 75th Cong., 3rd sess., 1938.
  • U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, 1944. Vol. 4, Europe. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1966.

Chicago says

United States government documents

British government documents

Journals and newspapers

Notes

It is not necessary to cite the volume or issue number of a magazine of general interest.  Note, however, that the abbreviation “p” is required to distinguish clearly between the date of publication and page number.  For example:

  • 12.  Michael Rogers, “Software for War, or Peace: All the World’s a Game,” Newsweek, Dec. 9, 1985, p. 82.    

For reference to a newspaper, the name of the paper and date usually are sufficient. However, for large newspapers, particularly those made up of sections,  it is desirable to give the page number.  For example: 

  • 13.  Washington Globe, Feb. 24, 1835; Richmond Enquirer, May 15, 1835.
  • 14.  New York Times, Oct. 24, 1948, p. 17.

Bibliography

  • New York Times, 1921-1923

Chicago says