Citing and referencing: Archival material

A guide to the styles recommended by Monash schools and departments for students and researchers

Archival material

 

Archival materials can be difficult to cite, and how you do it will differ depending whether the primary source is accessed through a published book, a physical archive, a database or a website.

Collections of archival materials published in book form

When archival material is published in a book, the citation generally acknowledges an editor along with an author. See the Books tab for variations on these patterns (e.g. for multiple authors). Diaries and letters published in collections are treated slightly differently from other types of sources, see below for details.

Note that citations can refer to dates that are not contemporaneous with an author’s lifetime, because they represent the year that a source was published and not necessarily when it was written.

Rule for Note

Edited books

Note number. Author's Full Name, Title of Book: Subtitle of Book, ed. Editor's Full Name (Place of Publication: Publisher's Name, Year of Publication), Page or Pages.

Diaries

Note number. Author's Full Name, Title of Diary, Dates that entries span if not included in the title, ed. Editor's Full Name (Place of Publication: Publisher's Name, Year of Publication), Page or Pages.

Letters

Note number. Author's Full Name to Recipient's Full Name, Date of Letter, in Title of Collection, ed. Editor's Full Name (Place of Publication: Publisher's Name, Year of Publication), Page or Pages.

Example of Note entry

Edited books

1. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Art of War, ed. Edward Dacres and Peter Whitehorne (New York: AMS Press, 1967), 55.

Diaries

3. Thomas Larkham, The Diary of Thomas Larkham, 1647–1669, ed. Susan Hardman Moore (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2011), 13.

Letters

4. John O’Neill to Thomas Jefferson, October 30, 1805, in To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson: Letters to a President, ed. Jack McLaughlin (New York: Avon Books, 1991), 60.

Subsequent Note entry

Edited books

1. Machiavelli, The Art of War, 55.

Diaries

3. Larkham, 23.

Letters

4. O’Neill to Jefferson, October 30, 1805, 61.

Rule for Bibliography

Edited books

Author's Surname, Author's Given Name. Title of Book: Subtitle of Book. Edited by Editor's Full Name. Place of Publication: Publisher's Name, Year of Publication.

Diaries

Author's Author's Surname, Author's Given Name. Title of Diary. Dates that entries span if not included in the title. Edited by Editor's Full Name. Place of Publication: Publisher's Name, Year of Publication.

Letters

Author's Surname, Author's Given Name to Recipient's Full Name. Date of Letter. In Title of Collection. Edited by Editor's Full Name. Place of Publication: Publisher's Name, Year of Publication.

Example of Bibliography entry

Edited books

Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Art of War. Edited by Edward Dacres and Peter Whitehorne. New York: AMS Press, 1967.

Diaries

Larkham, Thomas. The Diary of Thomas Larkham, 16471669. Edited by Susan Hardman Moore. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2011.

Letters

Neill, John. John O’Neill to Thomas Jefferson, October 30, 1805. In To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson: Letters to a President. Edited by Jack McLaughlin. New York: Avon Books, 1991.

 

A primary source quoted in a secondary source

If a primary source is published in a reader, anthology, sourcebook, or similar where each chapter contains more than one source, then cite as a primary source quoted in a secondary source. Consulting and referencing primary sources is always preferable. However, if such material is only available in a secondary source then introduce the original source and note that the source is “quoted in” the secondary source. Include only the secondary source in the bibliography.

Rule for Note

Note number. Primary Source Author’s Full Name, Title of Book (Place of Publication: Publisher’s Name, Year of Publication), Page or Pages, quoted in Secondary Source Author’s Full Name, Title of Book (Place of Publication: Publisher’s Name, Year of Publication), Page or Pages.

Example of Note entry

1. Hastings Ismay, The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay (New York: Viking, 1960), 199, quoted in James Holland, The Battle of Britain (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010), 335.

Subsequent Note entry

2. Ismay, Memoirs, quoted in Holland, The Battle of Britain, 335.

Rule for Bibliography

Secondary Source Author’s  Surname, Given Name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher’s Name, Year of Publication.

Example of Bibliography entry

Holland, James. The Battle of Britain. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010.

 

Unpublished documents in a physical archive

Typical elements of a citation to an unpublished document in a physical archive include: the title (if available) or a description of the document, the relevant date, location information, the collection title, the collection number, and the repository name. You can usually find these details in the item’s finding aid or catalogue record, but not all citations will have all of these elements.

The main element of the citation is usually the specific document, which is cited first. If it lacks a formal title, you may create one (e.g. photograph, interview, or minutes). Descriptive titles of this kind are not enclosed in quotation marks or italicised. Include information about the specific location of a document in a collection by designating box and folder numbers. See the The Chicago Manual of Style, from  14.221, for more detailed instructions and more examples.

Remember that you need to supply enough information for the reader to track down the source. Be consistent in the format you choose and if you want more advice then ask your tutor or at the library.

Rule for Note

Note number. Title (if available) or description of the specific document, Name of the entity that drafted the document, Year drafted, Collection, Repository, Location.

Example of Note entry

1. Minutes of the Committee for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks, Pennsylvania Abolition Society, 1790–1803, Papers of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Subsequent Note entry

Subsequent citations to the same document, or other documents from the same collection, may be shortened. The writer announces the use of short forms in a bracket at the end of the first citation.

1. Minutes of the Committee for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks, Pennsylvania Abolition Society, 1790–1803, Papers of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (hereafter cited as Minutes, Pennsylvania Society).

2. Minutes, 15 April 1795, Pennsylvania Society.

Rule for Bibliography

The main element of the bibliography entry is usually the title of the collection in which the specific document may be found, or the repository that houses the collection. Specific documents are not usually mentioned in a bibliography unless only one item from the collection is cited.

Example of Bibliography entry

Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery. Papers. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

or if only one item from the collection is cited

Minutes of the Committee for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks, Pennsylvania Abolition Society, 1790–1803. Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery. Papers. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

 

Archival materials in a database

How you cite these sources will depend on where you found them, as each database or website will provide different information. In general citations of archival material accessed through databases or online follow similar patterns as citations of physical collections. They include: the author's name (if available), the title or type of the document, the date of the document, the title of the website, and its URL. If the source is from a database then provide the information you would give if you accessed the source in an archive, as your reader may not have access to the paid database.

Rule for Note

Note number. Author (if available), Title or description of the specific document. Date of document, Title of website or database, URL.

Example of Note entry

1. Thomas Haddon, Carrier Pigeons in War. 9 January 1946, War Cabinet, Ministry of Defence and Cabinet Office: Joint Intelligence Sub-Committee, Later Committee: Secretariat: Minutes (JIC(SEC)). Secretariat Minutes (1946) 2-312 , Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War, CAB176/9, http://www.secretintelligencefiles.com.
ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/Content/swwf.cab176/0009/010?t0=0&q0=pigeon&o0=
and&pf=1873&pt=2015&pfrr=False&cnf=1873&cnt=1953&cnrr=False&cvf=
1873&cvt=1953&cvrr=False&sid=177840061&st=False&sy=False&rc=true.

Subsequent Note entry

2. Haddon, Carrier Pigeons in War, 25.

Rule for Bibliography

Paper Series (if available). Location (if available). Name of database. Document catalogue number. URL.

Example of Bibliography entry

War Cabinet, Ministry of Defence and Cabinet Office: Joint Intelligence Sub-Committee, later Committee: Secretariat: Minutes (JIC(SEC)). Secretariat Minutes (1946) 2–312, Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War, CAB176/9, http://www.secretintelligencefiles.com. ...

 

Archival materials on a website

The Chicago Manual of Style does not require that access dates be included in references to formally published online sources. However, students may be required to include them for assessment tasks.

Note in this example that the fictional character Diana Prince (Wonder Woman’s alter ego) has signed the source. As the actual author is unknown, we can cite Prince as a pseudonym and signal it by including the abbreviation "pseud." in square brackets.

Rule for Note

Note number. Author's Full Name, 'Title of Source: Subtitle of Source,' Relevant Date, Name of Hosting Organisation. URL.

Example of Note entry

1. Diana Prince [pseud.], 'Wonder Women of History: Ellen Swallow Richards,' 1951, American Memory, Library of Congress, https://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/awhbib:@field(NUMBER+@band(ppmsca+02933)).

Subsequent Note entry

2. Prince 'Wonder Women of History,' 1951.

Rule for Bibliography

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. 'Title of Source: Subtitle of Source.' Relevant Date. Name of Hosting Organisation. URL.

Example of Bibliography entry

Prince, Diana [pseud.]. 'Wonder Women of History: Ellen Swallow Richards.' 1951. American Memory. Library of Congress, https://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/awhbib:@field(NUMBER+@band(ppmsca+02933)).

Collections of archival materials published in books

In Chicago’s author-date system, published collections of archive material are referenced in the same way as other published books. Details of specific sources can be introduced in the text. In the case of references to letters, these details can include the full name of the recipient of the correspondence along with the author’s name and the original date.

Note that citations can refer to dates that are not contemporaneous with an author’s lifetime, because they represent the year that a source was published and not necessarily when it was written.

Rule for Citation

Edited books, diaries, and collections of letters

(Author’s Surname Year of Publication, Page or Pages)

Example of Citation entry

Edited books

(Machiavelli 1967, 55)

For a diary in an edited publication

(Larkham 2011, 13)

For a letter in an edited collection

(O’Neill 1991, 60)

Rule for Reference list

Edited books

Author's Surname, Author's Given Name. Year of Publication. Title of Book. Edited by Editor's Full Name. Place of Publication: Publisher's Name.

For a diary in an edited publication

Author's Surname, Author’s Given Name. Year of Publication. Title of Diary. Edited by Editor’s Full Name. Place of Publication: Publisher’s Name.

For a letter in an edited collection

Author’s Surname, Author’s Given Name to Recipient’s Full Name, Year of Publication. In Title of Collection. Edited by Editor’s Full Name. Place of Publication: Publisher’s Name.

Example of Reference list entry

Edited books

Machiavelli, Niccolò. 1967. The Art of War. Edited by Edward Dacres and Peter Whitehorne. New York: AMS Press.

For a diary in an edited publication

Larkham, Thomas. 2011. The Diary of Thomas Larkham, 1647–1669. Edited by Susan Hardman Moore. Woodbridge: Boydell.

For a letter in an edited collection

O’Neill, John. 1991. "John O’Neill to Thomas Jefferson, October 30, 1805". In To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson: Letters to a President. Edited by Jack McLaughlin. New York: Avon Books.

 

A primary source quoted by a secondary source

Consulting and referencing primary sources is always preferable. However, if such material is only available in a secondary source then introduce the primary source in the text and note that the source is “quoted in” the secondary source in the citation. Include the secondary source only in the reference list.

Rule for Citation

(quoted in Surname of the Author of the secondary source Year of Publication)

Example of Citation entry

In The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay published in 1960 (quoted in Holland 2010) Hastings Ismay states that …

Rule for Reference list

Surname, Given Name of the Author of the secondary source. Year of Publication. Title: Subtitle. Place of Publication: Publisher’s Name.

Example of Reference list entry

Holland, James. 2010. The Battle of Britain. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Unpublished documents in a physical archive

In Chicago’s author-date system, references to specific archival documents are commonly presented within the text. Citations name the collection and include information that can assist interested readers to locate the document. You can usually find these details in the item’s finding aid or catalogue record. The reference list entry includes the collection title and the repository name and location.

Remember that you need to supply enough information for the reader to track down the source. Be consistent in the format you choose and if you want more advice then ask your tutor or at the library.

Rule for Citation

(Name of Archive, Location)

Example of Citation entry

Alvin Johnson, in a memorandum prepared sometime in 1937 (Kallen Papers, file 36), observed that ...

Rule for Reference list

Name of archive or Surname, Given Name of the person identified with the archive. Type of archive. Name of Repository, Place of Repository.

Example of Reference list entry

Kallen, Horace. Papers. YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York.

 

Archival materials in a database

References to unpublished archival material in Chicago’s author-date system generally focus on the name of the manuscript collection or repository, rather than the author of the specific item. Citations also name manuscript collections, and do not require a date. Specific items are commonly introduced within the text and reference the author, the title and the date. Other details, such as the type of document, can be narrated where relevant.

References to archival material consulted online include a URL. The Chicago Manual of Style does not require that access dates be included in references to formally published electronic and online sources. However, students may be required to include them for assessment tasks.

Rule for Citation

(Name of the manuscript collection or repository)

Example of Citation entry

In a memorandum entitled “Carrier Pigeons in War”, dated 9 January 1946 (Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War), Thomas Haddon recommends …

Rule for Reference list

Name of the manuscript collection. Name of the repository. URL.

Example of Reference list entry

Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War: Intelligence, Strategy and Diplomacy.
The National Archives, U.K. http://www.secretintelligencefiles.com.
ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/Content/swwf.cab176/0009/010?t0=0&q0
=pigeon&o0=and&pf=1873&pt=2015&pfrr=False&cnf=1873&cnt=1953&cnrr
=False&cvf=1873&cvt=1953&cvrr=False&sid=177840061&st=False&sy
=False&rc=true.

 

Archival materials on a website

The Chicago Manual of Style does not require that access dates be included in references to formally published online sources. However, students may be required to include them for assessment tasks.

Note in this example that Diana Prince (Wonder Woman’s alter ego) has signed the source. As the actual author is unknown, we can cite Prince as a pseudonym and such details about the item can be discussed in the text.

Rule for Citation

(Name of Archive)

Example of Citation entry

Richards’ contribution to science was recognised in a 1951 comic feature entitled 'Wonder Women of History’ penned under the pseudonym Diana Prince, the superhero Wonder Woman’s alter ego (American Memory).

Rule for Reference list

Name of Archive. Name of Repository or Website. URL.

Example of Reference list entry

American Memory. Library of Congress, https://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/awhbib:@field(NUMBER+@band(ppmsca+02933)).

 

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