Center for Archival Collections

Frequently-Asked Questions: Citing Primary Sources

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What is the proper form for the citation of primary source material?

Students preparing papers for classwork should consult with their instructors to see which stylesheet to use. Examples are:

  • Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
  • Turabian, Kate L. Student's Guide for Writing College Papers
  • University of Chicago Press Staff. The Chicago Manual of Style

Other writers may find the examples below useful. The purpose of a citation is to allow readers to return to the original source material, so that they may judge for themselves the accuracy of quotations and the full context in which cited material appeared. Researchers should record as much information about the original source as possible.

FOOTNOTES or ENDNOTES

Newspapers

Henry County Review, 22 June 1894.

Manuscripts

Abel Comstock to Arnold McMahan, June 9, 1889, McMahan Papers (MS 562) Box 13, Folder 10, Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University (CAC-BGSU)

Shanks, Diary, 20 June 1862 (MMS-1172) CAC-BGSU

Government Records

Notice of Joel Thomas, Findlay liquor blacklists, 24 June 1895, Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University (CAC-BGSU)

Census

United States. Census Office. # Census of Population, year.

Example:

    United States. Census Office.  Fourteenth Census of Population, 1920.

    (Seventh, 1850; Eighth, 1860; Ninth, 1870; Tenth, 1880; Eleventh, 1890; Twelfth, 1900; Thirteenth, 1910; Fourteenth, 1920; Fifteenth, 1930)

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Newspapers

Henry County Review (Holgate, Ohio)

Manuscripts

McMahan, Arnold. Papers. William J. Sullivan Collection (MS-562). Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University (CAC-BGSU)

Shanks, William. Diary. William Shanks Diary (MMS 1172). Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University (CAC-BGSU)

Government Records

Findlay, Ohio. Police. Liquor blacklists. Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University (CAC-BGSU)

Census

United States. Census Office. # Census of Population, year.

Example:

    United States. Census Office.  Fourteenth Census of Population, 1920.

    (Seventh, 1850; Eighth, 1860; Ninth, 1870; Tenth, 1880; Eleventh, 1890; Twelfth, 1900; Thirteenth, 1910; Fourteenth, 1920; Fifteenth, 1930)