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> Citing Sources

Citing Primary Sources

How to Cite Materials

When using materials from any Five College archival repository, please acknowledge their source by clearly stating the name of the institution, repository, and the collection in which the materials are located, being as specific as possible.

Margaret Sanger to Havelock Ellis, l4 July l924, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

Some repositories will request that you include box and folder numbers in your citation:

Allen Tate to Louise Bogan, 10 January 1965, in Louise Bogan Papers (Box IV, Folder 1), Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library.

(Note: finding aids usually include the preferred citation for a particular collection. All of the Five College finding aids on this site include that information in the "Information on Use" section.)

Microbiology class, circa 1920's
Microbiology class, circa 1920's. University of Massachusetts Amherst.

For online sources, specify the URL (Web address).

Smith College Archives, John M. Greene Papers, Series 3, “My Notes on Smith College”

For more information on proper forms for citing Internet resources, see "Citation Guides for Electronic Documents," maintained by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).


The leading manuals of style recommend these components in this order for bibliographic citations:

1. Name of the manuscript collection to which it belongs
(or the individual item if there is no aggregate)

2. Name and location of the repository

Starr, Ellen Gates. Papers. Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
Notice the use of periods to separate the components and commas to separate the sub-components.

It is also acceptable to reverse the order of the components, beginning with the name of the repository:

Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. Margaret Sanger Papers.

_______________________________. Mary van Kleeck Papers.
(A line is used instead of repeating the initial elements that are the same as in the preceding citation.)

or its location:

Northampton, Massachusetts. Smith College. Sophia Smith Collection. Margaret Sanger Papers.

_______________________________. Mary van Kleeck Papers.

Whatever order is used, manuscript and archival collections should be alphabetized in a separate section of the bibliography from individual published sources.

This information is based on The Chicago Manual of Style, l4th ed. (l993), which is the most frequently used authority for historical publications. If you are using a different manual for your citations of published sources, you will need to modify your citations of unpublished sources for consistency in such details as punctuation and capitalization, but the principles of order are the same. For examples of such adaptation, see The MLA Style Manual (l985), which is the favorite authority in language and literary studies. Either manual may be helpful for special formats such as sound recordings or graphics.

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Last update: May 24, 2004