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History - United States

A guide to library and quality web resources useful for U.S. history research

Which Style Does History Use?


History uses "Turabian".  The Turabian manual interprets Chicago Style in an easy to understand way for students. It is still Chicago Style.

Find print copies at the Library 
Reference Area
Main floor, middle shelves
LB2369 .T8

Online Resources
A Quick Guide is available online from the publisher or you can consult the full Chicago Manual Online.

How to Cite Primary Sources

The Chicago & Turabian Manuals include primary sources as well by type of source (newspaper, letters, documents, etc.) but sometimes you will need to find the closest match and adapt your citation.

Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, Manuscript Collections

In particular:

14.229: Examples of note forms for manuscript collections

14.230: Examples of bibliography entries for manuscript collections

General principles:

  • The form for citing unpublished, archival materials is less standardized than for published sources.
  • Adopt a consistent form in your work.
  • Describe the item in the Notes, but describe only the collection or archive in the bibliography (unless you cite only one item from a given collection).



1. Name of author, "Name of item," date (date-mo-year), Name of collection, Item locator, Repository.

Name of collection, Name of repository.


See Chicago 14.228 re: Collections of letters

1. Joseph Battell to President Ezra Brainerd, 2 February 1893, A2 President Brainerd, Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives (hereafter cited as MC Archives).

A2 President Brainerd, Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives.


1. Ruth Hesselgrave, Scrapbook of Ruth Hesselgrave, class 1918, circa 1915-1919, College Archives, Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives.

College Archives, Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives.


1. Photograph of Ezra Brainerd, Middlebury College President, 1864, College Archives A2 PF, Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives.

No bibliographic entry is required for photographs. Put all required information in the footnote or text.

More help:

Annotated Bibliographies

Sample Papers

Sample paper using Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed) with footnotes (opens as a PDF document)

Sample paper using the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed) author / date (opens as a PDF document)

Zotero (Citation Tool / Manager)


Organize your research aZotero logo and linknd automatically create bibliographies in MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, and more. Zotero is free tool you download and use with a connector for Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

Download: Zotero website

Learn More: Midd Zotero Guide

More Citation Help

When you use the words, ideas, or creations of someone else, cite them. More examples of how and when to cite as well as links to tools like Zotero, to make it easier to keep track of your sources, can be found on the main Citation Guide.

citation guide


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