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Citation Tools: Citing Archival Sources

Citation guides and knowledge management tools

Citing Archival Sources

How you cite an archival source will vary depending on the preference of your instructor and the academic discipline in which you are operating. We included citation examples for three common styles below. Always be sure to refer to citation guidelines related to your particular type of material. For example, your citation may differ slightly if your item is a letter, photograph, film, piece of artwork, pamphlet, etc.

There are several elements in the citation that you need to know ahead of time in order to properly cite an archival source. These include:

The document: The creator or author, specific item title, page, section, date, and/or publisher.

Collection, box, and folder number: Most materials found in archives have a collection identification number as well as box and folder numbers that help identify where the materials came from.

Repository: This is the proper name of the archives where the materials came from.

If you are unsure of any of these components, feel free to reach out to the archives where you found your materials for assistance in identifying collection, box, and folder information. For materials found in the University of Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, email archives@pugetsound.edu for assistance.

Citing Manuscript Collections

 

The document shown on the left, a letter from Abby Williams Hill to Romayne Hill, includes these key components:

Document: Letter, Abby Williams Hill to Romayne Hill, November 22, 1896

Collection: Mss.011 Abby Williams Hill papers

Box: Box 3

Folder: Folder 27

Repository: University of Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma, Washington


This letter can be cited in the following ways:

American Psychological Association (APA):

Hill, A. (1896, November 22). [Letter to Romayne Hill]. Mss.011 Abby Williams Hill papers (Box 3, Folder 27). University of Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma, Washington.

Modern Language Association (MLA):

Hill, Abby Williams. Letter to Romayne Hill. 22 November 1896. Box 3, Folder 27. Mss.011 Abby Williams Hill papers. University of Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma, Washington.

Chicago Manual of Style:

Abby Williams Hill letter to Romayne Hill, 22 November 1896, Box 3, Folder 27, Mss.011 Abby Williams Hill papers, University of Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma, Washington.

Citing University Records

The newspaper article shown on the left, “Black Arts Festival Nearing,” can be found in both our physical and digital collections. It includes these key components:

Document: “Black Arts Festival Nearing,” Puget Sound Trail, April 18, 1975, pg. 2

Collection: RG 06: Associated Students of University of Puget Sound (ASUPS) publications

Box: N/A

Folder: N/A

Repository: University of Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma, Washington


This article can be cited in the following ways:

American Psychological Association (APA):

Author unknown. (1975, April 18). Black Arts Festival Nearing. Puget Sound Trail, 2. RG 06: Associated Students of University of Puget Sound (ASUPS) publications. University of Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma, Washington.

Modern Language Association (MLA):

Author unknown. “Black Arts Festival Nearing.” Puget Sound Trail, 18 April 1975, p. 2. RG 06: Associated Students of University of Puget Sound (ASUPS) publications. University of Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma, Washington.

Chicago Manual of Style:

Author unknown, “Black Arts Festival Nearing,” Puget Sound Trail (Tacoma, WA), April 18, 1975. RG 06: Associated Students of University of Puget Sound (ASUPS) publications. University of Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma, Washington.

In all of the styles above, if the article was accessed digitally, include the website address at the end of the citation: https://soundideas.pugetsound.edu/thetrail_all/1155/