Citing Archival Sources

Citing a primary source document, from an archives, varies depending on the preference of your instructor, the publication you are submitting the article, or the discipline in which you are operating. The particular style may be the American Psychological Association (APA), the Modern Language Association (MLA), the Chicago Manual of Style, etc.

Just like with printed material such as books and journal articles; using direct quotes or paraphrasing from archival material requires citations for sources. Regardless of what style you are required to use for your research, all archival material citations will contain the following basic elements:

Title

Title of the file or item. If material is untitled, provide a short description.

Name of Collection

Name of the collection that the file or item being cited is a part of. 

Collection Number

Special number associated with a particular collection.

For Example: Roebling Collection (MC 4), or George Low collection (1987-12).

Box Number, Folder Number

The number of the box and folder where the material is physically stored.

Repository

The name of the archives and where it is geographically located. 

I'm citing a...

Notes

1. Letter to J.A. Roebling from Louis Jacobi, 1869, Box: 1, Folder: 2. Roebling collection, MC 4. Institute Archives and Special Collections. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.

Bibliography

Roebling collection, MC 4. Institute Archives and Special Collections, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.
 

Notes

2. Allegheny Suspension Bridge, n.d. Roebling collection, MC 4. Institute Archives and Special Collections, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.

If there is no date associated with the photograph, you can use “n.d.”

Bibliography

Roebling collection. Institute Archives and Special Collections, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.
 
Back to top