F&M College Library

Citing Primary Sources

Citation of sources in both footnote and bibliography form is of critical importance in a scholarly work. It allows the reader to consult the materials for further study and to evaluate the validity of your work. However, because there are so may variables in proper formatting of citations it is impossible to provide a thorough guide. For proper citation it is best to closely consult a guide such as :

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.
New York : Modern Language Association of America, 1999.
Call Number: LB2369 .G53 1999 located at Reference and Reserve Desks.

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations 6th ed.
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1996.
Call Number : LB2369 .T8 1996 Reference Desk.

And, when in doubt as to proper citation it is best to remain consistent by citing the same types of materials in the same fashion using your best judgment.



A few examples of citation of primary sources (MLA style):

(If citation format does not appear correct, expand your browser window.)


An entire collection:

National Archives and Records Administration, Pacific Southwest Region.
     US District Court Records, Southern District of California.
     Record Group 21, Criminal Case # 1323.

Franklin and Marshall College, Archives and Special Collections. 
    Reynolds Family Papers. MS Group 06, Series X.


Unpublished typescript:

Brubaker, John. Hullabaloo Nevonia. ts. MSS 29. Franklin and 
     Marshall College, Archives and Special Collections, Lancaster PA.


Unpublished manuscript:

Smith, John. Diary. ms. Record Group 12/05/02. Franklin and Marshall College, 
     Archives and Special Collections, Lancaster, PA.


Unpublished letter:

Reynolds, John F. Letter to Cate Reynolds. 2 September 1861.
     Reynolds Family Papers. Franklin and Marshall College, 
     Archives and Special Collections, Lancaster, PA.


Published letter:

Reynolds, William. "To Lydia Reynolds." 2 June 1839. Letter 8 of 
     Voyage to the Southern Ocean Ed. Ann Hoffman Cleaver and 
     Jeffrey Stann. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1988. 68-69.


Government Publications
Congressional Record Vol LV, Part 4 (65th Congress) Washington DC: 
     Government Printing Office, 1917.


Books published before 1900
Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, with 
     Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects . Philadelphia, 1794.


Newspaper Articles
"Convention Ratifies Constitution." Pennsylvania Packet and Daily 
     Advertiser 14 December, 1787, p. 1.,col 3.

Bernstein, Carl . " Watergate Break-in Linked to President. " 
    Washington Post 23 May, 1974, p. 1, col 6.