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Citing Archival Materials

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Provided here are a number of samples to follow when citing primary sources located at the Oberlin College Archives. It is useful for research notes to include the appropriate numbers assigned to folders or boxes in order for you to return easily to documents. However, it is not always essential that you incorporate this information in the footnote(s) accompanying the research paper itself. Researchers may want to be more precise with the annotation, however, if you use the archival material from a large collection or if the group lacks a good collection-level inventory. Sometimes this requires one to identify the folder heading itself in the citation. You need not always insert the classification number assigned a group/collection (e.g., RG 5, Records of the Office of Secretary, or RG 30/24, Robert. S. Fletcher Papers) as part of the footnote. Finally, if you largely derive the primary research from the Oberlin College Archives, no need exists to cite the repository in each individual footnote. Researchers can state this fact up front in the text of the first footnote: all primary sources cited below are from the Oberlin College Archives. When using sources on a more regular basis, you can abbreviate the repository (Oberlin College Archives: O.C.A.).

Researchers also should understand that the citation of an unpublished item, regardless of format, has three parts:

  1. description of the item;
  2. name of the aggregate of items to which it belongs (group, collection, or book title); and,
  3. the name and location of the repository that holds this material.

These citation reccomendations are based on leading manuals of style and do not neccesarily reflect the most recent edition. For additional citation assistance, visist the Main Library's citation page here.

Footnote Examples

A.  Printed or Published Works

1 "Ignoring the Public," editorial in the Oberlin News-Tribune, May 8, 1975.

2 "Race Relations in Oberlin: Liberal But . . .," Oberlin Review, November 13, 1962.

Unless making use of the title in the body of the research paper, one should include the title with the name of the newspaper or periodical. When using Sunday editions of large metropolitan newspapers, it is sometimes useful to give the section number (or letter) and page number.

The newspapers on microfilm are located in the College Library. The College and Special Collections hold the originals of newspaper.

3 Keyes D. Metcalf, "The Oberlin College Library," Oberlin Alumni Magazine, 19 (January 1923): 14.

4 [Oberlin College], Order of Exercises at the Dedication of the Spear Library . . . (Boston, 1885), 16-17.

5 "Annual Report of Librarian, 1917/18," in Oberlin College Annual Reports (Oberlin, 1918), 154, O.C.A.

6 President's Report (12 November 1960), Oberlin College 1959-1960, 8ff, O.C.A.

B.  Archival/Manuscript Sources

7 Eileen Thornton to Donald Love, 16 November 1959, Office of the Secretary, Box 6, O.C.A.

You need not report "letter," but sometimes it is useful to identify the "Correspondence Series," if more than one exists for the record group.

8 Robert K. Carr to Congressman Wilbur D. Mills, 29 April 1969, Correspondence Series, Carr Presidential Records, Box 12, O.C.A.

9 C[harles] R. K[eesey] to Robert K. Carr, 25 April 1960, (file labeled "Archives"), Carr Presidential Records, Box 6, O.C.A.

10 Quoted from the Journals of John Patchin and Elizabeth Wakeley Patchin, as recorded by Claribel L. Bickford (copies of typescript), page 29, Oberlin File, Writings By, Box 3, O.C.A.

11 Minutes, Executive Committee of [the] Board of Trustees, 23 April 1962 (D.F. 732 III b), Box 54, O.C.A.

12 Staff File (Robert R. Barr), Alumni & Development Records, Box 6, O.C.A.

13 Student File (Robert S. Fletcher), Alumni & Development Records, Box 247, O.C.A.

14 Eileen Thornton to J. Periam Danton, 18 March 1969, George E. Woodberry Papers, Box 2, O.C.A.

15 Audio Tape, Oberlin Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Alumni Colloquium, 27 May 1995, Cassette Tape Collection, O.C.A.

16 Transcript of oral history interview, Frederick B. Artz, 2 February 1979, Oral History Collection, Box 1, O.C.A.

17 Oral history interview with President S. Frederick Starr, 29 January 1992. Document in author's custody.

Bibliographic Examples

The leading manuals of style recommend these components in this order for bibliographic citations: 1) the title or description of the aggregate of items (if any) or the individual item (if there is no aggregate); and, 2) the name and location of the repository:

  1. Archives and Manuscript Sources

    Oberlin College Archives, Oberlin, Ohio
    Alumni Office. Records (Formers/Graduates), 1833-1990
    Career Development & Placement Office. Records, 1887-1975
    Erwin N. Griswold. Papers, 1936-1982
    Charles Martin Hall. Papers, 1882-1986
    Irving W. Metcalf. Papers, 1881-1948
    Secretary's Office. Records, 1834-1989
    William E. Stevenson. Records, 1946-1960
    Warren Taylor. Papers, 1930-1985

    Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio
    Theodore Elyah Burton. Papers, 1876-1928
    Cleveland Mayor's Advisory War Committee. Records, 1917-1920
    Willoughby Township. Justices of the Peace. Records, 1890-1930

  1. Secondary Sources

    Baumann, Roland M., compiler, Oberlin History Bibliography: A Partial Listing of Published Titles Bearing on the History of the College and Community Covering the Period 1833 to 1992 (Oberlin, 1992).

    Blodgett, Geoffrey T., "Myth and Reality in Oberlin History," Oberlin Alumni Magazine, 68 (May/June 1972): 4-10.

    Fletcher, Robert S., A History of Oberlin College: From Its Foundation Through the Civil War, 2 vols. (Oberlin, 1943).

Whatever order you use, you should alphabetize unpublished manuscript sources in a separate section of the bibliography. It is also customary to report separately primary sources and secondary sources, unless the number of them is too modest.

February, 1997; Revised 1999