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Archives and Special Collections

Overview on using archives, including definitions, collection highlights, and how to find and cite materials

Citing Archival Sources

All primary source materials from the Beloit College Archives and Special Collections should be cited responsibly by researchers if quoted, paraphrased, referenced, or displayed. The format of your citations will depend on the style (MLA, APA, Chicago) preferences of your instructor, publisher, or discipline, but the information you should include will generally be the same. 

All citations should include the following information if known:

  • Name of Author/Creator
  • Title/Description
  • Date
  • Name of Collection
  • Location (box #, folder #)
  • Name of Repository (Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI)

Examine your source closely before omitting any information from your citation. Your citation should provide enough information that subsequent researchers will be able to retrace your steps and retrieve the exact source(s) cited.

The citation examples below generally adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style. Consult the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) for guidance on how to apply other citation styles.

Citation Examples (Chicago Manual of Style)

Citing Letters

A letter with assigned box and folder numbers (14.228)‚Äč:

Name of the Sender to Name of the Recipient, Date, Title of Collection, Box Number/Folder Number, Name of the Repository.

Frank Wong to Mary Wong Palmer, May 13, 1958, Wong Family papers, box 1, folder 17, Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI.

A letter WITHOUT assigned box or folder numbers:

Name of the Sender to Name of the Recipient, Date, Title of Collection, Box Number or Title/Folder Number or Title, Name of the Repository.

Franklyn Snyder to Irving Maurer, March 23, 1932,  Irving Maurer papers (MC 004), “F. B. Snyder” folder, Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI.

A letter found in an unprocessed collection (no folder or box numbers):

Name of the Sender to Name of the Recipient, Date, Title of Collection, Unprocessed, Name of the Repository.

Zachary Eddy to Aaron Chapin, September 5, 1860, Aaron L. Chapin papers (MC 001), Unprocessed, Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI.

Citing Photographs

Description, Date, Title of Collection, Box Number/Folder Number, Name of the Repository.

Photograph of Rev. H.M. Whitney, June 1884, Henry Mitchell Whitney papers (MC 115), box 1, folder 5, Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI.

Citing Newspaper Clippings

Name of Author, “Title of Article,” Name of Publication, Date, [found in Title of Collection Box Number/Folder Number, Name of Repository

Tracy Winkler, “The Medium is His Message," Sunday Magazine, March 15, 1981, [found in “Strawn, Jarrett” folder, Beloit College Alumni File Records (AC 008), Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, WI].

Citing Oral History Interviews

Name of the Narrator, interview by Name of the Interviewer, Date of Interview, in Location, Format, Title of Collection or Project Title (when applicable), page (when applicable), Name of the Repository.

Kevin Axe, interview by Arielle Petrovich, October 12, 2021, in Beloit, Wisconsin, MP4, Alumni Oral History Project, Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI.

Citing Electronic Records

When citing from records that are available online, follow the typical guidelines for citing physical archival records, but be sure to include a URL or DOI at the end.

Description, Date, Title of Collection, Name of the Repository, URL. 

Letter from Anne B. Kelley, May 28, 1919, Anna Bassett Kelley papers (MC 62), Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI, https://dcms.beloit.edu/digital/collection/kelley/id/45/rec/9.

Citing from Special Collections

To cite a "rare book" from the Special Collections, follow the typical guidelines for a book citation, but be sure to include the repository of the book (e.g. Beloitana Collection, Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection on Non-Violence, Beloit College Archives and Special Collections) and when possible a call number.

Bibliographic Citation

In a bibliography, the main element is usually the title of the collection in which the specific item may be found, the author(s) of the items in the collection, or the repository of the collection. Specific items are not usually mentioned in a bibliography. 

Last Name, First Name of author. Name of Collection. Name of Repository, Location of Repository.

Aldrich, Alonzo. Janvrin, Aldrich, and Neese family papers (MC 126). Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI.

Folk ‘n’ Blues Records (AC 51). Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI.

Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI.

Missing Information

Unknown date (14.145): If the publication date of a printed work cannot be ascertained, use the abbreviation n.d. in the publication details. A guessed-at date may either be substituted in brackets [1971?] or added (c.1971).

Unsigned newspaper articles (14.199): If a bibliography entry should be needed, the title of the newspaper stands in place of the author.

Pamphlets and other items with unknown information (14.220): Sufficient information should be given to identify a document, even when data on the author and publisher may not fit the normal pattern.