Footnotes are a conventional way to tell your readers where you got the information and quotes that appear in your paper. Your goal is to make it easy for your readers to see what sources you used -- and easy to find any that they might want to study further. To do that, you need to provide complete citations in a consistent citation style. Leading publishers of historical scholarship (such as the American Historical Review and the Journal of American History) require Chicago Manual style footnotes.
Below you will find model footnotes that cite various types of sources. (Using the search function of your browser is an easy way to find the type of source you need.) The models illustrate the format for the first reference to a particular item. A second reference to the same item can be shortened -- as in model footnote 2 below.
For more on what footnotes are and how they work, see below. For more details on Chicago-style footnotes, see Chicago Documentation Style at hackerhandbooks.com or the Chicago Manual itself (available at the Duggan Library). You may also find helpful the online Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide.
This document was developed to provide illustrations of the types of citations our students use most. It includes examples (some of them modified) from an earlier version of "History: Documenting Sources" at Rules for Writers.
Books (print format)
1. William H. Rehnquist, The Supreme Court: A History (New York: Knopf, 2001), 204.
2. Rehnquist, Supreme Court, 21.
This is the most basic cite for a book. For any book, follow this model for punctuation, capitalization, and italics, providing author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, and the page where the information you are citing can be found. Variations on this basic cite are modelled below. Note that a complete citation is needed for the first reference you make to any item (as with model footnote 1); a shortened cite (as with model footnote 2) can be used thereafter.
Use this model for books available online only if they appear exactly as they did in print (i.e. with page images). Remember that the purpose of a footnote is to make it easy for readers to find the item you used. If the paper source and the online source look exactly the same (as would be the case in a photocopy, for instance), the details above will be most helpful for your readers. If the book has been reformatted in any way, your readers will need the URL and other information according to the model below.
11. Peter N. Stearns, ed., Encyclopedia of
European Social History: From 1350 to 2000 (New York: Carles
Scribner's Sons, 2001), III: 271.
Book, with two or three authors
3. Michael D. Coe and Mark Van Stone, Reading the Maya Glyphs (London: Thames & Hudson, 2002), 129-30.
Book, with four or more authors
4. Lynn Hunt et al., The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Boston: Bedford, 2001), 541.
Book, with no known author
5. The Men's League Handbook on Women's Suffrage (London: Thames & Hudson, 1912), 23.
Book, edited without an author
6. Jack Beatty, ed., Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America (New York: Broadway Books, 2001), 127.
Book, edited with an author
7. Ted Poston, A First Draft of History, ed. Kathleen A. Hauke (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000), 46.
8. Tonino Guerra, Abandoned Places, trans. Adria Bernardi (Barcelona: Guernica, 1999), 71.
Book, in an edition other than the first
9. Andrew F. Rolle, California: A History, 5th ed. (Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1998), 243.
Book, from a multivolume work
10. James M. McPherson, Ordeal by Fire, vol. 2, The Civil War (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993), 205.
For a separately titled volume, see model footnote 10; for volumes
without individual titles (as with model footnote 11), provide the volume
number with the pagination. Note that the cite to III:271 means page 271
of the third volume of the multivolume set.
12. U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, 1943 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1965), 562.
Encyclopedias and other reference books
With rare exceptions, print encyclopedias and other reference books follow the models already provided for citing books. (See models for edited works, or multivolume works above, for instance).
Use those models for reference works available online only if they appear exactly as they did in print (i.e. with page images). Remember that your goal is to make it easy for readers to find the item you used. If the paper source and the online source look exactly the same (as would be the case in a photocopy, for instance), the details above will be most helpful for your readers. If the book has been reformatted in any way, your readers will need the URL and other information as provided in the models below.
Dictionaries and a few widely recognized reference sources are cited as follows ("s.v." is for the Latin sub verbo, "under the word"):
13. American Heritage Dictonary, New College Edition, s.v. "copy-edit ."
14. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., s.v. "Monroe Doctrine."
15. Matt. 20:4-9 (Revised Standard Version).
16. Koran 19:17-21.
For the Bible (model footnote 15), provide the book, followed by chapter and verse (i.e. 15a refers to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 20, verses 4-9). For the Koran, provide sura and verse (i.e. model footnote 16 refers to sura 19, verses 19-21).
Articles and other short works (print format)
Article in a scholarly journal
17. Jonathan Zimmerman, "Ethnicity and the History Wars in the 1920s," Journal of American History 87, no. 1 (2000), 101.
Use this model for scholarly articles you have read online only if the article appears exactly as it did in print -- as with articles in JSTOR. If the article has been reformatted in any way, provide URL and other information according to the model footnotes below.
18. Nancy Gabin, review of The Other
Feminists: Activists in the Liberal Establishment, by Susan M.
Hartman, Journal of Women's History 12, no. 3 (2000), 230.
Article in a newspaper or popular magazine
19. Joy Williams, "One Acre," Harper's, Feb. 2001, 62.
20. Dan Barry, "A Mill Closes, and a Hamlet
Fades to Black," New York Times, 16 Feb. 2001, A1.
21. "Renewable Energy Rules," Boston Globe, 11 Aug. 2003, sec. A1.
Use this model for articles you have read online only if they
appear exactly as they did in print (i.e. with page images). If the
article has been reformatted in any way, provide URL and other information
according to the model below. When the
author of an article is unknown, begin with the article title. Provide
page and section numbers as the newspaper does (i.e. A1 means page 1 of
Work in an anthology
22. Rebecca Harding Davis, "Life in the Iron-Mills," in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, ed. Nina Baym, shorter 6th ed. (New York: Norton, 2003), 1205.
23. Thomas Gainsborough to Elizabeth Rasse, 13 Oct. 1753, in The Letters of Thomas Gainsborough, ed. John Hayes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 5.
For a short story or article, follow model footnote 22; for a letter, follow model footnote 23. For citing a letter you've read in an archive, see below.
Book (reformatted online)
24. Heinz Kramer, A Changing Turkey: The Challenge to Europe and the United States (Washington, DC: Brookings Press, 2000), 85, http://brookings.nap.edu/books/0815750234/html/index.html (accessed 12 Sept. 2004).
Use this model when the book has been reformatted in some way from the
original printed copies. If the book appears exactly as it did in print
(i.e. with page images), use the model found above.
Provide as much of the following as is available: 1) the author, 2) the
title, 3) the original publication information, 4) a page number or other
locator, such as paragraph number, 7) a stable URL (if provided and if it
can be conveniently transcribed) or the website's homepage or search page
(if a stable URL is not provided or is very long), 8) date you accessed
Article (reformatted online)
25. Gina Kolata, "Scientists Debating
Future of Hormone Replacement," New York Times, 23 Oct. 2002,
http://www.proquest.com (accessed 22 Feb. 2003).
26. Fiona Morgan, "Banning the Bullies," Salon, 15 March 2001, http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2001/03/15/bullying/index.html (accessed 24 Feb. 2003).
27. Linda Belau, "Trauma and the Material
Signifier," Postmodern Culture 11, no. 2 (2001), par. 6,
(accessed 11 Jan. 2008).
Use this model for articles that originally appeared in print but that you found reformated online. If the article appears exactly as it did in print (as with JSTOR), use the model found above. If the article was published directly to the web, use the model found below. Provide as much of the following as is available: 1) author of article, 2) title of article, 3) title of journal, magazine, or newspaper, 4) volume and issue number, 5) date, 6) page number or other locator, such as paragraph number, 7) a stable URL (if provided and if it can be conveniently transcribed) or the website's homepage or search page (if a stable URL is not provided or is very long), 8) date you accessed the article.
28. "Benjamin McLane Spock," World of
Health (online; Thomson Gale, 2006), in Biography Resource
Center, http://galenet.galegroup.com/ (accessed 11 Jan. 2008).
Provide as much of the following as is available: 1) author of entry, 2)
entry title, 3) title of reference source, 4) if the item has been
reformated from a print source, provide a note showing that and as much of
the original publication information as is available 5) if the reference
source is part of a collection such as the Gale Biography Resource Center,
provide the name of that collection, 6) a stable URL (if provided and if
it can be conveniently transcribed) or the website's homepage or search
page (if a stable URL is not provided or is very long), 7) the date you
accessed the item.
If the reference work appears exactly as it did in print (i.e. with page images), use the models described above.
Primary sources reproduced online
29. John Locke, The Second Treatise on
Government (1690), excerpted, Hanover College History Department,
http://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/165locke.html (accessed 24
Oct. 2003), para. 3.
To the extent possible, combine the information you would have provided for the primary source in its original form (as a book or letter, for instance) plus identifying information for the online version of it. As a general rule, provide 1) author's name, 2) title of the original work, 3) date of original work, 4) "excerpted" or "translated" as appropriate, 5) title of the site, 6) sponsor of the site, 7) stable URL (if provided and if it can be conveniently transcribed) or the website's homepage or search page (if a stable URL is not provided or is very long), 8) date on which you accessed the page, 9) page or paragraph number.
Webpages (original content online)
30. Sheila Connor, "Historical Background," Garden and Forest, Library of Congress, http://lcweb.loc.gov/preserv/prd/gardfor/historygf.html (accessed 13 Mar. 2007).
31. PBS Online, "Media Giants," Frontline: The Merchants of Cool, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/giants (accessed 12 Oct. 2007).
Provide as many of the following elements as are available: 1) author's name, 2) title of the page, 3) title of the site, 4) sponsor of the site, 5) stable URL (if provided and if it can be conveniently transcribed) or the website's homepage or search page (if a stable URL is not provided or is very long), 6) date on which you accessed the page. When no author is named, treat the site's sponsor as the author.
32. Joseph Adkinson, letter to Irvin Adkinson, 10 Feb. 1863, folder 11, box 1, Adkinson Family Civil War Letters, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
33. Edward M. House diary, 6 Nov. 1918,
Edward M. House Papers, Yale University Library (New Haven, Conn.).
Items in the Duggan Archives often cited by Hanover students
34. JoBeth Smith, "Immigrant Neighborhoods in the Fifties" (14 May 2003), "Twentieth-Century America and Your Family" collection, folder 38, box 4, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).35. "Alumni File of Charles Alling, Class of 1885," Archives of Hanover College, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
36. Stephanie Lynn Budin, "The Origins of Aphrodite" (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2000), 301-2.
37. 1880 United States Census, Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana, digital image s.v. "Callie J. Harrison," Ancestry.com.
Note that the citation specifies the census year and provides the geographic location where the person was counted (the town or township, the county, and the state). If you found the census page through a commercial site, direct your readers to the appropriate search term for the digital image by giving the person's name as the commercial site indexed it ("s.v." stands for the Latin sub verbo, or "under the word."). Finally, provide the name of the commercial site you used.
More examples for the sources genealogists use are available here.
38. The Secret of Roan Inish, dir. by John Sayles (1993; Columbia TriStar, 2000 dvd).
Provide 1) the title, 2) the director, 3) theatrical release date, 4) if
viewed as dvd or video, specify the distributor, date of dvd or video
release, and format.
Television or radio program
39. "A Place of His Own," 1976 episode of Happy Days (ABC, 1974-1984; Paramount, 2008 dvd).
Provide 1) the title of the episode, 2) broadcast date of the episode, 3)
title of series, 4) network, 5) inclusive dates of the series, 6) if
viewed as dvd or video, specify the distributor, date of dvd or video
release, and format.
40. Ron Haviv, interview by Charlie Rose, 12 Feb. 2001, The Charlie Rose Show (PBS).
Provide 1) person being interviewed, 2) the interviewer, 3) title of the
episode, if given, 4) the date of the interview, 5) name of the program,
6) the network.
41. Gustav Holst, The Planets, Royal Philharmonic, Andre Previn (1990; Telarc, 1990 cd).
Provide 1) composer, 2) name of piece, 3) performer(s), 4) date of
performance, if available, 5) title of cd, if necessary (in italics); 6)
distributor 7) release date and format.
42. Sara Lehman, letter to author, 13 Aug.
43. Abby Labille, "News from Home," email
to author, 24 Oct. 2007.
44. Thomas Anderson, conversation with author, 24 Oct. 2007.
Use these models for information people have communicated to you
directly. Model footnote 44 is appropriate for informal oral history
45. Charles Chipping, lecture for
"Introduction to English Literature," Hanover College, 17 May 2003.
One source quoted in another
46. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (New York: Random House, 1965), 11, quoted in Mark Skousen, The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and the Ideas of the Great Thinkers (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2001), 15.
47. Jo March, “The Great Depression at Rutgers,” excerpt from Leo Jenkins, oral history interview with Mary Jo Bratton, 31 March 1982, East Carolina University Archives, http://www.ecu.edu/cs-lib/archives/ohlj2.cfm (accessed 24 May 2009).
If you wish to refer to a source that the source you are consulting
quotes, provide as much information as is available about the quoted
source, and also provide the relevant information for the item in which it
More on what footnotes are and how they work.
Footnotes are a conventional way to tell your readers where you got the information and quotes that appear in your paper. Complete citations in a consistent citation style make it easier for your readers to scan through your citations and find what they want quickly.
If you are reading this page from the Hanover College campus, you can click here to see an example of a published article using Chicago Manual style footnotes. (If this link does not work for you, contact your library to see if your institution provides access to scholarly journals through some other means.)
Suppose the second paragraph of your paper mentions Horatio Nelson Taft visiting the White House, and suppose one of your readers is curious about where she could read more about Taft. She will look for the next superscript number after your mention of Taft. (For most papers, there is a footnote at the end of each paragraph of text in the body of the paper, so she'll look first at the end of the paragraph.) The superscript number she finds in the text directs her to the appropriate spot on the numbered list that runs along the bottom of all your pages. There, your citation tells her that you learned about Taft's visit by reading his diary, and you give her all the information she needs to find a copy of the diary to read herself. (Standard citation styles give her enough information to find it online or to order it through interlibrary loan, for instance). If you quote Taft again later in your paper, she'll want to know more about that information too, and so she'll again look to the end of the paragraph for the superscript number that will direct her to the bottom of your page. There she'll find your shortened reference to the Taft diary, with the page where she can read the quote in context. If she has forgotten the diary's publication details, she can look back to your first footnote for all the specifics. If you follow a consistent citation style, she'll be able to find the first full cite easily by scanning up through your earlier footnotes.
Notice that footnotes are numbered consecutively over the course of the whole paper. (That is, the paragraph that mentions Taft the second time gets its own footnote; don't re-use the number found in the earlier paragraph.)
If you are confused about how to punctuate sentences with quotations and footnotes, remember that "the end punctuation goes first, followed by quotation marks as appropriate, and then the superscript number."1
If you are confused about how to find the details you need for a complete cite, you will find helpful visuals by following the "citation at a glance" links in Chicago Documentation Style at hackerhandbooks.com.
Scholarly journal house styles sometimes vary slightly from The Chicago Manual. For example, see the "Journal of American History Style Sheet".
Be careful to avoid accidental plagiarism. If you do not provide a footnote for information that you have learned from someone else, you are implying that you know that information from your own experience. You are thus stealing the credit for someone else's hard work, and academics take theft of intellectual property seriously.
Hanover College History Department
Last updated: Jan. 9, 2017