Chicago Citation: Examples

First, see my Tipsheet > Chicago Citations: Guidelines.

Note:  never simply copy/paste citations from library databases–those do not conform to any citation style.  E.g., few if any  citation styles use ALL CAPS for anything.

A few principles (some of which shape my modifications below):

  • For reprints, always cite the book or website where you saw the reprint. Always. This is a matter of ethics. (This also goes for quoting someone quoted in another source–cite the source you are getting it from, not the original, unless you go and fetch the original.)
  • If the item is in stable form, and if the database does not alter its  form (e.g., an academic journal article in PDF), then don’t cite the database.
  • If the item is relatively hard to access, and/or if the database re-formats the item (e.g., academic journal articles in HTML, or old newspapers made OCR-searchable by the database), then cite the database.
  • If the item is rare and you saw it in a non-circulating archive, library, or museum, then cite that institution fully.

Now, the examples:

Note: These are for footnote citations.  Bibliography entries differ. See Lipson, Cite Right.

books (including graphic novels in book form)

See Lipson, Cite Right, 17-23.

chapters in books

See Lipson, Cite Right, 24.

academic journal articles

See Lipson, Cite Right, 24-25.

Except for this: Although Chicago dictates that you cite your access date and DOI number or URL, most history publishers and editors ignore this. So, for PDF versions of the articles, which simply reproduce the page layouts of the print journal, do not include database name or URL. If you use the HTML version, or if the article exists only online, then you must cite the database name or URL.

newspaper & magazine articles (in print, on microfilm, or online)

 See Lipson, Cite Right, entries for each, 26-28.

Note: comic books in a series are treated slightly differently from other periodicals. List the writer and artists separately (and in this case colorist if you are analyzing the color choices):

Mike Allred (writer), Nick Dragotta and Mike Allred (art), Laura Allred (colors), “Dead A Long Time, Part Four,” X-Statics Presents: Dead Girl #4, June 2006.  [and follow this with online info if you are using a digital edition.]

short:  Allred, Dragotta, and Allred, Dead Girl #4.

newspaper & magazine articles in databases

“The Heathen Chinee,” Harper’s Weekly, February 18, 1871, 147. HarpWeek, accessed 3 April 2014.

Note: because these historical periodicals are not easily accessible, I want you to include the database name, though it is not required in Chicago.

short:  “Heathen Chinee,” 147.

images in newspapers, in databases

Note: for editorial cartoons, the databases often list them generically (e.g. and omit the titles and creator’s names.  Find the creator’s name on the cartoon itself. If it has no title, you can use the caption as the title, or if none, call it an untitled political cartoon.

Thomas Nast, “The Chinese Question,” illustration, Harper’s Weekly, February 18, 1871, 149. HarpWeek, accessed 3 April 2014.

Note: because these historical periodicals are not easily accessible, I want you to include the database name, though it is not required in Chicago.

short:  Nast, “Chinese Question.”

archival sources, stand-alone items

American Anti-Slavery Society, A Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Society: Adopted at the Formation of said Society in Philadelphia on the 4th day of December, 1833, broadside (New York: William S. Dorr, 1833), Special Collections Research Center, The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

short:  AA-SS, Declaration.

Note: you may abbreviate names of organizations, etc., in short citations.

Benjamin Banneker, Bannaker’s Almanack, and Ephemeris for the Year of our Lord 1793 (Philadelphia: Joseph Crukshank, [1792]), Special Collections Research Center, The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

short:  Banneker, Almanack, 17.

archival sources, when organized in collections

Cite full information for the original object, plus information on the archive where you saw it.

See Lipson, Cite Right, 31-32, but e.g.:

Frederick Douglass, letter to B. F. Underwood, May 9, 1884, W. Lloyd Wright Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

short:  Douglass to Underwood, May 9, 1884.

Note: include date to distinguish it from other letters cited.

Legends Featuring Lil Benny, performance at Legend Nite Club, Washington, DC, April 23, 1999, audiocassette recording, Kip Lornell and Charles Stephenson Washington Go-Go Collection, Special Collections Research Center, The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

 short: Legends performance, April 23, 1999.

Note: include date to distinguish it from other performances cited.

films on dvd

See Lipson, Cite Right, 43-44, but for example:

Clash of the Titans, DVD, directed by Desmond Davis, special visual effects by Ray Harryhausen (1981; Burbank, Cal.: Warner Home Video, 2002).

Note: the director’s name is required, but you may add other creators, actors, etc., as relevant to your argument.

short:  Clash of the Titans.

Note: if it is always clear which film you are talking about, no need to cite it again after the first time.

films, commercials, etc., online (in websites, archives, youtube)

Basically, cite all the information for the item’s original appearance, then the info for where you saw it.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, directed by Edwin S. Porter (1903; New York: Edison Company), available at Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture, accessed April 3, 2014, http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/onstage/films/mv03hp.html.

 short:  Porter, dir., Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Note: the director is indicated here to distinguish it from the novel.

“Perversion for Profit (Part I),” (ca. 1964-1965: Cincinnati, OH: Citizens for Decent Literature, Inc.), Prelinger Archives, Internet Archive, accessed April 3, 2014, https://archive.org/details/Perversi1965.

short:  “Perversion for Profit (Part I).”

“Tennessee Trash,” television public service announcement, produced by Hudson and Associates (1976; Nashville, TN: Tennessee Department of Transportation), posted by videokyle, Youtube, accessed April 3, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWcMrWk_0Uw.

 short:  “Tennessee Trash,” 1976.

Note: the date here distinguishes it from the 1996 remake, if cited in the same paper.

tv shows online (in databases or netflix)

Star Trek, “Plato’s Stepchildren,” season 3, episode 10, November 22, 1968, available at Netflix, accessed April 3, 2014, http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/Star_Trek/.

short: Star Trek, “Plato’s Stepchildren.”

artwork in museum or gallery (if that is where you saw it)

 Unknown artist, Frederick Douglass, ca. 1844, oil on canvas, 70.2 x 57.5 cm, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

short: Frederick Douglass, ca. 1844.

Note: the date distinguishes it from other portraits cited.

artwork or artifacts reproduced in a book

Basically, cite everything for the artwork, then everything for the book.

Alison Saar, Delta Doo, 1998, wood, copper, mixed media, height 31 in., collection of the artist, in Michael D. Harris, Colored Pictures: Race and Visual Representation (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), fig. 103, p. 242.

short: Saar, Delta Doo.

William Edmondson, Schoolteacher, [ca. 1930s-1940s], sculpture [in limestone], 14.5 x 5.5 x 75 in., Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, TN, in  Robert Farris Thompson, et al., The Art of William Edmondson (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1999) , plate 15, p. 120.

Note: put in brackets information you gathered elsewhere but is not in the book’s own citation for the sculpture; brackets signal that you learned this information elsewhere.

short:  Edmondson, Schoolteacher, Cheekwood.

Note: the museum name here distinguishes it from his other “Schoolteacher” sculptures.

Anon., David Ruggles, n.d., charcoal print, Negro Almanac Collection, Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, repr. in Graham Russell Gao Hodges, David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010), frontispiece.

short:  David Ruggles, charcoal print.

artwork or artifacts reproduced online

William K. Rhinehart, artist, and [no first name given] Lovejoy, engraver, Fourth of July celebration, or, Southern ideas of Liberty– July 4, ’40, [ca 1840], wood engraving, 27.7 x 39.3 cm, American Antiquarian Society, GIGI: The AAS Digital Image Archive, accessed 3 April 2014, http://gigi.mwa.org/.

Note: if the URL for the object is unreasonably long, and if the object can be found easily enough with the site’s search engine, just give the main URL.

short: Rhinehart, Fourth of July.

M. H. Kimball, Isaac and Rosa, Slave Children from New Orleans, 1863, photographic print on carte de visite mount, albumen, 10 x 6 cm, Gladstone Collection of African American Photographs, Library of Congress, LOT 14022, no. 117 [P&P], Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, accessed April 3, 2014, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2010647842/.

short: Kimball, Isaac and Rosa.

Note: if there are multiple similar items, give the full URL to avoid confusion.

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