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Archives & Special Collections

Overview of Archival Citation

All archival materials used in any form of research must be cited. This would include photos, correspondences, minutes, names, dates, etc. We provide a number of examples and resources to use with archival materials. For students, as with all citations, it is best to consult with your professor on proper citation guidelines for your research. Once you have determined which materials are relevant to your research, you will need to know how to reference them properly in your paper or project. Citation is one important challenge you must face when working with archives. Because archivists strive to preserve the unique order of collections when they are donated, universal guidelines for citing archival sources have not been established. Please follow the examples to lean how to cite specific materials in the College Archives.

Outside Citation Links

*These Library of Congress links include citation examples for Web Sites, Articles & Essays, Cartoons & Illustrations, Films, Government Publications, Maps & Charts, Newspapers, Oral History Interviews, Photographs, Sound Recordings, as well as Manuscripts.

Chicago Manual of Style:

Citation Example (from the College Archives)

Randall, Henry S. Letter to the Board of Trustees, 2 July 1869. Letter. Record Group: College Council, Box 4, Folder 2. SUNY Cortland Archives & Special Collections, Cortland, NY.



  1. Author’s last name, first name, middle initial (list the organization in no author is present. This might be a department or office)
  2. Title of document (in italics).
  3. Format (letter, manuscript, pamphlet, photograph, report..)
  4. Source (SUNY Cortland College Archives)
  5. Collection/Record Group name (College Council).
  6. Follow the collection name with specific archival location information. This may include the Sub-Group number, Series number, box number, and folder number.
  7. URL (if accessed online).

Example of this structure is below.

Last name, First name Middle initial (or organization). Title of Work. Format (letter, report..). Collection title. location info (box/folder), repository, URL (if applicable).