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Citing Archival Materials

American Heritage Center

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, it is generally accepted that an item description should be the first element listed in a citation. There is, however, no formal agreement on the order for the remaining elements in archival and manuscript collection citations (17.222). While there is considerable freedom in the format of citations, it is important the author remain consistent when citing materials in their own work.

When providing a citation for archival materials there are several elements which must be present in the citation.

  • Item Description
  • Collection Information
  • Repository Information

These elements can vary widely from collection to collection and from repository to repository. For additional information about citing archival materials please see the latest addition of either the Chicago Manual of Style or the Turabian Manual for Writers.

Given the nature of the archival collections at the American Heritage Center, the following is a recommended citation style for footnotes/endnotes and bibliographies.


Item Description, date, box number, folder number, Collection Number, Collection Name, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.


Letter, Dennis Allen to Stan Lee, October 26, 1976, box 13, folder 4, Coll. 8302, Stan Lee Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Short Form (to be used only after the item has been previously cited)

Item Description, date, Collection Name.


Letter, Dennis Allen to Stan Lee, October 26, 1976, Stan Lee Papers.


Collection Name. Collection Number. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.


Stan Lee Papers. Coll. 8302. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

*Please note that this bibliography style should only be employed when more detailed item descriptions are provided in the footnotes/endnotes.

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