Historical Primary Sources

Information on primary sources--what they are, how to find them, and how to use and cite them.

Primary Sources at Johns Hopkins

Appropriately citing the sources of your research is important for any scholarly output from papers to presentations. Citations are a way of giving credit to the work of others (like a shout out or hat tip), as well as a way to add credibility to your work by demonstrating the sources you use as evidence. Anytime you summarize, paraphrase, or quote from a source you should provide a citation.

The Chicago Manual of Style is the most commonly used citation guide for historians. It provides guidelines and examples for how to cite any type of primary source you may be using from archival manuscripts to social media. Chicago Style citations can be done in two formats--Notes and Bibliography and Author Date. Historians generally use Notes and Bibliography.