The OAH Magazine of History

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Style Guide

The OAH Magazine of History uses the Fifteenth Edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003). This Style Sheet is intended to point out the basic key components of manuscript preparation. Therefore, The Chicago Manual should be consulted when any questions arise regarding general manuscript preparation, punctuation, capitalization, spelling and distinctive treatment of words, names and terms, numbers, references, notes, and bibliographies.

General Considerations

1. Articles accepted for publication in the OAH Magazine of History are written in a style that is readable and accessible for a broad audience of high school, junior high school, and college teachers interested in all aspects of history education, including recent scholarship, curriculum, and developments in educational methodologies.

2. Text should be typed double spaced. Notes are separated and placed at the end of the article rather than at the bottom of the page. The title and author of the article should be placed on a separate page preceding the text rather than on the first page of text.

3. For questions of spelling, capitalization, word division, use of numbers, punctuation, and other matters of style, please follow The Chicago Manual of Style.

4. The first time any person is mentioned in text, the individual must be fully identified by first and last names. Women are not identified as Mrs. or Miss. The use of titles such as Dr., Rev., Gen., etc., is discouraged.

5. Acronyms (NEA, ACLU, CIO, etc.) should not be used to identify organizations until the organization's name has first been provided in full and the acronym indicated [e.g., National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)]. If an acronym is used, it should be used whenever the organization is mentioned subsequent to the initial, full reference.

6. Quotations should correspond exactly with the originals in wording, spelling, capitalization, and interior punctuation, except that single quotation marks may be changed to double quotation marks. Magazine style discourages using sic ("so,'' "thus,'' "in this manner'') in the published article when a word is misspelled or wrongly used in the original quotation. However, it is often helpful if the manuscript submitted by the author indicates errors present ln the original source in this manner.

7. When used, ellipsis points are separated from each other and from the text and any contiguous punctuation by one fixed unit of lateral spacing. Observe the distinction between 3-point and 4-point ellipses. Indicate omissions within a quoted passage by three spaced ellipsis points. When the omitted section includes the last part of the quoted sentence, indicate with a period followed by three spaced dots. It is also worth remembering that ellipsis points are seldom necessary before or after an incomplete quoted passage, since the reader normally assumes that something precedes and follows any quotation.

8. Interpolation of the author's own comments or explanation in quoted matter should be enclosed in square brackets, not parentheses. Such interpolations should be kept to an absolute minimum.

9. For tables and figures, the author should clearly indicate where each should be placed in the text. The Magazine does not favor putting all the tables at the end of an article. The Chicago Manual discusses table format and style quite extensively. Note especially that each table or figure should be identified by both a number and a descriptive title. Each must also have its sources indicated. When appropriate, camera-ready copy of the figure must also be supplied if the article is accepted for publication.

Treatment of Numbers

1. Whole numbers. Whole numbers from one through ninety-nine are spelled out in ordinary text, as well as any of these numbers followed by hundred, thousand, million, etc. The same general principle is applied to ordinal as well as cardinal numbers.

2. Consistency. Numbers applicable to the same category should be treated alike within the same context, whether paragraph or series of paragraphs. Do not use figures for some and spell out others. (E.g., "The population of Gary, Indiana, grew from 10,000 to 175,000 in only thirty years.'')

3. Enumerated Lists. Enumerations that are run into the text should be indicated by figures between parentheses. In a simple series with little or no punctuation within each item, separation by commas is sufficient. Otherwise, semicolons should be used. For long enumerations, begin each item on a line by itself. Align the numerals on the periods that follow them, and either set them flush with the text or indent them. In either case, runover lines are best aligned with the first word following the numeral (as in this Style Sheet).

4. Dates. In all text, including notes and bibliographies, exact dates are written in the sequence day-month- year without internal punctuation (e.g., "12 March 1992''). When a period of time is identified by month and year, no internal punctuation is necessary or appropriate. If decades are identified by their century, figures are used ("the 1880s and 1890s''); never "the 1880s and '90s'' or "the 1880's and '90's.''


The Magazine of History uses "Documentation I" (formerly "Style A") for literature, history, and the arts, as outlined in section 16 of The Chicago Manual, when preparing bibliographies or reference lists for publication. We use "notes and bibliography" as opposed to the "author-date system." We use endnotes versus footnotes. And, in general, and for all matters not covered by this Style Sheet, the Magazine follows section 16 of The Chicago Manual as well in regard to the style of individual entries in scholarly reference lists and bibliographies.


A list of books and other references used by an author in preparing an article may be titled "Bibliography'' or "Select Bibliography'' or, if it includes only works referred to in the text, "Works Cited,'' "Literature Cited,'' or "References.'' The reader is best served by references arranged alphabetically by author.

Citations to books require the following information. (a) Author's or editor's name as it appears on the title page; (b) full title and subtitle exactly as it appears on the title page; (c) total number of volumes for any multivolume work; (d) place of publication (use "n.p.'' if not known); (e) Year of publication (use "n.d.'' if not known); and (f) pages cited (volume and pages for a multivolume work).

1. Books

Granzotto, Gianni. Christopher Columbus: The Dream and the Obsession. New York: Doubleday & Co., 1985.

Warner, Sam Bass. Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Growth in Boston, 1870-1900. 2d ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1978.

Leon-Portilla, Miguel, ed. The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico. Boston: Beacon Press, 1962.

Klein, Herbert S. "Patterns of Settlement of the Afro-American Population in the New World.'' In Key Issues in the Afro-American Experience, edited by Nathan I. Huggins, Martin Kilson, and Daniel M. Fox. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1971.

Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., Letters of Henry Adams, 1858-1918 (2 vols., Boston, 1930-1938), II, 461, I, 195.

Ford, ed., Letters of Henry Adams, II, 249.

2. Journal Articles

Gottheil, Richard James Horatio. "Columbus in Jewish Literature.'' American Jewish Historical Quarterly (1894): 129-137.

Vignaud, Henry. "Columbus a Spaniard and a Jew.'' American Historical Review 18 (April 1913): 505-12.

For an article published in a journal, references should include the volume number (in arabic) and the complete date (month or season and year) of the journal.

3. Endnotes

The Magazine of History does not use footnotes; endnotes are used in their place exclusively. In general, and for all matters not covered by this Style Sheet, the Magazine follows section 15 of The Chicago Manual in regard to note style.

Avoid excessive endnotes. Generally, once the source of information is given, there is rarely any need for citation of other sources that treat the same subject. In particular, minimize "see also'' references and general bibliographical discussion. Usually if a work is cited, one should cite specific pages that are directly relevant to the text.

It is often preferable to combine several notes, especially repeated references to a single source. Even when two or more sources are cited in a paragraph, a single combined note is likely to be sufficient. Since each paragraph should ordinarily confine itself to the discussion of a single issue, the use of more than one note per paragraph is seldom necessary.

4. Notes in Text

1. Contributors should use the Author-Date System for in-text references. This form consists of the last name of an author and the year of publication of the work, with no punctuation between them, inside parenthesis and placed just before a mark of punctuation:

"When students are engaged successfully in thinking about material at hand, they will likely master both the material and the thinking process used in learning'' (Parker 1979).

2. A related method of text reference gives only a number in the text: (7) or [7]. The number refers not to a note but to a numbered list of works cited, at the end of the text, which is arranged either alphabetically by authors' names or in order of the first appearance of each source in the text.

3. Abbreviations are generally to be avoided (such as HSTL for the Harry S. Truman Library or DSB for the Department of State Bulletin).

4. The note should be complete in itself. Even if the author's name and/or the title appears in the text, a full, formal citation must appear in the notes.

5. In second references to books and articles, Magazine style uses author's last name, short title, and pages. The Magazine does not use "op. cit.,'' "loc. cit.,'' or "hereafter cited as.'' (For use of "ibid.,'' see discussion below.) Before assigning short titles, please consult rule 17.11 in The Chicago Manual of Style and note especially that the order of words in the title should not be changed (ignore rule 17.15).

6. Page numbers should be typed as 343-45, not as 343-345 or 343-5. The abbreviations"p.'' and "pp.'' are used only when necessary to separate page numbers from other numbers in the citation.

7. Magazine style does not encourage the use of "Passim'' or "ff'' ("and the following pages''). Specific pages should be cited whenever possible; otherwise the whole book should be cited.

8. When a note combines citations with discursive material, the citations should follow the discursion and not be inserted within it. Use "For a good discussion of the problem, see Cortland P. Auser, Nathaniel P. Willis (New York, 1969), 15.'' rather than "Cortland P. Auser, Nathaniel P. Willis (New York, 1969), 15, contains a good discussion of this problem.''

Please PROOFREAD all notes carefully for matters of style as well as substance. When numerous changes need to be made in punctuation, capitalization, or abbreviation, substantive errors are likely to creep into the printed copy and to go undetected when they occur.

Government Publications and Legal Citations

When in doubt try to treat published government documents as books:

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Yearbook of Agriculture, 1931 (Washington, 1931), 1.

Department of Agriculture, Yearbook of Agriculture 1931, 194.

Congressional Record, 82 cong., 2 sess., Nov. 19, 1949, p. 9509.

U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Relief for Drought Stricken Areas, 17 Cong., 3 sess., Dec. 5, 1930, pp. 45-52.

Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Relief for Drought Stricken Areas, 45.

U.S. Department of Interior, Census Office, Compendium of the Eleventh Census: 1890, pt. I: Population (Washington, 1892), 41-42.

Census Office, Compendium of the Eleventh Census, pt. I, 57.

(For census materials, try to cite the title of the individual volume. This is essentially the same format as is used for a separately titled volume of a multivolume work.)

Use Harvard Law Review Association, A Uniform System of Citation, fourteenth edition, 1986, as a guide for legal citations. (Note lack of italics in names of cases.)

Smith v. Jones, 13 Rich. 937, 1041 (1856).

Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252 (1941).

United States v. Dennis, 183 F.2d 201 (2d Cir. 1950).

Other Unpublished Materials

Manuscript citations should always include an identification of the document, the name of the collection containing the document, and the depository and city where the document is located. We also try whenever possible to cite boxes and/or files within the collection by name or number.

In ordering the citation, Magazine policy is to work from the specific toward the general. For example, we first identify the document (a letter) by names of correspondents and date; then we list the file containing the document, the collection, and the depository and its location. If the file were contained in a box we would have ". . . June 5, 1936, President's personal file 2467, box 5, Franklin D. Roosevelt papers. . . .'' If, on the contrary, the file contained a number of boxes, we might have ". . . June 5, 1936, box 5, President's personal file 2467, Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers. . . .''

Sample Formats:

James L. Fieser, "Drought Relief and Unemployment,'' typescript, Oct. 18, 1930, p. 49, drought file, Herbert Hoover Papers (Herbert Hoover Library, West Branch, Iowa).

Adams to Chalres Milnes Gaskell, London, 30 March 1868, Letters of Henry Adams (1858-1891), ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930), 141.

Fieser, "Drought Relief and Unemployment,'' 42-45.

(The standard form for unpublished papers. With slight adaptations the format can be used for speeches, titled memos, unpublished reports, and the like. If an unpublished paper must be cited as a secondary source, the citation should follow this format as closely as possible. If no other location is available, the author should cite "in [name of author]'s possession.'')

Oral History Citations

These are treated as parallel to letters in manuscript. One must always cite the interviewee, the interviewer, the date of the interview, and a location where the interview may be found.

John B. Howard interview by Charles T. Morrissey, Feb. 23, 1973, transcript, p. 42, Pennsylvania Oral History Project (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg).

Howard interview, 43.


If the microfilm collection is available commercially, treat it as a published work. Otherwise, cite it as one would a manuscript collection, substituting reel location (e.g., reel 7) for box or file location.

Have questions or need additional information? Please contact the Magazine's editorial office.