Department of History



When IMSA students encounter primary sources they will very likely be published, either in a book or on-line. The following citations show the two citations forms (footnote and bibliography) and also how to cite them in the body of a paper.

Using Primary Sources

If a quotation is more than four lines long then the quote should be offset as a block quote without use of quotation marks.


The political situation in the world, which of late has been growing progressively worse, is such as to cause grave concern and anxiety to all the peoples and nations who wish to live in peace and amity with their neighbors. Some fifteen years ago the hopes of mankind for a continuing era of international peace were raised to great heights when more than sixty nations solemnly pledged themselves not to resort to arms in furtherance of their national aims and policies. The high aspirations expressed in the Briand-Kellogg Peace Pact and the hopes for peace thus raised have of late given way to a haunting fear of calamity. The present reign of terror and international lawlessness began a few years ago. It began through unjustified interference in the internal affairs of other nations or the invasion of alien territory in violation of treaties; and has now reached a stage where the very foundations of civilization are seriously threatened. The landmarks and traditions which have marked the progress of civilization toward a condition of law, order and justice are being wiped away.64

When the text is used as part of a paragraph (is less than four lines long), then the quote is inserted like any other clause in a paragraph. The one rule that must be observed is that there is no use of a comma before a quote if it is preceded by the word that.


Parry notes that “many isolationists who had favored extending the Embargo to the Axis in June, 1937, were bitterly critical of the ‘Quarantine’ speech.”

Footnotes of Primary Sources

1. Time Magazine, “Babies, Bombs & Battleships,” May 10, 1939. Accessible at:,9171,757759,00.html (accessed June 1, 2008).

2. "Robert Beverley on Bacon's Rebellion, 1704," in Great Issues in American History: From Settlement to Revolution, 1584-1776, ed. Clarence L. Ver Steeg and Richard Hofstadter (New York: Vintage Books, 1969), 95.


Bibliography of Primary Sources

Ver Steeg, Clarence L. and Richard Hofstadter, eds. Great Issues in American History: From Settlement to Revolution, 1584-1776. New York: Vintage Books, 1969.