Another Museum Collections Citation of a PDF Inquiry

Dear Editor:

I have reviewed the examples of Citing Online Historical Resources, 2nd  ed (2017), as well as Evidence Explained, 3rd ed. Kindle for online collections. I also noted your recent concise explanation related to a museum collection.

In addition the Hagley Museum has expressed a preferred citation:

[Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company records (Accession 0500.I), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

My aim is to provide a reference note to document the use of an alias by one of my ancestors.

The full link to the PDF which I downloaded is

The PDF document’s name is islandora2426610.pdf, and I did not see a place where that needed to be referenced. 

The citation I created, based upon the information provided, is:

Day Book, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, 1800-1813 (Wilmington, Delaware: E.I. DuPont Nemours & Co., 1813) pages 54 and 107; PDF download at Manuscripts and Archives Dept, Hagley Museum and Library, ( : accessed 20 October 2020), p. 54 (image 82) and p. 107(image 157), name ”Jean Blanchet,” image 157 documents Jean Blanchet’s use of the alias, “John White.”  

Also, I noted that the Dupont name did not appear on the PDF which I downloaded.  The only reason, I kept it as it was part of the museum's title for the book.

I would appreciate any comments or suggestions for improvement.




Submitted byEEon Wed, 10/21/2020 - 14:36

Chris, pull your copy of EE’s and let’s start at the front. There, on grey pages tucked in at the flyleaf, you’ll find a QuickStart Guide with two pages:

  • The Basics: Publications: Print & Online
  • The Basics: Manuscripts & Online Images.

Each page has a basic model and shows how to adapt the citation for more-complicated material.

On the manuscripts page, the first thing you’ll see is a basic model for manuscripts. That follows the same format used in the Hagley Museum’s suggested citation. That’s the long-standard format (use by almost all American citation guides) for citing manuscripts.

Mid-page, you’ll see “Layered Citation: Archived Record Digitized Online.” There you have a bit of guidance and a model that corresponds exactly to what you are trying to cite:

When an original manuscript is digitized online, we again have two sources to cite in full—the original document and the website:

Layered Citation: Archived Record Digitized Online

          1. Robert Coalter affidavit, 1 January 1828, Thomas Dunn file, Revolutionary War Bounty Warrants, Executive Department, RG3, Library of Virginia, Richmond; digital images, The Library of Virginia (http://lva1.hosted.exlibris group .com/F?RN=260231634 : accessed 1 April 2015).

In the extract above, I’ve used different colors for the two layers. Note that

  • Layer 1 cites the original manuscript. The format is the basic model given at the top of the page for an archived manuscript. It’s not the format given on the prior page for a publication. Here, in layer 1, you can plug the data provided by the Hagley Museum.
  • Layer 2 cites the online website (which is a publication) using the standard format for standalone publications, print or online. This follows the same basic format you will have learned on the "Publications" page.

Creator [if needed], Website Title (place of publication = URL : date).

Now go back and look at your draft. You’ll note several points:

  • Details for the manuscript should be kept together in one layer; details for the website are kept in another. We don’t mix details from one into the other.
  • Your layer 1, the manuscript layer, should not have publication data in parentheses because you're citing a manuscript, not a standalone publication (book, website, etc.)
  • In layer 1, the title of the manuscript should not be italicized because the manuscript is not a standalone  publication.   Neither you nor your readers can go to a universal catalog for publications such as the Library of Congress or, type in the name of the manuscript, and find it there.  Catalogs for publications don't cover unpublished manuscripts held in archival collections.

Building on this, you’ll notice that the first two chapters of EE discuss in detail the “ground rules” that apply to all types of sources we use, analyze, and cite.

  • Chapter 1 discusses the principles of evidence analysis.
  • Chapter 2 discusses the principles of citation. 

These principles are fundamental to everything and should be learned before attempting to pick models from other chapters. The grounding in these two fundamentals chapters is what keeps us from going astray or getting confused when we get to the record-based chapters.

In Chapter 2, “Fundamentals of Citation,” you’ll find this:

EE2.22 “Citing Titles, Basic Rules”

Five basic rules govern our citation of titles, regardless of the type of record or publication we are using:


          For published standalone works, you copy the exact title and put it in italics.



          For an unpublished manuscript or typescript, you should copy the title exactly and put quotation marks around it.

Because you are citing images of an original manuscript—not a typeset and published version of it—you put the title in quotation marks, not italics. 

Following the principles above will give us this:

        1. “DayBook, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, 1800–1813,” pp. 54, 107, Hagley ID: 500_I_Volume_849_Day_Book_1800_1813, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company records (Accession 0500.1), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware; imaged, The Hagley Museum, Hagley Digital Archives ( : accessed 21 October 2020).


Submitted byGrandpa_Chrison Fri, 10/23/2020 - 00:35

Thank you for your clear explanation.

This helps me in many ways, as I now have some other unpublished manuscripts I need to edit.