Journal Article Citing a Letter

I have gotten myself wrapped around the axle, once again, and can't seem to "see the forest, for the trees."

I have in my hands an original Journal publication:

Woman's Evangle
January 1904
No. 1
Published Monthly by the Woman's Missionary Association of the United Brethren in Christ, Dayton, Ohio.

The article in consideration:

"Latest African News"

The article begins:

Mrs. Zella B. King writes, December 12, 1903, received January 11, 1904:
   "You probably received our cable yesterday and know of the very sad loss....


This 'article' is a reprint of a letter received from Sierra Leon, Africa, with details about the death and burial of my great aunt, Elsie Maud (Lambert) Riebel. There are a number of details in this 'article' that I would like to cite. My problem, and what has got me wrapped around the axle, is what am I really citing?

Is it the article in the Woman's Evangel?

Is it Zella King's letter, as published in the Woman's Evangel?

Is it the Woman's Evangel article, citing Zella King's letter?


The article does not have an author credited and one would likely conclude that the role was fulfilled by an editor.

Conventional wisdom leads me to follow the third item in such a manner:

Source Listing

"Latest African News." Woman's Evangel XXIII (January 1904): 4–6.

First Reference

"Latest African News," Woman's Evangel, XXIII (January 1904): p. 4, col. 2; citing Zella B. King, Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa, to The Woman's Missionary Association (WMA), letter, 12 December 1903, describing the events that led to the death and burial of Elsie Maud (Lambert) Reibel; privately held by the WMA, Dayton, Ohio.

Short Reference

"Latest African News," p. 4.


I can't seem to see where to latch on to this!


Paul Harris


Submitted byEEon Sun, 04/14/2019 - 09:51

Paul, at times like this, it's good to remember EE's "Handholding Principle"—i.e., What am I holding in my hand?  Are you holding the actual letter? No. You're holding the journal. Ergo, that’s what you cite. 

Your citation is well constructed. You have three layers:

  1. the journal
  2. the source-of-the-source info that the journal article cites
  3.  the location of the journal in a private archives, which needs to be identified because it would not be easy to find elsewhere.

I also have to add: How wonderful it is to see someone citing a journal from an archives in this era when so many researchers limit themselves to what’s online!

Submitted byPaul J Harrison Sun, 04/14/2019 - 14:40
That is only because I have be fortunate enough to have gathered an immense amount of original material from people who have no idea of what to do with it. I have that idea, now to find the time...