BEH Style Guide

    Grammar and Rhetoric
    Citations Mechanics

In general, when manuscripts are prepared using electronic word processing, the less formatting the better. Authors should use the same standard font throughout, set at 12-point size. Margins should be aligned to the left, not justified right, and automatic hyphenation should be turned off. Margins should be generous, at least 1.25 inches on each side.

Spell checking is of course encouraged, but authors must take care not to correct quotations, and they should bear in mind that spell checking will not catch errors in numbers, many proper nouns, foreign words, or correctly spelled incorrect word choices; manuscripts should be carefully proofread before submission.

Authors should include all accents for foreign words, including macrons, proofreading carefully.

Manuscripts should be paginated in the upper right-hand corner. No additional information should be included in a header or footer.

Equations may be placed in the text or notes as they are meant to appear. Except in the case of the most simple equations, authors should supply an enlarged copy, with the various elements marked and explained by name, including Greek characters, mathematical symbols, and placement of super- and subscripts.

Grammar and Rhetoric

BEH On-Line supports fair and accurate use of language, and the editor encourages authors to adopt a writing style sensitive to gender and other issues beyond the personal pronoun. Careful writing can limit the need for "he or she" and "his or her." In dealing with groups of people who are known to have been of the same gender (for example, members of the U.S. Congress in the nineteenth century, or a specific board of directors whose composition is known), the applicable pronoun may of course be used. A number of writers' guides are now available on the subject of non-prejudicial use of language.

No contractions, except those that appear in quotations, should be used. Manuscripts generally should be written in the third person, but authors may use "I," "we," and "my" when making an explicit argument. It is also acceptable to write "See also my forthcoming book,...".

Authors are asked to limit acknowledgments to colleagues who have offered comments, university and foundation supporters, and previous venues for presentation of the research. Articles should not carry dedications. Acknowledgments should be included before the first note as an unnumbered statement and written in the first person.

Any introductory or framing part of the manuscript should not be set off and labeled "Introduction." Subsequent sections of the manuscript may be identified with subheads if the author wishes. Such headings should not be numbered. The first paragraph after a subhead is not indented. Authors should avoid references to sections, and should not use the phrases "as described above [below]." In an article of journal length, references to "earlier" or "later" parts of the manuscript are usually unnecessary altogether.

Names of organizations abbreviated in the text should be spelled out at first mention (including those the author believes "everyone" knows), the acronym placed in parentheses. Similarly, people mentioned should be given their full names as commonly known (R. R. Palmer, William Shakespeare, Aristotle) at first mention. The journal is intended to attract a readership among scholars worldwide, and material that seems known to "everyone" in an author's context may be unfamiliar in other parts of the world.

Authors should avoid presentist phrases such as "this century," "this decade." They will not have the correct meaning to future readers.

When referring to members of Congress authors should give their state and party at first mention, as "Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) was very supportive of the plan."

Abbreviations are generally used in notes but not in the text. State abbreviations are given in their literary form, not Post Office style except in addresses and in designating political party affiliation: Conn., not CT, Mass., not MA; but Senator Leahy (D-VT). Even in notes, states of under five letters are seldom abbreviated: Ohio, Utah, Texas, Idaho.


January 10, 1988, or January 1988 in the text; 10 Jan. 1988 in notes (March, April, May, June, and July are not abbreviated). Because of the danger of confusion, we do not use the MM/DD/YY format.


Ranges of dates, in the text:1900-1905




 1910/11 (for fiscal year, for example)

In notes:1900-1905





If one uses prepositions, the usage must be consistent: "from 1900 to 1905," "between 1860 and 1865," never "from 1900-1905" or "between 1860-1865."

Decades: 1950s; not 1950's, '50's, or fifties

Names of centuries are always spelled out: nineteenth century (n.), twentieth-century materials (adj.); late eighteenth-century paintings; paintings of the late eighteenth century

Volume numbers: for both books and journals, we use arabic rather than roman numerals, 27 not XXVII.

Roman numerals may occasionally be used, as for the world wars:

World War I
the Second World War
the two world wars

but not World War One

In text, a single number one hundred or below is spelled out, as are round numbers (five hundred, one thousand, etc.). In series, numbers of any kind are given numerically: "The units for the four quarters were 9, 68, 145, and 500." Numbers instead of words are also used when accompanied by units of measurement: 20 years old; 5 miles, 5 inches, $6.00, 2 percent, 4£—unless the number is one: "He had traveled only one mile before deciding to rest."

The word "percent" is preferred to %, except in tables and notes. A series of percentages in text should be given as "2, 13, 45, and 134 percent."

Possessives of singular nouns are formed by adding apostrophe plus s; the possessive of plural nouns ending in s is formed by adding an apostrophe only. With some exceptions for euphony (Xerxes', not Xerxes's, for example), possessives of proper names follow the same rules: John's book; Jones's testimony; the Joneses' children; Harris's license.

In matters of capitalization, we generally follow the 15th edition of the Chicago Manual, favoring limited capitalization. President, comptroller, treasurer, etc., are lower-cased except when used as a title (or, of course, when they appear as the first word in a sentence): President Wilson; "The president was uncertain of the next move." The indefinite form of capitalized entities is lower-cased: the House Foreign Affairs Committee; the committee.

We use the serial comma: tea, coffee, and sugar

We use the American style of quotation marks: double marks, single marks for quotations within quotations. Words called out for comment are enclosed in single quotation marks.


The word 'play' was not in his vocabulary.

But short phrases that are in fact quotations take double quotes:



His construction of "high crimes and misdemeanors" was quite broad.

The placing of quotation marks is dependent on the meaning of the sentence, but usually terminal quotation marks follow end punctuation and concluding commas and precede colons and semicolons. Note numbers following a quotation are always outside the quotation mark.

Note that it is incorrect to use both so-called and quotation marks. One writes


his so-called life, not his so-called "life."

Spelling will be Americanized in published articles, except of course in quotations, but this process will be handled in editing of accepted manuscripts; non-US scholars are not required to convert their spelling when submitting a manuscript.



Notes should be printed at the end of the manuscript rather than at the bottom of the page and numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals. Both in the text and in the notes themselves, the number should be given as a superscript. In the notes, the text should follow immediately, with no punctuation or space following the number. (Many word-processing programs automatically print the note number in a smaller font size, based on the text font size; this is acceptable, but notes themselves should be printed in the same font size as the text.)

We do not use op. cit., loc. cit., or idem; ibid. (not italicized) may be used, but not when the meaning is obscured by multiple citations in the previous note. Passim (not italicized) can also be used, though sparingly, and never to indicate that an entire book or article is meant. Avoid including cross-references to other notes, and never refer by number to other pages in the manuscript, since pagination will change in the printed version.

Citations for a paragraph may be collected and combined in a single note, if the various attributions will be clear. Note numbers should appear at the end of sentences, not in the middle of them. No note numbers may be attached to the title, the abstract paragraph, or section headings; if material needing citation is contained in these elements, the note number should be placed after the first following sentence. Textual notes should be avoided, but when used they should be numbered in sequence with other citations; we do not use asterisks or other signs to indicate "special" notes.

In rare cases, when an author is using numerous quotations or examples from a single work, the citation may be given once and then page numbers provided in the text in parentheses, for that work only. Authors should be aware that extensive quotation from material under copyright may require permission.

Notes to tables or figures should be consecutive for the individual table, using lower-case letters of the alphabet, and not included in the run of notes for the text of the manuscript. Full citations should be used for each item's first occurrence in the source lines of each table, even if the material has already been given in full in the regular notes. While there is no specified style for tables, authors should envision the printed page when constructing them.

BEH On-Line generally follows the footnote style given in the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. Individual examples follow.

Single-author book:

Albert Churella, From Steam to Diesel: Managerial Customs and Organizational Capabilities in the Twentieth-Century American Locomotive Industry (Princeton, N.J., 1998), 231.

Subsequent references: Churella, From Steam to Diesel, 197.


The letters 'p.' and 'pp.' are added to avoid confusion only when the page numbers are preceded by other numbers, such as dates.

We do not include the name of the publisher for book citations. Large cities in any country may generally stand alone, but less well-known places may require the addition of a state or country: Chicago, Boston, London, New York, Berlin, and Tokyo, for example, stand alone; Ithaca, Princeton, and Norman require inclusion of the state.

Shortened forms may be used after the first full citation, but these should always include a short title (in the case of books and journal articles); it is never sufficient to use only author and page number. The shortened form should make sense, and should be sufficient to identify the work intended.

Reprinted, revised editions:


William R. Hutchison, The Modernist Impulse in American Protestantism (1976; Durham, N.C., 1992).

G. W. A. Dummer, Electronic Inventions and Discoveries, 2d ed. rev. (1945; Oxford, 1978), 134.


Such citations should include the year of original publication; unless there is some significance to the information, the original place and publisher need not be included.

Multi-author work:


Gary Smith and Ellen Birkett, Taking a Chance on E-Commerce (Cambridge, Mass., 1998), 200-203.


Use et al. after the first author (no preceding comma, no italics) for materials with more than three authors:


W. H. Conser et al., eds., Resistance, Politics, and the American Struggle for Independence, 1765-1775 (Denver, Colo., 1986).


Edited work:


James Smith, ed., Companies in Perspective (New York, 1996), iv.


Essay in edited work:


Bonnie Rice, "How Compaq Did It," in Companies in Perspective, ed. James Smith (New York, 1996), 12-45, quotation at p. 16.


Note that "ed." stands for "edited by" and so never requires an "s." But if the edited work itself is cited and there are two or more editors:


James Smith and Bonnie Rice, eds., Computer Companies Overseas: A New Look (New York, 1997).


Book in series:
Except in cases of well-known series, we generally do not include series titles or series editors. In some cases, however, such as the NBER series at the University of Chicago Press, the information can be useful and should be provided when known. When the information is provided, the citation is given as:


Thomas J. Brown, Dorothea Dix, New England Reformer, Harvard Historical Studies no. 127 (Cambridge, Mass., 1998).


Multivolume books:


Kate Warren, The History of Foreign Direct Investment in America, 2 vols. (New York, 1985), 2: 135-46.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Historic Notes of Life and Letters in New England," in Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Edward W. Emerson, 12 vols. (Boston, 1903-4), 10: 326-29.


If there are different titles for each volume:


Wayne Smith, Westinghouse: A Company History, vol. 3: The Lean Years, 1930-1939 (Chicago, 1967), 76-77.


Very Long Titles in Older Works:

Some older titles are extremely descriptive. These may be abbreviated:


Robert Beverley, The History and Present State of Virginia . . . by a Native in Place (London, 1705).


Reference Works:

Full publication information is not necessary for encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.


American Heritage Dictionary, s.v. "acculturate."

Columbia Encyclopedia, 4th ed., s.v. "Cold War."

Dictionary of American Biography, s.v. "Emerson, Ralph Waldo."


The "s.v." stands for sub verbo, "under the word."

Published document:


George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, Mt. Vernon, 16 Dec. 1773, in The Papers of George Washington, ed. Worthington Ford (Boston, 1994), 6: 224-25.


Unpublished Documents:


George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 16 Dec. 1773, box 3, folder 7, Jefferson Papers, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.


The repository of the papers need be listed only in the first reference unless the same person's papers in different locations are used. In subsequent citations of individual documents, the citation may be shortened, as:


Washington to Jefferson, 16 Dec. 1773.


The form of the reference for all unpublished documents is of course dependent on the cataloguing system of the repository; the author should provide enough information for another scholar to locate the document as easily as possible. Many variations are possible:


Hodgson to Halifax, 22 Feb. 1752, Public Record Office (PRO), Colonial Office Papers (CO) 137: 48.

George Bowles to Secretary Kissinger, 15 Feb. 1972, Department of State General Records, Record Group (RG) 59, 812.6363/1438, National Archives (NA), Suitland, Md.

Short form: Bowles to Kissinger, 15 Feb. 1972.

In the case of private papers used extensively in an article, an extremely brief description of the extent and locations of papers is welcome at first mention. For example: "The Henry Chase Papers are deposited at the Hagley Museum and Library; they cover 10 linear feet, and include private letters, ledgers, and day books for the period 1875-1990; papers after 1980 are closed to scholars."

Government Documents:

Macomb to Calhoun, 2 Nov. 1818, Report of the Secretary of War Relative to Roads and Canals (7 Jan. 1819), 15th Cong., 2d sess., H. Doc. 87, p. 13.


Legal Citations:


Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252 (1941).
United States v. Dennis, 183 F.2d 201 (2d Cir. 1950).


In the text, case names are italicized, as "Justice Warren's opinion in Bridges v. California can be compared to...," and they may be shortened after the first mention: "Bridges opened the door to myriad possibilities for handgun users."

Foreign-language titles:

Citations in Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or other languages likely to be inaccessible to a wide range of readers should be translated. Translated material is placed in brackets, and is not italicized or placed within quotation marks.


"Yazhou heqin hui yuezhang" [The Constitution of the Asian Solidarity Society], in Zhang Taiyan xuan ji [Selected Works of Zhang Taiyan], ed. Zhu Weijing and Qi Yihua (Shanghai, 1981), 429.


Outside the United States, capitalization conventions are varied; authors should generally give capitalization and punctuation as they appear in the source original.


Charles Dresset, L'histoire de l'église Normande (Paris, 1945).




"Hewlett Packard Moves Ahead," Wall Street Journal, 12 Dec. 1997, D-25.

"Justice Department Targets Microsoft," New York Times, 6 May 1998, p. 4.


Generally, "The" is omitted from newspaper names. Reporters' names need not be included but can be given if known. Page and section identification should be added whenever possible. When the newspaper's location is not in the name or clear from the context, the city of publication should be included, as:


"Business Trends Unclear," Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 12 Feb. 1997, D-25.


If a newspaper or magazine is no longer published or available only in a particular location, the repository information should also be provided.

Non-Scholarly Magazine:


"Hewlett Packard Moves Ahead," Newsweek (12 April 1997), 27-28.


Volume numbers are unnecessary; an author may be included if known. 'P.' and 'pp.' are omitted because the parentheses sufficiently separate the numbers in the date.

Journal article:


Carroll Pursell, "The Cover Design: Women Inventors in America," Technology and Culture 22 (July 1981): 545-50.

Short form: Pursell, "The Cover Design," 547.


When an article title ends with a question mark or exclamation point, no comma follows.


Carole Shammas, "How Self-Sufficient Was Early America?" Journal of Interdisciplinary History 13 (Fall 1982): 247-72.


We generally do not abbreviate journal titles, but in the case of frequent citations from a single source with a long name, such as Proceedings of the American Chemical Society, an abbreviation may be used after the first mention.

Dissertation or MA Thesis:


John Smith, "The Dow Chemical Company and Agent Orange, 1970-1987" (Ph.D. diss., Syracuse University, 1995), 56-59.

Susan Brown, "US Steel and African American Unemployment in Homestead, Pennsylvania, 1956-1975" (MA Thesis, University of Pittsburgh, 1996).


Unpublished Conference or Working Papers:


Rebecca Rosenthal, "United Fruit and the Coming of the Unions in California, 1890-1910," paper presented to the American Historical Association meeting, New York, Jan. 1996, 45-46.

Amanda Robinson, "Looking at the Short-Range Effects of the Social Security Act," University of the South, Economic History Working Paper no. 456 (March 1965), 67.


Oral Histories:


Conrad Lynn interview, 12 Dec. 1975, transcript, pp. 4-5, Ralph Bunche Oral History Collection, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University, Washington, D.C.


Personal interviews, personal communications:


Mrs. Howard Hughes, Berkeley, Calif., interview with author, 12 Nov. 1976.


Privately Held Papers:


"History of Our Family Reunion" [1975], Williams Family Papers, in the possession of Mabel Williams, Baldwin, Mich.


In any part of a citation, information that is known by the author but is not present in the original may be included in brackets, as is the date in this citation.

Book Review:


J. R. Wordie, "Review of Joan Thirsk, Alternative Agriculture: A History from the Black Death to the Present Day," Economic History Review 51 (Nov. 1998): 826-27.


Online and Digital Sources:

For most online sources the key component will be the URL (Universal Resource Locator). If material exists on more than one Web site, the citation should be to the most stable site, usually the archival location, with as much information about the provenance as possible. The object, as always, is to make the material accessible to other researchers, so the most specific URL available should be used (that is, not just to the home page of an archive, but to the location of the specific item). In addition, because material on the Internet can be updated and changed so easily, the date on which one found the material can be important. The last part of any Internet citation (but not CD-ROM citation) should be the date on which the location was visited to secure the cited information, but it is better to omit the information than to guess at the date. In other respects, citations to online or CD-ROM sources are much like those of their print counterparts: journal articles, essays, book chapters, letters, and personal communications.

Material from any Web site, whether a listserv or newsgroup archive, an online journal, or a book, should contain similar information, as in the following examples:


[Author's name}, [title], [date], [source]; [date viewed]. [URL]:

Jerry Muller, "Re: Theorizing Merchants under Imperialism," 27 Oct. 1997, H-Business; viewed 10 Jan. 1998. URL:


In cases of individual messages, it is not necessary to add the e-mail address of the sender—first, because such addresses have extremely short life spans, and second, because the address will be available on the cited Web page.

Personal e-mail communications can be handled just as personal communications in letters or by telephone have been handled. It is not necessary to provide the e-mail address of the sender (the telephone number of the caller was not provided in traditional citations), and the author should obtain permission to use the comments in print.


David Brody, personal communication to author, via e-mail, 12 Sept. 1997.

H-Net (or other online) Review: Matthew W. Roth, "Review of Philip Scranton, Endless Novelty: Specialty Production and American Industrialization, 1865-1925," H-Business, H-Net Reviews, Feb. 1998; viewed 12 March 1998. URL:

David Eltis et al., eds., The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), "Introduction," 1; viewed 5 Jan. 1999. URL:


Avoid splitting e-mail addresses and URLs between lines whenever possible, but when such addresses spill over more than one line, no hyphen should be inserted.



David Eltis et al., eds., The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (New York, 1999), "Introduction," 1.

There is no need to give the date viewed for a CD-ROM. If the material is unpaginated, or otherwise hard to describe, it may be necessary to give the "path"—the series of links that led the author to the portion cited. This can also be done for a Web citation when necessary (there are some sites whose subsidiary pages can be entered only from a previous page or set of pages).