The Chicago Manual of Style is the style most commonly used by professional historians when they write and publish their work. Currently, the NHD Contest Rule Book allow citations in Chicago or MLA Style, but this resource focuses on Chicago Style.
As you complete your research, you should sort your research into primary and secondary sources. For complete definitions of primary and secondary sources, as well a complete set of the Contest Rules, go to www.nhd.org/rules.
Building Your Annotated Bibliography
You should build your bibliography as you conduct your research. Simply put, if you wait until the end of your project, this task will be messy, confusing, and complicated. It is easy to forget sources, mix up one source with another, and make simple mistakes. Let us start by citing a simple source together.
When you start citing, you have two options available. Option one is to create a bibliography on your own. Option two is to use NoodleTools, a web-based program that will help you create a polished, accurate annotated bibliography and also keep track in note cards of the quotes and paraphrases and where you found them in your sources. Since it is saved on a server, you do not have to worry about a water bottle exploding in your backpack and your notes getting soaked—the materials are always there when you log into the computer or via your tablet.
Let’s say that I am researching the Panama Canal, and I found Edmund Morris’ book about President Theodore Roosevelt called Theodore Rex. While I will skim the book to get a sense of the author's purpose and argument, I want to use the Table of Contents or Index to focus in on the section that relates to my research. Using the index, I can jump to the section of the book where President Roosevelt is approached by Philippe Bunau-Varilla about a plan to get control of the canal that a French company began digging.
To cite a book, I need five key elements:
- The name(s) of the author(s)
- The complete title of the book
- The city where it was published
- The name of the company or university that published the book
- The most recent copyright date of the book.
If I am doing this on my own, I would list it like this:
Morris, Edmund. Theodore Rex. New York: Random House, 2001.
Citing Sources in NHD Historical Papers
When writing an NHD paper, you have two options on how to cite your sources. This section will address creating footnotes. Please note that it is also appropriate to use the parenthetical references described in the website section as well. Either is appropriate, but choose one way and be consistent with that method.
Most historians use footnotes when they write a paper, article, or book. Footnotes allow you to keep track of your sources without interrupting the flow of the paper. If my paper about Theodore Roosevelt and his foreign policy regarding Germany contains the text:
Roosevelt “has seen the crisis coming for eleven months.” He feared that Germany might invade Venezuela if they did not pay off their debts.
Tip: Allow your word processor to insert the footnote for you. It will do it automatically, and if you insert one into the middle of the paper, it will automatically renumber it for you. You can find the “insert footnote” button in the reference section of the menu. If you need step-by-step directions, just go to the help menu and type in “insert footnotes.”
The FIRST time that I use this source (in this case it is a book) in a footnote, my full footnote would look like this (see footnote number one below). The footnote tells us the author, the title of the book, the basic publishing information, as well as the page (or range of pages) where my quote can be found. It is similar to your citation in your bibliography, but not exactly the same.
If you use this source again later in your paper, it is much easier. Assume that later in my paper I write the sentence:
Roosevelt knew that he had to take a strong stand and argued for “crude force” to keep the Germans out of Latin America.
As you can see in footnote 2 below, I just need to include a shortened footnote with the author’s last name, the title of the book, and the page number or page range where I found my information.
See the next page for examples of how to footnote the most common types of sources that you will use in your NHD paper. NoodleTools will provide you with a full and shortened footnote for each source.
 Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex (New York: Modern Library, 2001), 177.
 Morris, Theodore Rex, 178.
But what if I put it in my own words…do I have to cite it then? YES.
Paraphrasing is when you use your own words to convey someone else’s ideas.
Let’s use the Lusitania article as an example. It is perfectly appropriate to write in your paper that:
The Lusitania was hit by a German submarine at 2:33 pm, and the news of the sinking was published around the world. A fishing fleet was called to help rescue as many passengers as possible in the North Atlantic.
If you have a quote that is more than two lines across the page, then it should be converted to a block quote. Please note that this kind of quote should be used very infrequently, but it can be effective. A block quote should look like this:
The Constitution of the United States defined the weakness of the Articles of Confederation in the one-sentence preamble,
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
This sentence, memorized by many…
Block quotes are single-spaced, tabbed on one half inch from the left side of the page, and do not need quotation marks around them. They should always have a footnote at the end attributing the source. After the quote, continue typing using double-spacing.
Do I have to cite every sentence of my paper?
No, please don’t. Often you find that a series of sentences (or even an entire paragraph) is based on content from a single source. When that happens, signal to your reader that the following information came from a certain source and then cite it once at the end of the last sentence. Also note that your thesis statement and your arguments should be your original work, and should not be credited to another author.
What if all of the information, quotes and paraphrases, in one paragraph, comes from one source? How do I cite that?
Just cite once, at the end of the paragraph.
 “Liner Lusitania Sunk by German Submarine Fleet Rushes to Aid,” Washington Times, May 7, 1915.
 Constitution of the United States of America.
Citing Sources in Exhibits and Websites
When you cite in exhibits or websites, you do need to credit your sources, and brief citations do NOT count toward your word count. You just add the minimal amount of information that would allow the viewer to find the source in your annotated bibliography.
Print sources should be cited with the author, the title, and a date (when available.) An example would be:
“There is danger…they have still far to go. It is for the Woman’s Party to decide whether there is any way in which it can serve in the struggle which lies ahead to remove the remaining forms of woman’s subordination” (Alice Paul, The Suffragist, 1921)
If I chose to use this quote, then I would expect to find a citation that would show where this text came from (I might have found it in a book, on a website, or in an article) and where I might go if I wanted the full text of what Alice Paul had to say in 1921.
Visual Sources (photographs, art, maps, charts, graphs, etc.) are cited in a similar manner. You want to mention the content (who/what is in the picture), give a date if available, and where YOU found the image. Please note that Google and other search engines are NOT viable sources. Saying that you got your picture from Google is like saying that you got your quote from a library. Just like you need to tell us which book your quote came from in the library, you also need to tell us which website made this image available to you.
Citing Sources in Performances
When you are creating a performance or a documentary, you do not need to actively cite sources during your presentation, because it would disrupt the flow of your product.
There are times when you would want to make a reference to a source, especially when you are referencing primary source material. It would be relevant to mention in a performance, “I wrote a letter to King George demanding that my grievances be addressed….” A judge would then expect to find a letter or a series of letters that you found in your research and cited in your bibliography. There is no need to stop to verbally cite sources—if the judges have any questions, they can address that in the Q&A segment at the end of your performance.
Citing Sources in Documentaries
You are NOT required to cite images as they appear on the screen. You may add tags to the bottom of the screen to help an image or video clip make sense. For example, you might want to add a name of a speaker, or a relevant historical date during a particular video clip or still image.
At the end of the documentary, you should include a list of relevant audio and visual sources that you included in your documentary. This is not a repeat of your bibliography. Just name the major locations of your images. A typical list might include images from the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, NBC News, or the Holocaust Museum. Again, if the judges have a question about a particular visual or audio selection, they can address that in the Q&A segment at the end of your documentary.
*This citation is REQUIRED and does NOT count toward the word limit.
*This citation DOES count toward the word limit because it shows analysis and interpretation.
For other uses, see Biography (disambiguation).
For the Wikipedia policy on biographies of living persons, see Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons.
A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae (résumé), a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of the subject's personality.
Biographical works are usually non-fiction, but fiction can also be used to portray a person's life. One in-depth form of biographical coverage is called legacy writing. Works in diverse media, from literature to film, form the genre known as biography.
An authorized biography is written with the permission, cooperation, and at times, participation of a subject or a subject's heirs. An autobiography is written by the person himself or herself, sometimes with the assistance of a collaborator or ghostwriter.
At first, biographical writings were regarded merely as a subsection of history with a focus on a particular individual of historical importance. The independent genre of biography as distinct from general history writing, began to emerge in the 18th century and reached its contemporary form at the turn of the 20th century.
One of the earliest biographers was Cornelius Nepos, who published his work Excellentium Imperatorum Vitae ("Lives of outstanding generals") in 44 BC. Longer and more extensive biographies were written in Greek by Plutarch, in his Parallel Lives, published about 80 A.D. In this work famous Greeks are paired with famous Romans, for example the orators Demosthenes and Cicero, or the generals Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar; some fifty biographies from the work survive. Another well-known collection of ancient biographies is De vita Caesarum ("On the Lives of the Caesars") by Suetonius, written about AD 121 in the time of the emperor Hadrian.
In the early Middle Ages (AD 400 to 1450), there was a decline in awareness of the classical culture in Europe. During this time, the only repositories of knowledge and records of the early history in Europe were those of the Roman Catholic Church. Hermits, monks, and priests used this historic period to write biographies. Their subjects were usually restricted to the church fathers, martyrs, popes, and saints. Their works were meant to be inspirational to the people and vehicles for conversion to Christianity (see Hagiography). One significant secular example of a biography from this period is the life of Charlemagne by his courtier Einhard.
In Medieval Islamic Civilization (c. AD 750 to 1258), similar traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad and other important figures in the early history of Islam began to be written, beginning the Prophetic biography tradition. Early biographical dictionaries were published as compendia of famous Islamic personalities from the 9th century onwards. They contained more social data for a large segment of the population than other works of that period. The earliest biographical dictionaries initially focused on the lives of the prophets of Islam and their companions, with one of these early examples being The Book of The Major Classes by Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi. And then began the documentation of the lives of many other historical figures (from rulers to scholars) who lived in the medieval Islamic world.
By the late Middle Ages, biographies became less church-oriented in Europe as biographies of kings, knights, and tyrants began to appear. The most famous of such biographies was Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. The book was an account of the life of the fabled King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Following Malory, the new emphasis on humanism during the Renaissance promoted a focus on secular subjects, such as artists and poets, and encouraged writing in the vernacular.
Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists (1550) was the landmark biography focusing on secular lives. Vasari made celebrities of his subjects, as the Lives became an early "bestseller". Two other developments are noteworthy: the development of the printing press in the 15th century and the gradual increase in literacy.
Biographies in the English language began appearing during the reign of Henry VIII. John Foxe's Actes and Monuments (1563), better known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs, was essentially the first dictionary of the biography in Europe, followed by Thomas Fuller's The History of the Worthies of England (1662), with a distinct focus on public life.
Influential in shaping popular conceptions of pirates, A General History of the Pyrates (1724), by Charles Johnson, is the prime source for the biographies of many well-known pirates.
The American biography followed the English model, incorporating Thomas Carlyle's view that biography was a part of history. Carlyle asserted that the lives of great human beings were essential to understanding society and its institutions. While the historical impulse would remain a strong element in early American biography, American writers carved out a distinct approach. What emerged was a rather didactic form of biography, which sought to shape the individual character of a reader in the process of defining national character.
Emergence of the genre
The first modern biography, and a work which exerted considerable influence on the evolution of the genre, was James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson, a biography of lexicographer and man-of-letters Samuel Johnson published in 1791. While Boswell's personal acquaintance with his subject only began in 1763, when Johnson was 54 years old, Boswell covered the entirety of Johnson's life by means of additional research. Itself an important stage in the development of the modern genre of biography, it has been claimed to be the greatest biography written in the English language. Boswell's work was unique in its level of research, which involved archival study, eye-witness accounts and interviews, its robust and attractive narrative, and its honest depiction of all aspects of Johnson's life and character - a formula which serves as the basis of biographical literature to this day.
Biographical writing generally stagnated during the 19th century - in many cases there was a reversal to the more familiar hagiographical method of eulogizing the dead, similar to the biographies of saints produced in Medieval times. A distinction between mass biography and literary biography began to form by the middle of the century, reflecting a breach between high culture and middle-class culture. However, the number of biographies in print experienced a rapid growth, thanks to an expanding reading public. This revolution in publishing made books available to a larger audience of readers. In addition, affordable paperback editions of popular biographies were published for the first time. Periodicals began publishing a sequence of biographical sketches.
Autobiographies became more popular, as with the rise of education and cheap printing, modern concepts of fame and celebrity began to develop. Autobiographies were written by authors, such as Charles Dickens (who incorporated autobiographical elements in his novels) and Anthony Trollope, (his Autobiography appeared posthumously, quickly becoming a bestseller in London), philosophers, such as John Stuart Mill, churchmen – John Henry Newman – and entertainers – P. T. Barnum.
The sciences of psychology and sociology were ascendant at the turn of the 20th century and would heavily influence the new century’s biographies. The demise of the "great man" theory of history was indicative of the emerging mindset. Human behavior would be explained through Darwinian theories. "Sociological" biographies conceived of their subjects' actions as the result of the environment, and tended to downplay individuality. The development of psychoanalysis led to a more penetrating and comprehensive understanding of the biographical subject, and induced biographers to give more emphasis to childhood and adolescence. Clearly these psychological ideas were changing the way biographies were written, as a culture of autobiography developed, in which the telling of one's own story became a form of therapy. The conventional concept of heroes and narratives of success disappeared in the obsession with psychological explorations of personality.
British critic Lytton Strachey revolutionized the art of biographical writing with his 1918 work Eminent Victorians, consisting of biographies of four leading figures from the Victorian era: Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Arnold, and General Gordon. Strachey set out to breathe life into the Victorian era for future generations to read. Up until this point, as Strachey remarked in the preface, Victorian biographies had been "as familiar as the cortège of the undertaker", and wore the same air of "slow, funereal barbarism." Strachey defied the tradition of "two fat volumes....of undigested masses of material" and took aim at the four iconic figures. His narrative demolished the myths that had built up around these cherished national heroes, whom he regarded as no better than a "set of mouth bungled hypocrites". The book achieved worldwide fame due to its irreverent and witty style, its concise and factually accurate nature, and its artistic prose.
In the 1920s and '30s, biographical writers sought to capitalize on Strachey's popularity by imitating his style. This new school featured iconoclasts, scientific analysts, and fictional biographers and included Gamaliel Bradford, André Maurois, and Emil Ludwig, among others. Robert Graves (I, Claudius, 1934) stood out among those following Strachey's model of "debunking biographies." The trend in literary biography was accompanied in popular biography by a sort of "celebrity voyeurism", in the early decades of the century. This latter form's appeal to readers was based on curiosity more than morality or patriotism. By World War I, cheap hard-cover reprints had become popular. The decades of the 1920s witnessed a biographical "boom."
The feminist scholar Carolyn Heilbrun observed that women's biographies and autobiographies began to change character during the second wave of feminist activism. She cited Nancy Milford's 1970 biography Zelda, as the "beginning of a new period of women's biography, because "[only] in 1970 were we ready to read not that Zelda had destroyed Fitzgerald, but Fitzgerald her: he had usurped her narrative." Heilbrun named 1973 as the turning point in women's autobiography, with the publication of May Sarton'sJournal of a Solitude, for that was the first instance where a woman told her life story, not as finding "beauty even in pain" and transforming "rage into spiritual acceptance," but acknowledging what had previously been forbidden to women: their pain, their rage, and their "open admission of the desire for power and control over one's life."
In recent years, multimedia biography has become more popular than traditional literary forms. Along with documentary biographical films, Hollywood produced numerous commercial films based on the lives of famous people. The popularity of these forms of biography have led to the proliferation of TV channels dedicated to biography, including A&E, The Biography Channel, and The History Channel.
CD-ROM and online biographies have also appeared. Unlike books and films, they often do not tell a chronological narrative: instead they are archives of many discrete media elements related to an individual person, including video clips, photographs, and text articles. Biography-Portraits were created in 2001, by the German artist Ralph Ueltzhoeffer. Media scholar Lev Manovich says that such archives exemplify the database form, allowing users to navigate the materials in many ways. General "life writing" techniques are a subject of scholarly study.
In recent years, debates have arisen as to whether all biographies are fiction, especially when authors are writing about figures from the past. President of Wolfson College at Oxford University, Hermione Lee argues that all history is seen through a perspective that is the product of our contemporary society and as a result biographical truths are constantly shifting. So the history biographers write about will not be the way that it happened; it will be the way they remembered it. Debates have also arisen concerning the importance of space in life-writing.
Daniel R. Meister in 2017 argues that:
- Biography Studies is emerging as an independent discipline, especially in the Netherlands. This Dutch School of biography is moving biography studies away from the less scholarly life writing tradition and towards history by encouraging its practitioners to utilize an approach adapted from microhistory.
Biographical research is defined by Miller as a research method that collects and analyses a person's whole life, or portion of a life, through the in-depth and unstructured interview, or sometimes reinforced by semi-structured interview or personal documents. It is a way of viewing social life in procedural terms, rather than static terms. The information can come from "oral history, personal narrative, biography and autobiography” or "diaries, letters, memoranda and other materials". The central aim of biographical research is producing rich descriptions of persons or "conceptualise structural types of actions" which means to "understand the action logics or how persons and structures are interlinked". And this method can be used to understand an individual’s life within its social context or understand the cultural phenomena.
Several countries offer an annual prize for writing a biography such as the:
- ^A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the most Notorious Pirates, by Charles Johnson. Introduction and commentary by David Cordingly. Conway Maritime Press (2002).
- ^Butler, Paul (19 April 2012). "James Boswell's 'Life of Johnson': The First Modern Biography". University of Mary Washington Libraries. Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- ^Brocklehurst, Steven (16 May 2013). "James Boswell: The Man who Re-Invented Biography". BBC News. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- ^"Literary Gossip". The Week. Toronto. 1 (1): 13. 6 December 1883. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- ^Levy, Paul (20 July 2002). "A String Quartet in Four Movements". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- ^Jones, Malcolm (28 October 2009). "Boswell, Johnson, & the Birth of Modern Biography". Newsweek. New York. ISSN 0028-9604. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- ^Frears, Stephen; Derham, Katie; Lee, Hermione; Monk, Ray. The Art of Life: Are Biographies Fiction?. Institute of Arts and Ideas. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- ^Daniel R. Meister, "The biographical turn and the case for historical biography" History Compass (Dec. 2017) DOI: 10.1111/hic3.12436 abstract
- Casper, Scott E. (1999). Constructing American Lives: Biography and Culture in Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4765-7.
- Heilbrun, Carolyn G. (1988). Writing a Woman's Life. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-02601-6.
- Hughes, Kathryn (2009). "Review of Teaching Life Writing Texts, ed. Miriam Fuchs and Craig Howes"(PDF). Journal of Historical Biography. 5: 159–163. ISSN 1911-8538. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- Kendall, Paul Murray. "Biography". Encyclopædia Britannica. (Subscription required (help)).
- Lee, Hermione (2009). Biography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-953354-1.
- Manovich, Lev (2001). The Language of New Media. Leonardo Book Series. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-63255-3.
- Meister, Daniel R. "The biographical turn and the case for historical biography" History Compass (Dec. 2017) DOI: 10.1111/hic3.12436 abstract
- Miller, Robert L. (2003). "Biographical Method". In Miller, Robert L.; Brewer, John D.The A–Z of Social Research: A Dictionary of Key Social Science Research Concepts. London: Sage Publications. pp. 15–17. ISBN 978-0-7619-7133-7.
- Nawas, John A. (2006). "Biography and Biographical Works". In Meri, Josef W.Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Routledge. pp. 110–112. ISBN 978-0-415-96691-7.
- Regard, Frédéric, ed. (2003). Mapping the Self: Space, Identity, Discourse in British Auto/Biography. Saint-Étienne, France: Publications de l'Université de Saint-Étienne. ISBN 978-2-86272269-6.
- Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1918). "Biography". Encyclopedia Americana. 3. pp. 718–719.
- Roberts, Brian (2002). Biographical Research. Understanding Social Research. Buckingham, England: Open University Press. ISBN 978-0-335-20287-4.
- Stone, Albert E. (1982). Autobiographical Occasions and Original Acts: Versions of American Identity from Henry Adams to Nate Shaw. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-7845-3.
- Zinn, Jens O. (2004). Introduction to Biographical Research (Working paper 2004/4). Canterbury, England: Social Contexts and Responses to Risk Network, University of Kent.
- "Biography", In Our Time, BBC Radio 4 discussion with Richard Holmes, Nigel Hamilton and Amanda Foreman (June 22, 2000).