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How to Cite a Biography


Writers in the humanities are likely to cite biographies and can find guidelines for citation of sources in either the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers" or the "Chicago Manual of Style." To cite according to MLA conventions, you will have to create both an in-text citation and a works-cited entry for your source. To cite according to the conventions dictated by the "Chicago Manual of Style," you will need to create a footnote and a bibliography entry.

Modern Language Association

Give the author's last name, either in your sentence or in parentheses following the sentence to begin your in-text citation. For example:

Hamilton sympathized with Major Andre (Chernow).

or

According to Ron Chernow, Hamilton sympathized with Major Andre.

Write the page number you are taking your information from to complete your in-text citation.

Hamilton sympathized with Major Andre (Chernow 142).

or

According to Ron Chernow, Hamilton sympathized with Major Andre (142).

Give the biographer's last and first name separated by a comma, the biography's title, the city of publication and the publisher's name separated by a colon and the year of publication preceded by a comma.

Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin, 2005.

Put "Print" at the end of your citation to specify that you are accessing a print source.

Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin, 2005. Print.

Chicago Manual of Style

Number your footnote.

1.

Give the first name and last name of the biographer, the title of the biography in italics, the place of publication and publisher separated by a colon and the year of publication (all contained in parentheses) and the page number you are taking your information from to complete your footnote.

  1. Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton. (New York: Penguin, 2005), 143.

Write "ibid" and the page number to cite the same biography again consecutively.

  1. Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton. (New York: Penguin, 2005), 143.

  2. Ibid, 156.

Put the biographer's last name and first name separated by a comma, the biography's title in italics, the place of publication separated by a colon from the publisher and the year of publication to complete your bibliography entry.

Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin, 2005.

References
  • "The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers"; Modern Language Association; 2008
  • "Chicago Manual of Style"; Editors of the Chicago Manual of Style; 2010
About the Author

Thomas Colbyry is a writer living in Marquette, Mich. Currently pursuing a B.A. in English, he works as a writing tutor and contributes book reviews to several publications. Colbyry often covers topics related to literature, specializing in early modern, Restoration, 18th-century and Victorian British literature, as well as the literature of Japan.

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