I am writing an essay and have to use the Chicago 17th edition notes and bibliography style.

One of my sources is a book. Within the book is a collection of 30 historical documents. Some of these documents are excerpts of direct primary sources, and some of them are excerpts of a separate secondary source citing a primary source. How would I cite these in my essay?

Here is a copy of the book I am using: https://www.scribd.com/document/667447666/Matteo-Ricci-and-the-Catholic-Mission-to-China-Ronnie-Po-Chia-Hsia

Essentially I just want to know how to cite this, thanks.

1 Answer 1


I tend to err on the side of over-citation. There is no reason you can't have multiple citations at the end of a sentence. Cite the book (your original source) as well as the secondary source cited in the book. For historical documents, you may get away mentioning something along the lines of "x document as reproduced in book". But you could certainly include a reference to the original document if available. Either way, as long as proper credit is given and information/ideas can be traced back to their source, you have some leeway.

  • There is no reason you can't have multiple citations at the end of a sentence. FYI, I've seen several instances of 10+ citations at the end of a sentence, but off-hand I don't know the longest list I've ever seen. An extreme case that I do recall is the Introduction (pp. xiii-xv) of this book. Unless I've miscounted, on p. xiii there is one list with 46 citations (middle of page) and another list with 47 citations (near bottom of page), and there is also a list with 20 citations on p. xv. Oct 27, 2023 at 19:39

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