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Washington History Submission Guidelines

Washington History Submission Guidelines

Washington History accepts submissions at any time. Manuscripts or proposals should be sent to the editor at


Washington History (Successor to Records of the Columbia Historical Society) is a richly illustrated, semiannual, refereed journal, which seeks articles on the history of the Washington metropolitan area that appeal to scholars, students, and the general public. Manuscripts must be sound in scholarship, fully referenced with endnotes, and invitingly written.

The journal seeks articles on all aspects of Metropolitan Washington area history: social, cultural, architectural, urban, and political history, and historical geography. While manuscripts on Washington as the federal capital are welcome, they must relate the subject matter in some significant way to the life of the residential and commercial city. Prospective authors are encouraged to read recent issues of the journal to get a sense of the sort of material it publishes.

Manuscripts may take the following forms:

  1. Analytical manuscripts that argue a thesis concerning the history of Washington, D.C. Authors must state their theses clearly and argue them effectively. Articles of this type must be broad enough in subject matter to be considered significant contributions to our understanding of Washington history.
  2. Descriptive articles that provide previously unpublished information. Authors must provide historical context for their subject matter, interpreting its importance in the light of related events, personalities, or trends in Washington or elsewhere.
  3. First-hand accounts or reminiscences of events or figures in Washington history. If the account is written by the eye-witness, the author's relationship to the subject must be stated and historical context provided that will allow the reader to appreciate the topic's significance. If the account is based on documents or interviews from someone else, the account must include text that analyzes and interprets the quotations in the context of other sources.
  4. Picture essays based on photographs, works of art, architecture, artifacts, or illustrations accompanied by a ten-page (2,500-word) introduction. Such essays may argue a thesis or provide interesting new information.


Manuscript length is flexible. Typical length is between 3,750 words (15 double-spaced pages at 250 words per page) and 7,500 words (30 pages). Generally, you should limit endnotes to those necessary to document sources. Discursive notes are discouraged: if information is important, it should appear in the text. On style, see Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, and the following guidelines.

Please submit an electronic copy of the manuscript in Microsoft Word (.doc) or RTF format. The document should not have your name anywhere on it, because it will be submitted to anonymously by expert referees.

Manuscripts should be accompanied by scans of at least eight possible illustrations and caption information. If you are unable to scan the images, please ask about sending photocopies. Once an article is peer reviewed, accepted, and revised, authors will be required to forward scans of accepted illustrations or original prints/slides. Any scans should be done in grayscale at 300 dpi; at least 2100 pixels wide..

Washington History does not accept unsolicited book reviews. If you are interested in reviewing books, please send us a note with a list of your interests and a statement of your qualifications.

Washington History also publishes brief "Milestones" marking events in the city’s history, such as the deaths of major figures or anniversaries of local institutions. We welcome suggestions for subjects and authors.

  1. Capitalization:
    Capitalize names of agencies or units of government such as the Board of Commissioners or Department of State. When referring to more than one agency or unit of government, the words department, county, etc., are lower cased. For example, the departments of State and Treasury; Montgomery and Fairfax counties. The same holds true for two streets: First Street, N.W., but First and G streets, N.W.

    Other capitalization issues:
    • U.S. Congress, congressional
    • House of Representatives, the House, the congressman
    • United States Court of Appeals, the court
    • But United States Supreme Court, the Court
    • Bureau of the Census, Census Bureau, the bureau
    • Kennedy administration
    • federal government
    • President Bill Clinton, the president

  2. Punctuation.

    Commas: Commas and other punctuation should fall inside the quotation marks. In lists, the serial comma should be used: "The books are blue, gray, and red."

    Ellipses: Three-pointed ellipses are used to denote missing language within a sentence (missing . . . in a sentence). Four-pointed ellipses denote missing language to the end of the sentence and/or a number of missing sentences (denote missing. . . .).

  3. Numbers:

    Numbers are spelled out from one to ten; after that they are given as figures, except when they appear at the beginning of a sentence. Fractional numbers appear as figures, "1.2 million people" or 4 ½ Street, S.W. If a sentence has both numbers under and over ten, make them consistent: "they called for 6, 18, and 27 parts."

  4. Congress:

    Members should be identified by state and party affiliation, e.g., Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland).

  5. Periodicals:

    Titles are written in italic, including the location of the paper when that location is part of the paper's title. Otherwise the location is given for clarity but left in roman type preceding the italicized title. Always lower case and do not italicize an initial "the."

Generally speaking, Washington History follows the 15th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style for endnotes. However, there are some exceptions. Therefore writers are urged to read this guide before referring to Chicago for endnote style.>p>

Writers are asked not to write long discursive endnotes. If the information is essential to the story, please include it in the body of the piece; otherwise, leave it out.

Writers are urged to limit the number of endnotes. One note per paragraph is preferred when possible. Do not insert endnote numbers within sentences.

  • Please double space all notes. Italicize (DO NOT UNDERLINE) titles.
  • Dates follow this form: Jan. 1, 1990 not 1 Jan. 1990 (abbreviate months).
  • Do not use "p." or "pp." for page references (see exception in note 9).
  • Indicate a span of pages as "123-96" not "123-196."
  • Use standard, not Postal Service, abbreviations: Pa., N.Y., not PA or NY.
  • "Ibid," in Roman type, should be used when a citation is duplicated in the immediately succeeding note, followed by a different page if necessary. Later references use a short form, not "op. cit." (see examples). Please do not use loc. cit., infra, or ff.
  • For scholarly and professional periodicals, give the volume number plus the date in parentheses; do not give the issue number. For magazines, cite by date alone.
  • Newspaper citations should include the author, headline, name of the newspaper, date, and page number. If a clipping is undated or unsourced and is found in a scrapbook or collection, cite the article as part of the particular collection.
  • First references must be complete. Do not state that successors will be shortened.
  • Succeeding references should be abbreviated. Please refer to these guidelines for common abbreviations.


  1. Constance McLaughlin Green, Washington: A History of the Capital, 1800-1950, vol. 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), 292-95. [later: Green, Washington, 1:300-08.]
  2. Constance McLaughlin Green, Washington: Village and Capital, 1800-1878 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962), 232. [later: Green, Washington: Village, 246.]
  3. Constance McLaughlin Green, Washington: Capital City, 1879-1950 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962), 116-45. [later: Green, Washington: Capital, 116.]
  4. Geoffrey Arend, Air World's Great Airports: Miami International (New York: Air Cargo News, 1986), 211.
  5. Suzanne Berry Sherwood, Foggy Bottom 1800-1975: A Study in the Uses of an Urban Neighborhood, G.W. Washington Studies, no. 7 (Washington: George Washington University, 1978), 67-70.
  6. Robert Kinzer, "The Roots of the Integrationist-Separatist Dilemma," in Black Business Enterprise, ed. Ronald Bailey (New York: Basic Books, 1971), 55.
  7. Gordon Parks, Choice of Weapons (1966; reprint, St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1986), 65.
  1. Eugene Meyer, "Baseball Returns to D.C.," Washington Post, Apr. 8, 2001, A1.
  2. Editorial, "Stop the Highway," Washington Post, Apr. 5, 1950, A20.
  3. "Woman’s Rights Convention," New York Times, May 15, 1858, 6.
  4. J. J. Woodward, "The Army Medical Museum at Washington," Lippincott’s Magazine, Mar. 1871, 233-42.
  5. Ethel M. Morganson, "Davy Burnes, His Ancestors, and Their Descendants," Records of the Columbia Historical Society 50 (1949-50): 103. [later: Morganson, "Davy Burnes," 103.]
  6. Marvin Caplan, "Eat Anywhere!" Washington History 1 (Spring 1989): 29-33.
  1. John Handley, interview with author, Washington, Jan. 5, 1989. [later: Handley interview, Jan. 5, 1989.]
  1. (First reference:) "Barney to Visit," undated clipping, Alice Pike Barney file, Washingtoniana Division, D.C. Public Library. (Subsequent references:) "Barney to Visit," Barney file, DCPL. [Do not use "Martin Luther King Memorial Library"]
  2. James Smith to Ann Jones, Sept. 18, 1858, entry 9, Records of St. Elizabeths Hospital, Record Group 418, National Archives. [later: Smith to Jones, Sept. 18, 1858, RG 418, NA.]
  3. Statement of Fact Regarding the Duncanson Duel, Oct. 7, 1798, James Greenleaf Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. [later: Duncanson Duel, Oct. 7, 1798, Greenleaf Collection, LC.]
  4. Spencie Love, "One Blood: The Charles R. Drew Legend and the Trauma of Race in America" (Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 1990), 100-02.
  5. Deed, Dec. 27, 1766, Provincial Court Records, 1765-70, Book DD4, pp. 165-68 [NOTE EXCEPTION TO RULE AGAINST USING PP.], Accession #17267, Maryland State Archives.
  6. George Washington to Tobias Lear, Aug. 28, 1794, George Washington Papers, ser. 2, vol. 19m, 258, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. (later: Washington to Lear, Aug. 28, 1794, Washington Papers, LC.)
  1. Pensions for Widows and Children of Deceased and Retired Police and Firemen of the District of Columbia, 81st Cong, 1st sess., Congressional Record 95 (June 13, 1949): H7610.
  2. Congressional Globe, 39th Cong., 2d sess., 1867, 39, pt. 9:9905.
  3. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1975 (Washington, GPO, 1975), 342-48.
  4. William V. Cox, comp., 1800-1900: Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Seat of Government in the District of Columbia, 56th Cong. 2d sess., 1900, H. Doc. 552, plate 8 opp. 39.


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