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Prairie History: Contributor Guidelines

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Prairie History publishes scholarly, feature-length articles as well as shorter, popular articles, documentary selections, essays, pictorial essays, and reviews relating to the social, economic, political, intellectual, and cultural history of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, and the US borderlands.

Article type

Peer review?

Maximum length


Feature articles


Twenty-five double-spaced pages (7,500 words), including endnotes

Prairie Pageant articles


Ten double-spaced pages (3,000 words) and do not typically include endnotes

Prairie Gazette articles


One double-spaced page (300 words)

Submissions of inquiries and manuscripts by email are strongly encouraged. If sending manuscripts by regular mail, please send them to the MHS Administrative Office.

Contributors are not paid but will receive copies of the issue containing their article.

Illustrations provided with article submissions are welcomed. Scanned images must be of sufficient resolution for high-quality reproduction, and no less than 300 dpi. Permission to publish photographs and artwork from archives or other repositories is the responsibility of the contributor. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically, preferably in Microsoft Word format. The Manitoba Historical Society assumes no responsibility for statements made by contributors.

Formatting Conventions

Authors are asked to conform to the following formatting conventions when preparing their manuscript, as this will greatly facilitate the publication process.

General formatting

Manuscripts are to be submitted in Microsoft Word file format. Generic RTF format is also acceptable.

Use a 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, in all parts of the manuscript, including text, tables, references and figure captions. Formatting is discouraged, except for headings and subheadings. Paragraphs should be separated by a single carriage return. Avoid multiple fonts and sizes, and use only black. Avoid type-styles except italics, which are to be used sparingly. Use only single spaces between sentences.

Dates should be formatted as Day Month Year; for example, 12 May 2020.

Use endnotes rather than footnotes for citations and explications. The number of endnotes in a single manuscript should generally not exceed 50.

Figures and other illustrations should be submitted as separate files and not embedded in the manuscript. To indicate figure placement, please insert an angle-bracketed “callout” at the appropriate place in the text, e.g., “<Fig. 3 about here>”.

Raster images (e.g., photographs) should be submitted in TIF or JPG formats, at a minimum print resolution of 300 dpi, preferably in colour. Vector images (e.g., some diagrams) should be submitted in AI, WMF, CDR, or PDF formats.


It is the author’s responsibility to ensure that copyright permission is obtained for all figures or images that are derived from other sources. Evidence of written copyright permission (e.g., a letter or email from the original publisher or archival source) may be required for any diagrams or images derived from other sources.

Images downloaded from the Internet are not acceptable unless they are in the public domain. Authors must verify the image copyright status.

Include a credit line for each photograph providing the name of the source (e.g., name of archive) and any pertinent accession or collection numbers.


Canadian spelling is preferred; for example, behaviour, colour, travelled, centre, skeptical, honourable, centennial, centenary. The authority for spelling is the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Always check seldom-used words and hyphenations to be sure they are correctly spelled.

Distinguish between nominal and verbal uses of certain words. Municipalities “license” an establishment to serve alcohol; it is “licensed” upon the award of a “licence”. N.B.: “Defence” (never “defense”), but “defensible”. Practice/practise is another noun/verb distinction.

In quotations, always use the spelling therein; do not change to Canadian Oxford Dictionary spellings.

Spell out numerical values of zero to ten. Use numerals (11, 12, 13, ...) for integers greater than ten.

Initials in a name are spaced, e.g., F. B. Doaks. Normally, acronyms (e.g., MHS, CBC, NASA, USA) are not separated by periods.


When a direct quotation from a reference is less than three lines, put it in the line enclosed by double quotation marks. Do not indent these short excerpts. For quotations that are longer than two lines, the passage should be indented and introduced by a sentence ending with a colon. For example, three stipulations were set out: A, B, and C.

Two-part adjectival and adverbial modifiers should have a hyphen between the words when the term precedes a noun, e.g., use hyphen in “highly-talented fellow” but not in “he is highly talented.”

“Twentieth century” should be written “20th century”. “In the 20th century” is not hyphenated but use a hyphen when describing an event or cultural artifact, e.g., “20th-century customs”.

Most words beginning with the following prefixes are written as one word: after, ante, anti, bi, co, counter, de, down, extra, infra, inter, intra, iso, macro, micro, multi, over, photo, poly, post, pre, pro, pseudo, re, retro, semi, stereo, sub, super, trans, tri, ultra, un, under and up. This convention often breaks down when the prefix ends in a vowel and the substantive begins with a vowel, e.g., semifinals, but semi-automatic. Check the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

SI/metric units are spelled with “-re” endings, e.g., centimetre, litre, etc., and amounts of each unit are always expressed as decimals, or as “half a kilometre”. In running text, measurements should be spelled out: “55 kilometres,” not “55 km.” Abbreviations are fine within parentheses, however, and should always be used in tabular material. If the original measurement is in Imperial/US units, calculate and insert the equivalent metric value in brackets after the original value.

Distinguish between “less” and “fewer”; use “less” with a vague quantity (less pressure), “fewer” with a discrete quantity (fewer pitchforks). Also, distinguish between “amount” and “number”; use “amount” with a vague quantity (amount of money) and “number” with a discrete quantity (number of hockey teams).

Distinguish between “further” and “farther” to denote vagueness or discreteness. Use “further” in abstract expressions (dwell further on the matter), but use “farther” for quantifiable measures of distance (two kilometres farther along the trail).

Avoid misplaced modifiers (dangling participles and gerunds): “Being a sunny day, he went for a walk.” “Being a sunny day” does not refer to, or modify, the subject (he) of the principle clause.

Capital letters

Capital letters are used in formal names of people, places and many things (depending on circumstances). Unless certain terms are geopolitical features printed on a standard map or found in a gazeteer, use lowercase (i.e., western Canada). All sentences begin with an uppercase letter.

Common names of plants/birds/animals (e.g., white-tailed deer, common goldeneye, leopard frog) should not be capitalized unless they are proper nouns (e.g., Canada goose, McCown’s longspur).

When referring to two or more rivers, lakes, creeks, streets, etc., do not capitalize the physical feature, e.g., “the Red and Assiniboine rivers”, “Rupert and Main streets”.

All sentences and sub/headings start with a capital letter.


It is incorrect to create the plural of years or decades or of abbreviations using an apostrophe: use “the 1930s”; “fifteen PhDs on our faculty”; “We have identical IQs.”

Do not use the ampersand (&) unless it is contained in an original quotation. Write out “and”.

“Oxford commas” are permissible, provided they serve to clarify the thought, e.g., “oranges from Florida, mangoes and pineapples from Mexico, and ugli fruit from Jamaica.”

A “long dash” is properly called an em-dash (—); it is not two or three dashes in a row. It denotes a deliberate aside or parenthesis in a sentence; it is more than a comma pause. There are no spaces on either side of an em-dash. Use an en-dash (–) to separate a range of years or other numerical quantities, e.g., 1957–1961, 15–20 wheat sheaves.

Use single quotation marks for the second level when you have a set of nested quotations.

A three-dot ellipsis (…) is normally used to show the omission of one or more words in a quotation. Use the three-dot ellipsis in mid-sentence, with no spaces either side, to show the omission. If the ellipsis ends the sentence or quotation, use a three-dot ellipsis plus a period. It is followed by a space before the next sentence.

Citation formatting

The following are examples of different references types, including electronic references:

Journal articles

M. G. Newbury and A. C. Ashworth 2004. A fossil record of colonization and response of lacustrine fish populations to climate change. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 61(10), pages 1807–1816, DOI:10.1139/F04-113. (instead of a DOI, a URL and date of access can be provided)


W. W. Sanders Jr. and H. A. Elleby 1970. Distribution of wheel loads in highway bridges. National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 83, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 150 pages.


R. J. Marles, C. Clavelle, L. Monteleone, N. Tays, and D. Burns 2000. Aboriginal Plant Use in Canada's Northwest Boreal Forest. Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, AB, 265 pages.

M. C. Healey 1980. The ecology of juvenile salmon in Georgia Strait, British Columbia. In Salmonid Ecosystems of the North Pacific, edited by W. J. McNeil and D. C. Himsworth, Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University Press, 203–229 pages.


J. A. Cline 1968. The Nelson River hydroelectric development: a public utility investment affecting both regional and national development. MA thesis, Department of Economics, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, 113 pages.


M. B. Quinion 1998. Citing online sources: advice on online citation formats [online]. Available from [accessed 20 October 2005].

Page revised: 4 May 2020

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