# Citing letters in biblatex-chicago with the options notes,short

I'm having a problem with biblatex-chicago's notes style with the short option while citing @letters. In line with the Chicago Manual of Style's general guidelines, I don't list @letters in the bibliography. Instead, I give them the options = {skipbib=true}. But then I cannot cite them as "Madame de Sévigné to Monsieur de Sévigné" without further bibliographical information, as 1) the collection in which the letter is found is not shown and 2) if I cite two letters from this recipient to this addressee, written on a different date and/or at a different location, both will appear identical ("Madame de Sévigné to Monsieur de Sévigné") in the footnote.

This question is related to another one I posed some time ago. The difference is that now I'm not using biblatex-chicago's authordate style, but, as mentioned, the notes still with the option short.

My question, then, is:

Can I cite @letters so that all the bibliographical information from the @letter itself is included in the footnote, but with only an abbreviated reference to the @book, @article, or @unpublished in which the @letter is found?

1. Madame de Sévigné to Monsieur de Sévigné, Paris, 29 January 1750, 100–110 in De Sévigné, Letters.
2. Madame de Sévigné to Monsieur de Sévigné, Paris, 1 February 1751, 111–113 in De Sévigné, Letters.

with "De Sévigné, Letters" appearing in the bibliography as:

De Sévigné, Madame. Letters. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

MWE:

\documentclass[british]{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{babel}
\usepackage{csquotes}
\usepackage[notes,short]{biblatex-chicago}

\usepackage{filecontents}
\begin{filecontents*}{\jobname.bib}
@book{DeSevigne2015,
title = {Letters},
publisher = {Oxford University Press},
date = {2015}
}

@letter{DeSevigne1750,
options = {skipbib=true,skiplab=true},
crossref = {DeSevigne2015},
title = {Madame de Sévigné to Monsieur de Sévigné},
shorttitle = {to Monsieur de Sévigné},
origdate = {1750-01-29},
origlocation = {Paris},
pages = {100--110}
}

@letter{DeSevigne1751,
options = {skipbib=true,skiplab=true},
crossref = {DeSevigne2015},
title = {Madame de Sévigné to Monsieur de Sévigné},
shorttitle = {to Monsieur de Sévigné},
origdate = {1751-02-01},
origlocation = {Paris},
pages = {111--113}
}
\end{filecontents*}

\begin{document}

A first letter to her husband.\footcite{DeSevigne1750} Then a second letter to her husband.\footcite{DeSevigne1751}

\printbibliography
\end{document}


The necessary changes are similar to the ones in Mixing notes style and authordate style in biblatex-chicago (the example of letters), but this time we need to modify cite:short

\documentclass[british]{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{babel}
\usepackage{csquotes}
\usepackage[notes,short]{biblatex-chicago}

\usepackage{filecontents}
\begin{filecontents*}{\jobname.bib}
@book{DeSevigne2015,
title = {Letters},
publisher = {Oxford University Press},
date = {2015}
}

@letter{DeSevigne1750,
options = {skipbib=true,skiplab=true},
crossref = {DeSevigne2015},
title = {Madame de Sévigné to Monsieur de Sévigné},
shorttitle = {to Monsieur de Sévigné},
origdate = {1750-01-29},
origlocation = {Paris},
pages = {100--110}
}

@letter{DeSevigne1751,
options = {skipbib=true,skiplab=true},
crossref = {DeSevigne2015},
title = {Madame de Sévigné to Monsieur de Sévigné},
shorttitle = {to Monsieur de Sévigné},
origdate = {1751-02-01},
origlocation = {Paris},
pages = {111--113}
}
\end{filecontents*}

\makeatletter
\renewbibmacro*{cite:short}{%
\ifentrytype{letter}
{\usedriver
{\clearname{author}%
\clearname{editor}%
\renewbibmacro{xrefprenote}{\space}}
{letter}}
{\usebibmacro{allshort+firstcite+xref}%
\ifthenelse{\ifnameundef{labelname}\OR%
\ifentrytype{inreference}\OR%
\ifentrytype{reference}\OR%
\ifentrytype{mvreference}}%
{\ifthenelse{\iffieldequalstr{entrysubtype}{magazine}\AND\NOT%
\ifentrytype{periodical}}% Simplify .bib creation
{\ifuseauthor%
{\ifboolexpr{%
not test {\iffieldundef{shortjournal}}%
and
((
test {\ifcitation}%
and
togl {cms@citejtabb}%
)
or
(
test {\ifbibliography}%
and
togl {cms@bibjtabb}%
))
}%
{\printfield[shortjournal]{shortjournal}\newcunit}%
{\printfield[journaltitle]{journaltitle}\newcunit}}%
{}}%
{\ifentrytype{manual}%
{\printlist{organization}\isdot\newcunit}%
{}}}%
{\ifboolexpr{%
test {\ifciteidem}%
and
not test {\ifbibliography}%
and
not test {\iffirstonpage}%
and
not togl {cms@noidem}%
and
}%
{\bibstring[\mkibid]{idem\thefield{gender}}%
\classicpunct}%
{\iffieldequalstr{authortype}{anon}%
{\bibleftbracket\printnames{labelname}%
\bibrightbracket\classicpunct}%
{\iffieldequalstr{authortype}{anon?}%
{\bibleftbracket\printnames{labelname}?%
\bibrightbracket\classicpunct}%
{\printnames{labelname}%\usebibmacro{choose+labelname}%
\isdot\classicpunct}}}}%
\ifboolexpr{%
togl {cms@allshort}%
or
test {\ifbibliography}%
}%
{\printtext[bibhyperref]{%
\printfield[citetitle]{labeltitle}}}%
\printfield[citetitle]{labeltitle}}}}}
\makeatother

\begin{document}

A first letter to her husband.\footcite{DeSevigne1750} Then a second letter to her husband.\footcite{DeSevigne1751}

A first letter to her husband.\footcite{DeSevigne1750} Then a second letter to her husband.\footcite{DeSevigne1751}

\printbibliography
\end{document}

• Looks great, thank you so much! I noticed, however, that if the @book that a @letter is in has an editor in addition to an author, the editor will be inherited by the @letter (through crossref) and placed at the head of the citation, which is not desirable. The editor should still refer to the @book only. You should see this if you add an editor to DeSevigne2015 in the MWE. Do you know if this can be prevented? Thank you very much in advance. Oct 31 '17 at 15:35
• @Mårten I added an easy solution. It is not particularly elegant, but if a @letter never has an editor it should be fine. Oct 31 '17 at 15:43
• Fantastic! That shouldn't be a problem, I haven't encountered a situation in which I wanted to give a letter (rather than the collection in which it is included) an editor, so this will work. Thanks again! Oct 31 '17 at 15:57