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How you cite a speech will depend upon what citation style you are using. Check with your professor if you an unsure as to what style you should use.

APA Style

The APA Style page "Transcript of an Audiovisual Work References This link opens in a new window" states that "You don’t reference the speech itself!" Instead, you find the speech in a source such as a book, film, or website and cite that. 

For example, if you are using Ronald Reagan's "Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate," you would find a source that contains the speech and then cite the source according to the proper style (website, book, etc.).

In-Text Citation

(Regan, 1987).

Reference Page

Reagan, R. (1987). Tear Down This Wall: Remarks at Brandenburg Gate  [Speech transcript]. Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, This link opens in a new window.


See page 335 of the MLA Handbook for more examples.

In-Text Citation

(Atwood "Silencing the Scream").

Works Cited Page

Atwood, Margaret. "Silencing the Scream." Boundaries of the Imagination Forum. MLA  Annual Convention, 29 Dec. 1993, Royal York Hotel, Toronto.

Note: If you are quoting a speech published in a book or journal you will cite that source.

Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is currently in its 17th edition. 

NOTE: For lectures, papers presented at meetings, and speeches that are published in other sources, the Chicago Manual of Style indicates that the material should be cited in the medium it was published.  For example, if the lecture was published in a book, cite it as a chapter in a book.  For live lectures, paper presentations, and speeches, see the formats below.  

Lectures at Meetings

For notes and bibliography style (see section 14.217: Lectures, papers presented at meetings, of the Chicago Manual of Style).

The sponsorship, location, and date of the meeting at which a speech was given or a paper presented follow the title. This information, like that following a thesis title, is put in parentheses in a note but not in a bibliography. 

For example (don't forget to indent the second and subsequent lines):

2. Stacy D’Erasmo, “The Craft and Career of Writing” (lecture, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, April 26, 2000).

Teplin, Linda A., Gary M. McClelland, Karen M. Abram, and Jason J. Washburn. “Early Violent Death in Delinquent Youth: A Prospective Longitudinal Study.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychology-Law Society, La Jolla, CA, March 2005.

The Author-Date section of the Chicago Style does not include an example for Lectures. In this case, see Section 15.3 of the Manual. It says in part that “Most of the examples in chapter 14 are readily adapted to the author-date style—in almost all cases by a different ordering or arrangement of elements.” For the in-text (parenthetical) citation, you would use this basic format: (Author Last Name, Year).  See Section 14.226 of the manual for whether a bibliography entry is needed (it will depend upon how you accessed the lecture).


Audio Recordings of Speeches

For notes and bibliography style (see section 14.264 Recorded readings, lectures, audiobooks, and the like, of the Chicago Manual of Style).

Audio recordings are treated much like musical recordings. 

For example:

3. Calvin Coolidge, “Equal Rights” (speech), ca. 1920, in “American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1920 Election, 1918–1920,” Library of Congress, copy of an undated 78 rpm disc, RealAudio and WAV formats, 3:45,

4. Eleanor Roosevelt, “Is America Facing World Leadership?,” convocation speech, Ball State Teacher’s College, May 6, 1959, Muncie, IN, radio broadcast, reel-to-reel tape, MPEG copy, 1:12:49,

For author-date style (see section 15.57 Citing recordings and multimedia in author-date format, of the Chicago Manual of Style) the manual states that Audiovisual recordings and other multimedia can be cited in author-date format by adapting the recommendations and examples outlined and exemplified in 14.261–68

For example:


(Coolidge [1920?])

References page (don't forget to indent the second and subsequent lines):

Coolidge, Calvin. [1920?]. “Equal Rights” (speech). In “American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1920 Election, 1918–1920.” Library of Congress. Copy of an undated 78 rpm disc, RealAudio and WAV formats, 3:45.

More Help

More information:

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please speak to your professor about the appropriate way to cite speeches.


McAdoo, Timothy. (2009). How to cite a speech in APA style. Retrieved from

The Modern Language Association of America. (2016). MLA Handbook. New York: Modern Language Association of America.

University of Chicago. (2017). 14.226 Lectures, papers presented at meetings, and the like. Retrieved from

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