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Biographical Information   Tags: biographies, reference  

Last Updated: Jan 2, 2017 URL: Print Guide

Directories and Databases Print Page


Directories like those listed here provide the following information for most entries: full name, present position, birth date, names of family members, career highlights, titles of publications, current address, and sometimes telephone and/or fax numbers. These sources usually only list individuals who were living when the books were published. Who's Who is an online version of Who's Who in America as well as several other versions, including Who’s Who in American Education and Who’s Who in the World. Additional specialized directories are available; ask a Reference Librarian for information.

International Who's Who.
In this directory, there is concise biographical information for over 20,000 persons representing diverse activities from various countries. The volume includes information on reigning royal families from around the world.
Ref. CT 120. I5

The following titles are available online. For many, there are much earlier volumes available in print in the library.

  • Who's Who
    Also known as Marquis Who's Who, this resource provides information from many versions of Who's Who, including Who’s Who in American Politics, Who’s Who in American Art, and Who’s Who in American History.
  • Who's Who (Great Britain)
    Provides autobiographical listings of people from around the globe who have an impact on British life. Volumes from 1905-2006 are in the library's main collection with the call number DA28 .W8.

Biographical Sources

  • American National Biography
    Biographical entries of more than 18,700 American men and women from all eras and walks of life. Persons still living are not included.
  • Biography & Genealogy Master Index
    Users can locate biographical entries contained in more than 1,000 volumes and editions of important current and retrospective biographical reference sources. For example, the Index includes citations to Current Biography Yearbook, found at Ref CT 100 .C8.
  • Dictionary of National Biography
    "An illustrated collection of more than 57,000 specially written biographies of the men and women from around the world who shaped all aspects of Britain's past." Persons still living are not included.
  • Marquis Who Was Who in America 1607-1984
    Includes entries for over 111,000 persons important in the history of America. Provides data on family relationships, political affiliations, key positions held, awards, published writings, and other basic facts and vital statistics.
  • Marquis Who Was Who in America 1985-present
    Updates the earlier Who Was Who in America with over 46,000 additional biographies.


Obituaries can be useful sources of biographical information. The titles listed below are good starting points; see the library's listing of New & Newspapers on the Electronic Resources page.

  • New York Times (1851-2013)
    Offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue. More recent issues can be found in Academic OneFile and Lexis-Nexis. Search for the person's name and the term obituary, i.e. may sarton and obituary.
  • Newspaper Source Plus
    Indexing and some full text for national and regional newspapers. Includes over 850 full-text newspapers, plus television and radio news transcripts. From Ebsco; access provided through BadgerLink.

Quick Links

Biographical information can be found in many places. This guide indicates some of the sources that may serve as starting points for your research. Be sure to ask a reference librarian if you would like more help.


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