Book-length biographies are easily found in the HOLLIS Catalog, but short biographical articles are scattered widely in biographical dictionaries, subject encyclopedias and periodicals.
First try the Full Text Sources. If these are insufficient try Biography and Genealogy Master Index. The other indexes listed under Biographical Indexes are harder to use but very comprehensive. Other approaches are listed under Additional Strategies.
Full Text Sources
African-American Biographical Database is an online collection of about 300 full-text biographical dictionaries. Also available as a microfiche set, with printed index, in Widener's Reference Room (as Black Biographical Dictionaries 1790-1950).
African American national biography, ed. by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Evelyn Brooks-Higginbotham. NY: Oxford University Press, 2013, 12 v.
Andover-Harv. Theol | Ref. | E185.96 .A4466 2008 (1st ed.)
Lamont | REFERENCE | E185.96 .A4466 2008 (1st ed.)
Widener RR 4781.60 (2nd ed.; 2013)
Online version (Continuously updated)
Biography in Context is a convenient first stop for biographical information. Includes full text of many reference books, including Contemporary Authors, Directory of American Scholars (10th ed. 2001), Dictionary of American Biography (vols. 1-10, supplements 1-10), and Who's Who in America (1985- ). Also includes biographical articles from over 250 periodicals.
Current Biography Illustrated (1946- ) includes biographical sketches and obituaries, with portraits, of persons deceased since 1946.
Dictionary of American Biography. (Vols. 1-10, Suppl. 1-10) in Biography in Context.
Dictionary of Literary Biography is a huge series of volumes offering biographical-critical essays on authors, including references for interviews, critical writings. Coverage is international, with emphasis on English and American.
Lamont REF.ROOM PN451 .D5 1978x (Lamont holds selected volumes.)
Widener RR3129 (Widener holds the complete set.)
The DLB is indexed by name in the Literary Index
Includes numerous volumes on essayists, travel writers, literary biographers, book collectors and bibliographers, major publishing forms, etc. as well as on literary authors.
Marquis Who’s Who includes all biographies in the 24 Marquis Who's Who print titles since 1985, together with all biographies from Who Was Who in America, 1607–1985.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Great Britain)
World Biographical Information System includes full text of thousands of biographical dictionaries accessible by name of biographee. Largely online full text, partly microfiche or print. What to do if a biographical article is not available online and further information.
Thousands of works of collective biography and many biographical periodical articles are indexed in a few general biographical indexes which are listed below:
Biography and Genealogy Master Index indexes thousands of English-language biographical dictionaries and other compendia, many more than Biography Resource Center. Not full text; one must do HOLLIS searches for retrieved sources. Biography Index, which indexes biographical periodical articles as well as collective biography, is also included.
Biography index, 1946-
LOCATION: Lamont: REF.ROOM CT104.Z99 B52x Shelved on Index Table
LOCATION: Widener: RR 1501.22
Internationale Personalbibliographie, by Max Arnim. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, Anton Hiersemann, 1952-1987.
LOCATION: Widener: RR 1501.7 Library has: 5 Bd.
--v. 1-2: 1800-1943; v. 3-5: 1944-1959.
--Indexes biographical dictionaries and many scholarly/scientific journals.
IBN: Index bio-bibliographicus notorum hominum.
LOCATION: Widener: RR 1501.15
--Indexes 2000 biographical dictionaries and related works, including non-European publications, published through the 1960s. Gives names, dates, nationalities, and occupations in addition to references to the indexed biographical works, listed in volumes labeled "Key to Sources". Currently extends only into names beginning: Mar.
Subject guide to women of the world, by Katharine Joan Phenix. 1996.
LOCATION: Widener: RR 1501.24.5
--Topical and geographical indexes to Norma Olin Ireland's Index to Women of the World from Ancient to Modern Times and her Index to Women of the World from Ancient to Modern Times: A Supplement, both indexed by name in BGMI.
- Searches in periodical indexes.
- Finding biographical dictionaries which may not be included in the biographical indexes.
- Diaries and the introductions to published diaries.
- Additional sources include college alumni/alumnae biographies, Festschrifts, archival finding aids, directories, and local histories.
- Specialized sources for Boston-area biography.
Biographical Research Guide (for Harvard biography)