American Biographical Sources

Four important multivolume reference sources on American (U.S.) biography that are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index Online, are in  the collections of the Andover-Harvard Theological Library (call numbers noted), several other Harvard libraries, and in many public and academic libraries:

  • American National Biography [Ref. CT213.A68 1999]
  • Dictionary of American Biography [Ref. E176.D56 and Ref. E176.D563]
  • Who Was Who [Ref. E176.W64]
  • Notable American Women [Ref. CT3260.N57]

American National Biography (1999), Dictionary of American Biography (1928-1936, plus supplements), and Notable American Women cite published and archival resources; their entries are written by named scholars and researchers.

If you have a valid Harvard ID and PIN number or you are in a Harvard library, you may access American National Biography Online; entries from the Dictionary of American Biography are online in Biography in Context; entries from Notable American Women online in Women and Social Movements in the United States from 1600-2000

You may also want to search The African American Biographical Database (AABD), which brings together in one resource the biographies of thousands of African Americans, 1790-1950. These biographical sketches have been assembled from the series Black Biographical Dictionaries and from other biographical dictionaries and sources.

If you are not a Harvard Library patron, check for the availability of these reference sources in your local library.

For more information, contact a research librarian.