Introduction

Book-length biographies are easily found in the HOLLIS Catalog, but short biographical articles are scattered widely in biographical dictionaries, subject encyclopedias and periodicals. 

Try the Resources of First Resort. If you don’t find what you need:

Numerous other biographical sources exist  We have listed some major examples, general and by gender, ethnicity, and occupation, on the Biographical Dictionaries page.

Many other specialized sources are listed on the pages of this guide.

Resources of First Resort

General

To find individual encyclopedia articles in HOLLIS: use Everything Advanced Search, do a Title search on your name and in the results list look for Resource Type under Refine Your Results in the right-hand column. Choose Reference entriesExample.

Current Biography Illustrated (1946- ) includes biographical sketches and obituaries, with portraits, of persons deceased since 1946.

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.

Notable American women. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971-2004. 5 v.
LOCATION: Widener: RR 1711. 34
--Covers women deceased before 1999. Articles include extensive source lists giving particular attention to unpublished sources. Classified index (by field) in each vol. Vols. 1-4 indexed in Biography and genealogy master index. Full text in Women and Social Movements in the United States: 1600-2000

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.

World Who’s Who

Thousands of works of collective biography and many biographical periodical articles are indexed in a few general biographical indexes which are listed below. These are not full text; one must do HOLLIS searches for retrieved sources.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index indexes thousands of English-language biographical dictionaries and other compendia, many more than Biography Resource Center. Includes Biography Index, which indexes biographical periodical articles as well as collective biography.  Indexes Contemporary Authors and Dictionary of Literary Biography.

IBN: Index bio-bibliographicus notorum hominum.
Online Version
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 to Palheta.
--​The online version does not include well-known persons with numerous entries and book-length biographies.

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.

United States

American National Biography

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)

Other Countries

Canadian biography, part of the Library and Archives Canada site, contains the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Biography Literature (1962-2016) China. In Chinese

Deutsche biographie

Datenbank Schriftstellerinnen in Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz 1945-2008

Dictionary of Irish biography 

Biografisch Portaal van Nederland

Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland (BWN)

Digitaal Vrouwenlexicon van Nederland (DVN) (Online Dictionary of Dutch Women)

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (UK)