East Asia


Chinese History: a new manual, by Endymion Wilkinson. Fifth ed. Cambridge, MA: Endymion Wilkinson, c/o Harvard University Asia Center, 2018, 1276 pages
Several editions
HOLLIS Records
--See the reviews of Chinese names and biographical sources in Chapter 3, People.

China bibliography: a research guide to reference works about China past and present, by Harriet T. Zurndorfer. Leiden ; New York : E.J. Brill, 1995, 380 p.
HOLLIS Records
--Chapter 4, Biography in China Past and Present, pp. 137-169.

Twentieth century China: an annotated bibliography of reference works in Chinese, Japanese, and western languages, by James H. Cole. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004. 2 v.
--See volume 2.

Chinese Biographies, edited by Hanno E. Lecher. (Internet Guide for Chinese Studies) is a useful list of online sources.


Lodwick, Kathleen L. "The Chinese Recorder" index : a guide to Christian missions in Asia, 1867-1941. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1986. 2 v.
Widener  |  Ch2.3.13.7
--The missionary periodical The Chinese Recorder is a major source for biographical information on Christian missionaries in China.  Vol. 1 is an index by name. Vol. 2 includes indexes of persons by affiliation and by location, together with lists of women, medical doctors, and women medical doctors.  Vol. 2 also includes indexes of non-biographical material by subject and by missions and other organizations.  There is a list of missions and other organizations by location.  The Chinese biographical dictionary Jin dai lai Hua wai guo ren ming ci dian serves to connect  names of missionaries in Chinese characters to the Western form of the name, whence it can be looked up in The Chinese Recorder" index. 

Jin dai lai Hua wai guo ren ming ci dian / Zhongguo she hui ke xue yuan Jin dai shi yan jiu suo fan yi shi. Beijing : Zhongguo she hui ke xue chu ban she, 1981. 642 p.
Harvard-Yenching  |  (C)    |  DS734 .C45 1981x 
Harvard-Yenching  |  Harvard Depository (C)    |  DS734 .C45 1981x   c.2
Harvard-Yenching  |  Ref (C)    |  DS734 .C45 1981x


Wu, Eugene, 1922- Leaders of twentieth-century China; an annotated bibliography of selected Chinese biographical works in the Hoover Library. Stanford, Calif., Stanford University Press, 1956. vii, 106 p. (Hoover Institute and Library. Biographical series, 4)
Widener | Ch 153.456.15

Collective Biography

Association for Asian Studies. Ming Biographical History Project Committee. Dictionary of Ming biography, 1368-1644 / the Ming Biographical History Project of the Association for Asian Studies ; L. Carrington Goodrich, editor, Chaoying Fang, associate editor. New York : Columbia University Press, 1976. 2 v. (xxi, 1751 p.)
Widener | Ch 247.7
--Substantial signed articles with extensive source lists referring to predominantly Chinese-language sources. Indexed selectively by names appearing in the biographies as well as their subjects, also by topics and titles of books. Full text in Chinese biographical archive.

In the service of the Khan : eminent personalities of  the early Mongolian period (1200-1300) / edited by  Igor de Rachewiltz ... [et al.] with the assistance of  May Wang.   Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz, 1993. 808 p.   (Asiatische Forschungen, 0571-320X ; Bd. 121 )
Widener | WID-LC | DS752.5 .I52 1993x

Biographical dictionary of Chinese women / editors-in-chief, Lily Xiao Hong Lee and A.D. Stefanowska; assisted by Sue Wiles. Armonk, N.Y. : M. E. Sharpe, c1998- 1. The Qing Period, 1644-1911 -- 2. The twentieth century, 1912-2000.
Widener | WID-LC | HQ1767.5.A3 B56 1998
--Articles of variable length (most commonly two pp.). Source lists with each article. Terminal “Finding List by Background or Field of Endeavor”in each vol. Coverage: vol. 1. The Qing Period, 1644-1911; vol. 2. The twentieth century, 1912-2000; vol. 3. Antiquity through Sui, 1600 B.C.E.-618 C.E.  About 300 biographies per vol.  Vol. 2., The twentieth century, 1912-2000 (only) indexed in Biography and genealogy master index.
--Also see Notable women of China: Shang dynasty to the early twentieth century with articles on 91 women largely Shang-Qing with substantial source lists. Articles grouped by era. Subject index. 

Notable women of China : Shang dynasty to the early twentieth century / editor-in-chief, Barbara Bennett Peterson ; associate editors, He Hong Fei ... [et al.]. Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, 2000, 402 p.
Harvard-Yenching  |  (W)    |  HQ1767.5.A3 N68 2000

Biographical dictionary of Republican China. Howard L. Boorman, editor; Richard C. Howard, associate editor. New York, Columbia University Press, 1967-79. 5 v. map.
--Intended as a supplement to Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing period 280396 and concentrating on figures of the period 1911-49. Includes both living and deceased persons; about 600 biographies in the complete set. The final volume includes an extensive bibliography which lists the writings by the subject of each article in the dictionary, together with the sources (books, periodicals, manuscripts) used in preparing the article. Vol. 5 is a personal name index. A substantial and scholarly work. Full text in Chinese biographical archive. 283544  

Perleberg, Max, 1900- Who's who in modern China : from the beginning of the Chinese Republic to the end of 1953  / by Max Perleberg. Hong Kong : Ye Olde Printerie, 1954. xii, 428 p. : col. ill., 2 diagrs. (folded) ;
Widener | Ch 153.902   Full text in Chinese biographical archive.

A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220 A.D.), by Rafe De Crespigny. (Handbook of Oriental studies, Section 4, China, v. 19)  Leiden ; Boston : Brill,  2007, 1306 p.
Location :  Harvard-Yenching Ref (W) DS748.15 .D4 2007x
Subject :  China -- History -- Han dynasty, 202 B.C.-220 A.D. -- Biography -- Dictionaries.
--Information, often very brief, on roughly 21,000 persons. Articles keyed to substantial bibliography.  Terminal section includes genealogical tables, list (with brief information) of provinces and “commandery” units, overview of administrative structure, bibliography, and subject index.

Chinese biographical archive 

Chinese biographical database https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/cbdb

A Chinese biographical dictionary / by Herbert A. Giles. London : Bernard Quaritch ; Shanghai : Kelly & Walsh, ltd.; 1898. xii, 1022 p. ;
Widener | Ch 7.1
--Covers figures from the earliest, and even legendary, times to the date of publication. Not completely superseded by more recent works. Full text in Chinese biographical archive. 283544  Many inaccuracies, some of which are corrected by E. von Zach’s "Einige Verbesserungen zu Giles' Chinese biographical dictionary," (Asia major vol. 3 (1926), pp. 545-568), Paul Pelliot’s "A propos du 'Chinese biographical dictionary' de M. H. Giles" (Asia major vol. 4 (1927), pp. 377-389) and Pelliot’s "Les Yi nien lou" T'oung pao vol. 25 (1927), pp. 65-81).
--Indexed by Supplementary index to Giles' "Chinese biographical dictionary", 585101 by Irvin Van Gorder Gillis and Yü Ping-yüeh.

Goodman, David S. G. China's provincial leaders, 1949-1985. Atlantic Highlands, NJ : Humanities Press International, 1986-
Fung Library  |  Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies    |  DS778.A1 G66 1986 
Harvard-Yenching  |  Ref (W)    |  DS778.A1 G66 1986
--Covers from 1949 to the Communist Party conference of Sept. 1985. Lists Party and state officials, and army leaders under province, giving Pinyin and Wade-Giles names, position, and earliest/latest known dates. Based on primary source research. Vols. 2-3 were to have detailed biographies, but only vol. 1 published.

Goldfiem, Jacques de. Personnalits des provinces chinoises. Jouy-en-Josas, France: HEC Eurasia Institute, [1995] 209 p. Widener | WID-LC | CT1822 .G66 1995x
--Includes 372 entries alphabetically under province with name index. For the post-1985 era

Klein, Donald W. Biographic dictionary of Chinese communism, 1921-1965. Harvard East Asian series, 57. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1971.
LOCATION: Lamont: REF.ROOM DS778.A1 K55 1971
--Offers "433 biographies of men and women who contributed to the Chinese Communist movement from the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party in l92l to 1965."-lntrod.  Articles have cross-references and source notes. Appendixes provide various lists (e.g., participation in important events, travel abroad, fields of work). Bibliography. Personal name index, with names of biographees in italics. Full text in Chinese biographical archive.

Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing period (1644-1912), ed. by Arthur W. Hummel. Washington: Library of Congress. Orientalia Division, 1943-44. 2 v.
Online full text:  vol 1
Online full text:  vol 2
--Over 800 sketches of eminent Chinese, dying before 1912, of the epoch ruled by the Ch'ing dynasty (1644-1912).  Detailed, authoritative, signed articles with references to sources.  Considerable information on people dying after 1912 may be found within the main articles via the name index.  Terminal list of biographees arranged in chronological order, name index (including names mentioned within biographies), index of titles of books, and subject index. Full text in Chinese biographical archive.

Loewe, Michael. A biographical dictionary of the Qin, former Han and Xin periods, 221 BC - AD 24. Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2000, 837 p. : maps ;\
Widener | WID-LC | DS747.38 .L63 2000
--Over 6000 entries on Chinese and non-Chinese persons living 221 BC - AD 24. Entries from one sentence to ten pages depending on information available. Articles have references to primary and secondary sources.  NIS

Political leaders of modern China : a biographical dictionary / edited by Edwin Pak-wah Leung. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2002, 278 p. Politicians -- China -- Biography -- Dictionaries. 19th – 20th century
Widener | WID-LC | DS755.3 .P64 2002

Sung biographies, ed. by Herbert Franke.1. Aufl.Wiesbaden : Steiner, 1976-v. ; (Mnchener ostasiatische Studien ; Bd. 16, 17 )
Fine Arts | Reading Room | RFA56.71.83
--Biographies of 440 persons (263 in English, 168 in German, 9 in French) for the Sung period (AD 960-1279). Vols. 1-3 cover 405 people with a few Tibetan, Japanese and other foreigners. Vol. 4 devoted to 35 painters.  Each biography has reference list.  Few Buddhist or Taoist Chinese represented.  Biographies vary widely in quality and length, and there are major omissions. Review: A. P. Cohen in Journal of the American Oriental Society, v. 99, no 1 (1979), pp. 126-128. Full text in Chinese biographical archive.

Who's who in China, 1918-1950 : with an index / compiled by Jerome Cavanaugh. Hong Kong : Chinese Materials Center, 1982. 3 v.  
Widener | WID-LC | DS778.A1 W443 x, 1982
--Reprints with added index and historical preface the six eds. (with supplements) of Who's who in China. Originally published: 1st ed. 1918; 2nd ed. 1920; 3rd ed. 1925; 3rd ed. Suppl. 1928?; 4th ed. 1932; 4th ed. Suppl. 1933; 5th ed. 1936; 5th ed. Suppl. 1940; 6th ed. 1950. The 5th ed. is the first in the series to include biographies of women. Full text of original eds. in Chinese biographical archive.


Who's who in the socialist countries (1978).

Who's who in the People's Republic of China / by Wolfgang Bartke ; [English translation by Franciscus Verellen]. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, c1981. xii, 729 p.
Harvard-Yenching | Ref (W) | DS778.A1 B33  1981, 1987, 1991
--Eds. 1-3 (1981, 1987, 1991).  Intended as a guide to the currently active leaders of China; information was drawn "primarily from the daily Chinese press...and reports from the Summary of World Broadcasts of the BBC." -Pref. Includes government and mass organization officials at levels specified in the standards for inclusion. Names are entered according to the pinyin system of transliteration; Chinese characters are also given. Details concerning date and place of birth, education, etc., were often not available and numerous entries consist only of positions held and a chronology of appointments and official activities. Many entries include a photograph. An extensive appendix offers background tables, lists of party, govemment, and mass organization officials, etc. The 3rd ed. "contains 4,120 biographies and includes only 40% of the contents of the 2nd ed.' (Pref.) A list of 1,340 cadres who were deceased or lost their official positions since the 2nd ed., with dates of death or "last appearance", is appended to v. 2. All three volumes indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047 and full text in Chinese biographical archive.

Bartke’s Who was who in the People's Republic of China includes about 3000 biographies revised from the three eds. of his Who's who in the People's Republic of China of persons who have died, resigned, emigrated. Thus persons in one of Bartke’e Who’s who eds. who are still alive and active will not be found in Who was who.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture / edited by Edward L. Davis. London; New York: Routledge, 2005, 786 p.
Widener  |  WID-LC    |  DS779.23 .E53 2005x
--Post World War II



South Asia  --  China


World Biographical Information System includes full text of thousands of biographical dictionaries accessible by name of biographee. Online full text. You can limit the search to a particular archive, say, the Indian Biographical Archive. More information.  Some of the component biographical archives, including Arab-Islamic, Indian, Japanese, and South East Asian, do not offer full test, but do give references to biographical works.

The More Biographical Sources page gives additional sources and more countries.

South Asia

The biographical dictionary of greater India. New Delhi: Promilla & Co., 1998.

Dictionary of Indian biography, edited by IBC Research Wing. Varanasi : Indian Bibliographic Centre, 2000. xxvii, 477 p.
--Includes about 1000 deceased persons from the last 150 years. About half are political leaders. Scholars are well-represented; other occupations receive less coverage.

Muslims in India: a biographical dictionary, ed. by Naresh Kumar Jain. New Delhi: Manohar, 1979-1983. 2 v.

Women in Indian history : a biographical dictionary / T. P. Saxena. New Delhi : Kalyani Publishers, c1979. 114 p.

Dictionary of national biography. Edited by S. P. Sen. Calcutta, Institute of Historical Studies, 1972-74. 4 v.

Personalities, Sri Lanka: a biographical study (15th-20th century), 1490-1990 A.D., A-Z, by K.D.G. Wimalaratne. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Ceylon Business Appliances Ltd., 1994, xxxix, 149 p.


Who's who in India Calcutta, Kothari Publications, 1973.


Chinese History: a new manual, by Endymion Wilkinson. Fifth ed. Cambridge, MA: Endymion Wilkinson, c/o Harvard University Asia Center, 2018, 1276 pages
Several editions
HOLLIS Records
--See the reviews of Chinese names and biographical sources in Chapter 3, People.

Chinese Biographies, ed. by Hanno E. Lecher  

China Vitae offers over 2500 biographies of current Chinese political, military, business, and academic figures. Sophisticated searching and cross-referencing techniques available. Related database, VIP Appearances, tracks public appearances by senior Chinese officials.

Who's who current Chinese leaders = Zhongguo dang zheng jun gao ji ling dao ren ci dian, by Meirong He. Hong Kong : Wen Wei Pub. Co. Ltd., 1st ed. 2003, 456 p.    OK In (1989- )
Fung Library Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies DS779.28 .W56 2003x
--Entries in English and Chinese, most with photographs. Covers about 1,800 "current senior officials at the central level and in the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions." Publishers' note, 2003 ed. Each entry provides birth date, present position, and career summary; current addresses are not listed.  List of personnel of government agencies and political parties at front.  Appendix lists major government units,  their addresses and directors.  Earlier eds.: 2001, 1998, 1994 (also on CD-ROM), 1989.  Full text of 1989 and 1994 eds. in Chinese biographical archive.

Goldfiem, Jacques de. Personnalits chinoises d'aujourd'hui / Jacques de Goldfiem. Paris : L'Harmattan, c1989. 377 p. ; (( Sinologie ) ) Widener | RR1658.6.5
Full text in Chinese biographical archive.

Chinese Communist who's who. Taipei, Institute of International Relations, 1970-71. 2 v.
Widener | WID-LC | DS778.A1 C4913
--An updated English ed. of Chung kung jen ming lu.  Full text in Chinese biographical archive

Who's who in Communist China. [Rev. ed.] Kowloon, Union Research Institute [1969-70] 2 v. (897 p.) East Asian Res Ctr | 51.877.2 Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS778.A1 W46
Biographies of major personalities in contemporary political, diplomatic, military, cultural, and scientific affairs. Information was drawn from the biographical files of the Union Research Institute and from major Chinese Communist and foreign publications. Text is in English, with Chinese characters added for personal and place-names. About 1,600 biographies in the 2nd ed., earlier sketches having been reviewed and updated as necessary; biographies of some recently deceased persons were retained because of continuing influence. 1st ed., 1966. Full text in Chinese biographical archive   

Who's who in China? / [editor-in-chief Gerald Leong]. Singapore : Inspire Publishing, 2004. 429 p. Fung Library  |  Fairbank Center for East Asian Research    |  CT1822 .W56 2004x

Who's who in China? Sutter  http://www.whoswho-sutter.com/indexen.htm
--Free version of biographies eventually to appear in printed ed. Searchable by name only.

Hong Kong


Xianggang ren ming lu = Who's who in Hong Kong.       1995-   Xianggang : Tian di tu shu you xian gong si, 1994-      Annual   Issued also in English ed.   Who's who in Hong Kong   Compiled by: PA kung kung shih wu chuan yeh ku wen kung  ssu.       Issued also on CD-Rom.  
Hong Kong (China)   -- Biography -- Periodicals.
Harvard-Yenching | (C) | DS796.H753 A25    NIS     OK In

Who's who in Hong Kong. Hong Kong : South China Morning Post, 1979-1985? v. : ports. ; 20- Widener | WID-LC |  HD DS796.H753 .A28x
--Full text (2nd ed, 1982)  in British biographical archive.
--Title varies slightly.Publ. by South China Morning Post, 1979-84. Based on response to questionnaires. English text; index in Chinese and English. DS796.H753A28

Hong Kong who's who : an almanac of personalities and  their history / edited and published by Rola Luzzatto.   1958/1960- 1970/73 2 eds.  Hong Kong : Rola Luzzatto
Widener | Ch 250.12 (1958-60)
Widener | Ch 250.10 (1970-73)
--About 625 rather detailed entries in 2nd ed.; about 900 less detailed entries in 1st.  Both eds. with occupation index.



Biographical sources for foreign countries Washington, 1944.   I. General.--II. Germany and Austria, compiled by N.R.  Burr.--III. The Philippines, compiled by Helen Dudenbostel Jones.--IV. The Japanese empire, compiled  by N.R. Burr.   
Widener | H 1139.44.10 
--Annotated list of biographical dictionaries, directories, and periodicals containing biographical information on living persons of the World War II era.   Largely organized by profession.  Many of the serial publications listed extend into pre- and post-War era.   Vol. I. General, vol. II. Germany and Austria, vol. III. The Philippines, vol. IV. The Japanese empire.

Collective Biography

Biographical dictionary of Japanese history /  supervising editor, Seiichi Iwao ; translator, Burton  Watson.   Tokyo : Kodansha International in collaboration with  the International Society for Educational Information ;  New York : distributed through Harper & Row, 1978.  655 p.
Widener | WID-LC | DS834 .B56 x NIS
Biographies of 521 persons, including political, military, scholarly, scientific, religious figures.  Many with portraits.  Arranged alphabetically within chapters: Ancient, Medieval (1185-1572), Early Modern (1572-1868), Modern (1868- ).  Appendixes on genealogy of major families, Buddhist sects, political organization, administrative divisions, etc.  Terminal bibliography of Japanese sources.  Name/subject/title index.  In same series: Biographical dictionary of Japanese Art 374022 and Biographical dictionary of Japanese Literature (also 1982 ed.) 136404. These three books have been combined on one CD-ROM. 407361 For living and deceased artists, writers, performers, journalists, some politicians, etc., see Encyclopedia of contemporary Japanese culture 373997 which covers the post-1945 era emphasizing recent decades.

Japanese biographical archive

The Japan biographical encyclopedia & who's who, 1964-65. Compiled and edited by the staff of the Japan Biographical Research Dept., the Rengo Press. 3d. ed. Tokyo, Rengo Press [1963?] 2377 p. maps.
Widener Jpn 1855.5 Holdings : 1st-3rd ed.; 1958, 1960, 1964/65
15,730, 12000, 15,300
--Gives, in English, concise biographical sketches of about 15,300 notables in all fields, of all periods, living and dead, with names of religious, mythical, and legendary beings and a very few foreigners. Appendixes offer chronological lists of emperors, government officials, diplomatic representatives from other countries, etc., as well as a glossary defining Japanese terms. An "Inseki," indicating familial relationships between two or more of an selected group of Japanese notables, is printed on green paper. 1st ed., 1958; 2nd ed., 1961. Full text (2nd ed. only) in Japanese biographical archive.

Weston, Mark. Giants of Japan : the lives of Japan's greatest men and women. New York : Kodansha International, 1999, 377 p.
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | CD1833 .W47 1999


Who's who in Japan (Hong Kong) Who's who in Japan. Hong Kong : International Culture Institute, c1984-c1991. 3 v.
Widener | WID-LC | CT1836 .W47    NIS
--Includes over 2600 figures "from the fields of government, commerce and industry, medicine, journalism, visual and performing arts and cultural areas such as literature and education." Introd. Information is very brief, often no more than birth date, education, current position, and address. The 1991/1992 ed. lists approximately 28,000 entries, and includes an index by very broad professional categories and a classified business directory.  Earlier eds, 1984/1985, 1987/1988.   Full text (1991/1992 ed. only) in Japanese biographical archive.

An earlier Who's Who in Japan (1912-1940) is still useful for retrospective coverage. It includes a section on Europeans in Japan. Full text (1938 ed. only) in Japanese biographical archive.

Dai Nihon hakushiroku : = Who's who hakushi in great Japan / edited by K.R. Iseki. Tokyo : Hattensha, TaishÅ* 10- 1921-30. 5v. : ill., ports. ; Widener | Jpn 1855.12

People's Republic of Korea

Collective Biography

Korean biographical archive 

Republic of Korea

Collective Biography

Korean biographical archive    OK In 2ndary

Saccone, Richard. Koreans to remember: fifty famous people who helped shape Korea. Elizabeth, N. J.: Hollym International, 1993.
LOCATION: Harvard-Yenching: (W) DS905.S23 1993 Chosen by interviews with Koreans.


Korea annual. Seoul, Korea : Hapdong News Agency, 1964-2004
41st ed.
Widener  |  RR 4361.7 Latest 
--Includes a who’s who section with roughly 3000 entries.  North Korean section has much less information on each of 350 North Koreans.  Who’s who started in 2nd ed. (1965).  


Collective Biography

Otness, Harold M. One thousand Westerners in Taiwan, to 1945: a biographical and bibliographical dictionary. [Taipei] : Institute of Taiwan History, Preparatory Office, Academia Sinica, [1999] 175 p. 
East Asian Res Ctr | DS799.6.Z99 O86 1999x    NIS
--Short entries with biographees’ writngs listed (including some periodical articles).  Terminal bibliography of major sources. 


Who's who in the Republic of China : Taiwan 2001 / [editor Irene Yeung]. 1st ed. Taipei, Taiwan : Government Information Office, c2001. 151 p. ;
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS799.6 .W46 2001x   (Series)
Entries on about 900 persons.  Terminal section: Members of the Fourth

Legislative Yuan (Feb. 1, 1999 - Jan. 31, 2002).  

Zhonghua min guo xian dai ming ren lu / Zhongguo ming  ren zhuan ji zhong xin bian yin ; [zhu bian Zhang  Chaowei].   Zhong Ying wen ban, 4 ban.   Taibei Shi : Zhongguo ming ren zhuan ji zhong xin, Min  guo 87 [1998]   2, 31, 1356, 2, 36 p. [1998]   
|Harvard-Yenching | (C) | DS799.832 .C48 1998x 
Harvard-Yenching | Ref (C) | DS799.832 .C48 1998x        Began with 1983/84
--About 3500 entries in Chinese and English with photographs. Cover title: Who's who of the Republic of China. Earlier eds. 1982, 1984, 1991. Full text of 1982 and 1984 eds. in Chinese Biographical Archive.