Great Lives from History. Pasadena, Calif. : Salem Press  All 2 vols.

Worldwide coverage with European emphasis. About 330 persons per set in 3-4 page articles with annotated source lists.  Good source for beginning researchers, especially for non-Anglo-American figures.  Each biography includes Significance section which places each life in historical context. Online description available Revised ed. of: Dictionary of world biography.  Published or forthcoming (each in two vols.:

The Ancient World

The Middle Ages

The Renaissance & Early Modern Era, 1454-1600

The 17th Century 

The 18th Century

The 19th Century 

Notorious Lives

The 20th Century


Dupuy, Trevor Nevitt. The Harper encyclopedia of military biography. 1st ed. New York, NY: HarperCollins, c1992. LOCATION: Widener: RR 3607.47   

Concise sketches of some 3,000 world military leaders from antiquity through the Kuwait War, usually ending with a paragraph evaluating the individual's character, abilities, and contributions. Articles with lists of primarily English-language sources. Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047.

Three more recent works cover fewer figures, often with longer articles: Macmillan dictionary of military biography (about 400 articles, no sources), 378968 World military leaders: a biographical dictionary (about 215 articles with sources), 379054 Who's who in military history: from 1453 to the present day (roughly 650 articles, no sources, indexed (1st ed. 1976 only) in Biography and genealogy master index 160047.) 378938  

Encyclopedia of Life Writing  OK  In

Over 600 articles on genres (e.g., case histories, letters), themes (childhood, disability, identity), contexts (apartheid, Islam) and authors of life writing. Articles cover eras (Classical) and regional traditions (Caribbean: Francophone, Japan: Heian Period). Each article includes references. Thematic list broadly categorizes the articles by chronology, region and subject. Author, title, and subject indexes.  Available through Xrefer. Encyclopedia of Women’s Autobiography 394014 is a similar but more specialized work. 

For the current literature on life writing see “Annual Bibliography of Works about Life Writing” which has appeared in the journal Biography since 1978.  For French-language literature see Philippe Lejeune’s  Autopacte site which offers bibliographies of personal writings. (In print: Bibliographie des etudes en langue francaise sur la litterature personnelle et les recits de vie (1984- )). 375585   IN ZA  

Biography (journal) in ZA

Encyclopedia of Women’s Autobiography 394014. Ed. by Victoria Boynton and Jo Malin. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2005. 2 vols. acid free $249.95 (ISBN 0- 313-32737-8). SECONDARY DONE

FemBio. Institute for Women's Biography Research Hannover/Boston

Luise F. Pusch Hannover, Germany 

Includes over 6600 short biographies of deceased women worldwide.  Most available in English, some in German only. Some entries give substantial information; others are skeletal. Emphasis on European, especially German women.  Full entries have source lists, web links, and often portraits and other photographs.  Database searchable by name, birth/death dates and places, century, occupation, nationality.  Searches can be limited by various, sometimes odd, criteria (e.g., Loved cats, Loved a younger man). Some entries In German only.   

Heinzel, E. (Erwin). Lexikon historischer Ereignisse und Personen in Kunst, Literatur und Musik. Wien: Bruder Hollinek, 1956. LOCATION: Widener: Harvard Depository D9.H48   MISSING

Jewish Women

Includes about 1,700 biographical and 330 topical articles on Jewish women from Biblical times to the present.  Includes prominent living women over age of 50. Illustrated.  Full-text search of articles and captions, and category (occupation), century, and country searches. Abundant cross-references. Glossary and cross-references. Contributions from about 940 scholars.  Some articles are reproduced from Hyman’s Jewish Women in America.  160268    


Comprehensive and still very useful compilation of biographical sketches of scholars of many nationalities and periods but particularly strong for the Middle Ages.  Includes persons living before 1750.  A supplement, Fortsetzung und Erganzungen ..394112. adds more names from the period covered by the original, as well as others of a slightly later date. In both references are given to sources, and source lists, especially in the supplement, are quite full. The 7 v. of the supplement cover A-Romuleus (no more were published). Suppl. was reprinted, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1961. The Allgemeine Gelehrten-Lexikon and its supplement are available full text in the World Biographical Information System. 164631     

Lesser-known women: a biographical dictionary, 1992.

LOCATION: Widener: RR4761.21.5  ZA

Includes over 800 living and deceased women arranged chronologically (1600-1991) by year of most significant achievement.  Entries are keyed to about 600 numbered sources in a terminal bibliography. Indexes list biographees by name, country, and profession. 

Merriam-Webster's biographical dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1995. LOCATION: Widener: RR 1701.10.5 merriam-web a96    

Over 30,000 deceased figures. Pronounciations given. Politics and literature emphasized. Current and 1988 eds. expand coverage of Africans and Asians.  Occupation index.  Post 1976 eds. exclude living persons. Previously Webster’s new biographical dictionary, and before 1983, Webster’s biographical dictionary, 1st ed., 1943. Full text (1995 ed.) in Biography resource center. 160013     

Webster's new biographical dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, c1988. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC CT103.W4 1988

OUTThe New Century cyclopedia of names. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts [1954]. LOCATION: Widener: RR 2003. 38 Library has: 3 v.    IN 

A complete modernization and revision of the Century cyclopedia of names originally issued as v. 11 of the Century dictionary and cyclopedia (AC 11 note). More than twice as large as the previous work, this edition contains entries for more than 100,000 proper names: "persons, places, historical events, plays and operas, works of fiction, literary characters, works of art, mythological and legendary persons and places and any other class of proper names of interest or importance today." Pref. Pronunciation is indicated; articles vary in length from two lines to more than half a page. Numerous appendixes, including a chronological table of world history, lists of rulers, genealogical charts, and a list of prenames with pronunciations. Repr.: Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, [1977?].

Also useful for pronounciations:  Joseph Thomas’ Universal pronouncing dictionary of biography and mythology

Thomas, Joseph. Universal pronouncing dictionary of biography and mythology. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1976, c1870. LOCATION: Widener: RR 1701. 7  ZA

The Who's who of Nobel Prize winners, 1901-2000. 4th ed. Westport, CT: Oryx Press, 2002. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC AS911.N9 W53 2002

SECONDARY-Done See AL170  Indexed in 160047 Biography and genealogy master index 160047 (1-3 ed.)  In Ebrary

Nobel prize winners: an H.W. Wilson biographical dictionary. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1987. LOCATION: Widener: RR 1505. 2.7  Indexed in 160047 Biography and genealogy master index 160047. Full text in Biography Reference Bank.


Nobel Prize Winners. Supplement 1987-1991. Edited by Paula McGuire. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1992. 'Nobel Prize Winners Who Have Died since 1986' section appears on page 25. Indexed in 160047 Biography and genealogy master index 160047.  

Nobel Prize winners. 1992-1996, Supplement : an H.W. Wilson biographical dictionary / editor, Clifford Thompson.  New York : H.W. Wilson Co., c1997

Nobel Prize winners. an H.W. Wilson biographical dictionary / 1997-2001, supplement. Rich, Mari.; Cavalli, Dimitri. New York : H.W. Wilson, 2002

Nobel Prize Winners

Nobel Prize Winners Supplement 1987-2001 (3 vols.)

Both Full Text in Biography Reference Bank

Oettinger, Eduard Maria. Moniteur des dates: Biographisch-genealogisch -historisches Welt-Register. Leipzig: L. Denicke, 1869-1882. 

LOCATION: Houghton: Reading Room HRR 5 6 F          MISSING

The Oxford encyclopedia of women in world history / Bonnie G. Smith, editor in chief. Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008  4 v. 

Widener  |  RR 1701.60

Signed, scholarly articles include nearly 1250 topical (many geographical) and biographical entries, ranging from a few paragraphs to several pages (especially the topical essays). Each article with source list, largely in English but with foreign language sources where critical. Alphabetical article list for all 4 vols. in 1st vol., followed by lengthy chronology. Vol. 4 includes a topical outline of articles, list of contributors, and substantial index. 

Palmer, Alan.  Who's who in modern history: From 1860 to the present day covers about 900 persons active from 1860 to the present.  The books in the brief source notes to each article are useful in that they are often contextual historical works rather than biographies.

ProQuest obituaries 

Currently over 10.5 million full text obituaries and death notices from Atlanta Journal constitution, (1868-1929), Boston globe (1872-1923), Chicago defender (1909-1975), Chicago tribune (1849- ), Los Angeles times (1881- ), New York times (1851- ), Washington post (1877- ). Searchable by name, date, and keyword.  Additional material from new and currently included newspapers will be added.

Rappaport Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers  SECONDARY-Done

Vernoff, Edward and Rima Shore .The Penguin international dictionary of contemporary biography : from 1900 to the present. New York : Penguin Reference, 2001.  

New ed. (1st ed. 1987) adds over 400 biographies for a total of 6065, with about a third living persons.  Good coverage of non-North Americans/Europeans.  List of biographees by area of activity, subdivided geographically.  Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047. 

Vernoff, Edward and Rima Shore.The international dictionary of 20th-century biography New York : New American Library, c1987. 819 p. ; Widener | RR1503.29

Who's Alive and Who's Dead

Lists famous persons under a variety of categories giving death dates or approximate ages if alive

Who's who in gay and lesbian history: from antiquity to World War II. London; New York: Routledge, 2001. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC HQ75.2.W47 2001x    

SECONDARYDoneTwo volumes: Who's who in gay and lesbian history: from antiquity to World War II and  Who's who in contemporary gay and lesbian history: from World War II to the present day. The two volumes cover about 1000 individuals important in gay/lesbian history whether homosexual or not.  Considerable worldwide coverage.  Articles have source lists. Available in NetLibrary: 

FUTURE Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047. 

Who's who in contemporary gay and lesbian history : from World War II to the present day / Robert Aldrich; Garry Wotherspoon 2001 xix, 460 p. ; London ; New York : Routledge, ISBN: 041522974X

Women in world history : a biographical encyclopedia / Anne Commire, editor ; Deborah Klezmer, associate editor. Waterford, CT : Yorkin Publications, c1999-C2002. 17 v.

Widener | RR 1701.50  

Covers over 10,000 women, living and deceased, from Antiquity to the present.  Articles range from a paragraph to several pages.  Most articles have source lists, which include the location of personal papers.  Abundant name cross-references are provided, and each entry starts with a list of variant names.  There are many brief articles in side-boxes. These are sometimes in the main alphabetical sequence, but often they are with topically related entries, so the index must be used to find them.   Authors are under-represented because there are many other sources for literary biography.  Volume I begins with 90 dynastic genealogical charts, grouped by country. The last volume (v. 17) contains indexes by name with variant spellings, by occupation/experience, by era (32nd Century BCE-21st Century), by geography.  Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047.    The same eds. later produced {i}{record}{id}602234{/id} Dictionary of women worldwide: 25,000 women through the ages {/record}{/i}covering 25,000 women with shorter entries.  


World biographical information system online is the electronic version of the microfiche biographical archives published by Saur since the 1980s and now being digitized at a rate of about 7-9 a year.  When finished in 2009, it will include the full text of entries from over 8,600 biographical dictionaries, in over 40 languages, and will contain biographies of over 5 million persons.  Fourteen archives are now (9/2007) represented by at least one series.

Each national/regional microfiche archive (listed below) includes articles, reproduced from biographical dictionaries and other reference works, in alphabetical order by biographee. Several of the archives comprise two or more A-Z series. Each archive and its components can be purchased separately. Descriptions of the Biographical archives, with lists of sources included are available on the Saur web site ( choose Biographies.

Most of the biographical archives are indexed in the World biographical index (available online, on CD-ROM, or online as a component of the World biographical information system online) and/or in printed indexes.  A few series remain unindexed. As new series are added to existing archives, new eds. of the printed indexes are published. Index entries can be searched in the online and CD-ROM versions by: Name, Gender, Period, Birth Year, Death Year, Year Cited, Occupation, Source, Country. Indexes give full references to the print sources. Unindexed archives must be searched directly on the microfiche.

World biographical information system online includes the index to all indexed archives plus links to full text in all archives currently available online and selected by the subscriber. 

More information is given in the entries on the particular biographical archives. These are:

African 284331

American 280884

Arabic Islamic 283511

Australasian 283635

Baltic  281972

Benelux 134698

British 150109

Canadian 283939

Chinese 283544

Classical  281700

Czech and Slovak 281885

French 166990

German 173507

Greek 283024

Hungarian 283041

Indian  283526

Italian  299177

Japanese 283606

Jewish 280876

Korean 283617

Polish 283148

Russian 281808

Scandinavian 150343

South East Asian 283498

South European 281712

Soviet (1917-1991) 281796

Spanish, Portuguese 280864  & Iberoamerican

Turkish 283239



Contemporary authors. First revision. v. 1/4-41/44. Detroit, Gale Research Co. [c1967-1979]. LOCATION: Widener: Harvard Depository CT 220.Z99 C661x

Major source for around 116,000 living (or dying since early 1960s) literary and non-literary writers worldwide. Articles typically include short critical essay (“Sidelights”);  brief who’s who type personal information (including agent); awards; brief career summary;  list of author’s writings; books, articles (including reviews) and/or websites about the author; and sometimes a portrait.  In print Contemporary Authors 1564953, new entries appear in Contemporary Authors (CA); revisions of CA entries appear in Contemporary Authors New Revision Series. For details on the print series see Guide to reference books, 11th ed. (AH42)  Cumulative index in print vol. and on free website Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index. 160047 Full text in Biography resource center. 160013  

Contemporary authors cumulative index.  

ISSN :  0196-0245 0196-0490  

Current biography. Bronx, N.Y.: H.W. Wilson Co.. LOCATION: Networked Resource: Ordered--currently received LOCATION: Widener: RR 1503.12 Library has: Current issues only   IN ZA

Online version includes all biographies back to 1940.  Adds about 150 biographies annually of persons of various nationalities, professions, and occupations, who are currently prominent in their particular fields. Information generally includes: full name, dates of birth and death, occupation and reason for newsworthiness, address, a biographical sketch of about 2,500 words, with portrait and references to sources.  Non-illustrated version available. Print Current biography yearbook 177928 indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047. Full text in Biography reference bank. 283767 Details of print ed. in Guide to reference sources (11th ed.).   

The International who's who. 1st- ed. London, Europa Publications Ltd. [1935- LOCATION: Widener: RR 1503.2 Latest H 1059.35 Earlier

Brief biographical data on prominent persons throughout the world.  Over 25,000 entries in 69th ed. (2006). Access to online version accompanies print copy or available independently.  Offers full-text searching and an obituaries list including entries for persons in recent editions (largely 2000- , some back to 1995) now deceased. Introductory section on reigning royal families. Indexed in {i}{record}{id}160047{/id}Biography and genealogy master index{/record}{/i} (38th (1974)-penultimate ed.). See also {i}{record}{id}112758{/id}Who's who in the world{/record}{/i}.     101131 print

The international who's who of women. 1st ed.- London: Europa Publications Ltd., c1992- LOCATION: Widener: RR1505.30   MISSING Replaced

Over 6500 entries in the 2006 (5th) ed.  Little overlap with International who's who.  101131 1st ed. 1992, 2nd ed. 1997, 3rd ed. 2002, 4th ed. 2004. The 2nd ed. is Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047   

Who's who in international organizations : a biographical encyclopedia of more than 19,000 leading personalities. 3 v. München : K.G. Saur, 4th ed. 2003. 

RR 1505.9.6 F 

Biographical data on over 21,000 persons (5th ed., 2006) serving in organizations listed in the Yearbook of International Organizations.  Vol. 3: name indexes by organization, by area of concern, and by country.  Appendixes include statistical breakdowns by area of concern, language, birth year, and education.  1st ed.:1992; 2nd.: 1995; 3rd.: 2000; 4th.: 2003. A similar work of the same title, also under the auspices of the Union of International Associations, was published in 1962/1963, 1964/1965. 453075   

Who's who in the world. 1st- ed.; 1971/72- Chicago, Marquis Who's Who, inc. LOCATION: Widener: RR 1503.20 Latest H 1052.10 Earlier 

Over 60,000 biographies in the current edition (24th, 2007) are drawn from "virtually every nation" Pref. Invites comparison with International who's who 101131 and includes many of the same names, though there is far less overlap than one might expect.  Professional index by areas of activity. Included (1985- ) in Marquis Who’s Who on the Web and Biography resource center 160013. Available online in Xrefer  Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047 (1974- ).  




Zubatsky, David S. Jewish autobiographies and biographies: an international bibliography of books and dissertations in English. New York: Garland, 1989. 

LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC DS115.Z99 Z83 1989x    
Internet Archive Full Text
A listing of autobiographies and biographies of Jews, including converts to Judaism, living from the 1st century CE to the present. Arranged alphabetically by biographee. Topical index.  Full text in Jewish biographical archive.  Z6374.B5Z78       

Collective Biography

Jewish biographical archive  280876      Primary

Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. Dictionary of Jewish biography. NY; London: Continuum, 2005, 308 p.
Widener  |  WID-LC    |  BM50 .C635 2005x
Internet Archive Full Text
--Almost 4000 brief entries, including some living persons, with no references or subject access.  Includes non-Jews important in Jewish history. Longer entries available in Geoffrey Wigoder’s Dictionary of Jewish biography 160069 and Joan Comay’s Who's who in Jewish history: after the period of the Old Testament 285270 which each cover around 1000 deceased (with a few exceptions) figures. Comay’s thematic index lists persons under occupations and subjects. Wigoder and Comay both full text in Jewish biographical archive 280876.  The Encyclopedia Judaica 159475 is also an important biographical source.

Dictionary of Jewish biography, by Geoffrey Wigoder,


Contemporary Black biography. Vol. 1- Detroit: Gale Research Inc., c1992-
LOCATION: Widener: RR 4781.41.59
--Substantial articles (two to six pages), with source references. Each volume has about 70 articles. Many entries have photographs or interviews. Covers primarily (but not exclusively) living persons; about 80% are Americans. Indexed by nationality, occupation, subject, and name. Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index, Full text in Biography resource center. In Black and white: a guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning more than 15,000 Black individuals and groups 225747 includes a few non-U. S. individuals. 

Who's who in world Jewry. New York: Pitman Pub. Corp.  LOCATION: Widener: RR 1505.1 Latest Jud 200.6 Earlier

Although international in scope, high percentage of biographees from U.S. Frequency varies; publisher varies.  Earlier eds.:  1955 (, 1965, 1972 (, 1978, 1987 ( Full text (1955, 1987 eds.) in Jewish biographical archive.