United States

Many states have their own biographical dictionaries, e.g., Dictionary of Virginia biography


Herman, Kali. Women in particular: an index to American women. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1984. LOCATION: Widener: RR 1501. 26

Index to biographical articles on women in some 54 works of collective biography. Comprises five indexes: (1) Field and career index; (2) Religious affiliation index; (3) Ethnic and racial index; (4) Geographical index; and (5) Alphabetical index. Biographees are entered in as many of the first four sections (and subsections) as are applicable, with full information (name, dates, occupation or field of activity, places of residence, religion, ethnicity, and references to biographical sources) repeated at each entry. The alphabetical (biographee) index lists entries in the other four indexes.


Adamson, Lynda G. Notable women in American history : a guide to recommended biographies and autobiographies / Lynda G. Adamson. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999. xiv, 450 p. Widener | WID-LC | CT3260.Z99 A316 1999x

Biographies of 500 women each with list of biographies, autobiographies, etc., published since 1970. A few post-1970 reprints of pre-1970 books included. Appendixes by Year of birth, Title, Occupation or Main Area of Interest, Ethnicity.

Sweeney’s Biographies of American women / an annotated bibliography 280428 gives short evaluative annotations of 1391 (over 50-page) biographies with appendix: Women by Profession or Category. Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index

Personal writings by women to 1900 : a bibliography Of American and British writers which includes over 4000 autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, etc, many briefly annotated and with chronological list and subject index. BE508

See also:

Addis, Patricia K.. Through a woman’sI: an annotated bibliography of American women’sautobiographical writings, 1946-1976. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1983. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC CT3260.Z99 A32 x, 1983

First person female American: a selected and annotated bibliography of the autobiographies of American women living after 1950 with 333 entries. No occupational index. List of Topics of Interest to Women’s Studies keyed to entries.

Davis, Gwenn and Beverly A. Joyce. Personal writings by women to 1900 : a bibliography Of American and British writers. London ; New York : Mansell, 1989, 294 p.

First person female American: a selected and annotated bibliography of the autobiographies of American women living after 1950. American notes & queries supplement; v. 2. Troy, N.Y.: Whitston Pub. Co., 1980. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC HQ1412.Z99 F57 x

Kaplan, Louis. A bibliography of American autobiographies. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1961. LOCATION: Widener: RR 1712.6

Arranges 6,377 numbered entries alphabetically by author. The subject index indicates occupation, locale, and important historical events, as well as some other categories. Many headings are subdivided by period--e.g., Doctors: to 1800, 1800-50, 1850-1900, 1900-45. Ethnicity included in index.

Continued by {i}American autobiography, 1945-1980 : a bibliography{/i} 340877 which lists more than 5,000 autobiographies published in book form 1945-80; some pre-1945 items not cited in Kaplan have been included. Main entry listing; annotations; subject index. Ethnicity included in index.

Collective Biography

American national biography. 1999. 24 v.

Preeminent source for well-known deceased Americans. Articles (several hundred to several thousand words) include lists of primary (with locations of manuscript collections) and secondary sources. Online version is searchable full-text and by birthplace, gender, birth/death dates, and occupations and realms of renown. Cross-references and illustrations, lacking in the print, are supplied in the online version. The print ANB covers about 17,450 people dying before 1996. About 100 entries on people dying since 1996 or otherwise omitted from the printed version added every quarter to the online version. Biography and genealogy master index 16004 indexes original version and Supplements 1 and 2, but not additions to electronic version not yet incorporated into a supplement.

Print version has four indexes in vol. 24: list of biographees, biographees by contributor, by birthplace, and by “occupations and realms of renown”. Occupations are not grouped, so one must scan the whole index to find all, say, scientific disciplines or religious denominations. Supplements I (2002) and II (2005) adding persons omitted from the main set and those dying since 1996 offer an improved cumulative occupational index listing occupations and “realms of renown” under 17 categories. No index to subjects and persons mentioned in articles, unlike the old Dictionary of American biography (DAB).

Although ANB articles largely replace those in the DAB and its supplements, some 9000 persons in the DAB do not appear in the American national biography because they were not selected for the ANB or their ANB articles have not yet appeared. The DAB is thus still essential for historical research. The persons selected for the ANB are much more ethnically diverse and with more women than the DAB. Significant temporary residents and foreigners of importance in U. S. history are included. Numerous reviews including E. S. Morgan and M. Morgan’s Who’s really who in New York review of books (v. 47, no. 4, pp. 38-43. March, 9 2000).

Fohlen C The American National Biography REV HISTORIQUE (612): 964-966 OCT-DEC 1999

Morgan Edmund S. and Marie Morgan M. Who’s really who. New York Review of Books v. 47, no. 4, pp. 38-43. March, 9 2000.

American national biography. Supplement 1 / edited by Paul Betz. New York : Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. 792 p. ; Schlesinger | Ref. | 973 D55a, Supp. Andover-Harv. Theol | Ref. | CT213 .A68 1999 Suppl. 1

Appleton’scyclopaedia of American biography. Detroit, Gale Research Co., 1968. LOCATION: Widener: RR 1711.4 Library has: 7 v. Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index.

Dobson, John Blythe. The spurious articles in Appleton’sCyclopaedia of American Biography: Some new discoveries and considerations. Biography 1993 16(4): 388-408. Listed at Museum of Hoaxes

Museum of Hoaxes

Online version (2000)


The Cambridge dictionary of American biography. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. [ARBA96]

LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC CT213.C36 1995

Covers about 9000 living and deceased (about 70%) persons. Includes wide range of professions. Full gender and ethnic representation emphasized. Includes list of biographees under 62 occupational categories and name index. Available free through Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index.

Another one-volume dictionary is the Concise dictionary of American biography (5th ed.) 225728 presents the essential facts of each article in the Dictionary of American biography 149504and its 10 supplements. Deceased persons only. Occupation and birthplace indexes.

Dictionary of American biography. New York: C. Scribner’ssons, 1928-58.

LOCATION: Widener: RR 1711.2 Library has: 20 v.

The Dictionary of American biography (DAB) was, before the publication of the American National Biography (ANB), 165571 the preminent biographical dictionary for deceased Americans. Articles have source lists, often with locations of personal papers. The original 20 volume set was continued by 10 supplements (1944-1995) which include persons dying since the main set was published. Tenth suppl. covers 1976-1980.

Comprehensive index (1996) covers the original set and suppl. 1-10. Contains six separate indexes: (1) Names of subjects of biographies, with authors; (2) Contributors, with subjects of their articles; (3) Birthplaces, arranged alphabetically by (a) states and (b) foreign countries; (4) Schools and colleges attended by persons included in the dictionary; (5) Occupations; (6) Topics.

The DAB has not been superceded by the ANB; almost half of the 20,000 entries in the DAB and its supplements have not been treated in the ANB. For those that have, the original DAB volumes and the earlier supplements (suppl. 1-4) often include family history information not found in ANB articles.

Supplements were continued by Scribner encyclopedia of American lives, 285335 each volume of which includes around 300-500 deceased persons, with portraits for most and source notes. Occupational and cumulative entry indexes. Articles are authoritative but lighter in tone than those in the DAB. Vol. 1: 1981-1985; vol 2: 1986-1990; vol 3: 1991-1993; vol 4: 1994-1996; vol 5: 1997-1999; vol 6: 2000-2002 v. 7: 2003-2005.

The DAB, its supplements and The Scribner encyclopedia of American lives are all indexed in Biography and genealogy master index with full text in Biography resource center. 160013

Compared with the other principal older dictionaries, DAB is narrower in scope than Appleton ‘scyclopaedia of American biography 283864 which includes some Canadian and Latin American names, and is less inclusive than the National cyclopaedia of American biography (NCAB) 98264 which includes many more minor names, especially business figures. NCAB Index (1984) covers whole set, the individual volumes of which are not organized alphabetically. Appleton’s and NCAB articles lack source lists.

For more details on the DAB, Appleton’s and NCAB, see entries in Guide to reference books (11th ed.). For additional information on the hoax articles in Appleton’s see Museum of Hoaxes

Both Appleton’s and NCAB are indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047. Full text of Appleton’s is available in (2000) at Full text of NCAB (only vols. 1-13, 1898-1909) in American biographical archive.

National cyclopaedia of American biography. Vol. 1- New York: J.T. White, 1898-

LOCATION: Widener: RR 1711.8

Notable American women, 1607-1950: a biographical dictionary. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

LOCATION: Widener: RR 1711. 34 Library has: 3 v.

Biographical sketches of over 2,200 women. The original three volumes were followed by Notable American women: the modern period: a biographical dictionary which covers women who died 1951-75 and Notable American women: a biographical dictionary completing the twentieth century 365548 which covers women who died 1976-99. With few exceptions, the scholarly articles are signed and all include extensive source lists giving particular attention to unpublished sources. Classified index (by field) in each vol. A significant number of those found in the Dictionary of American Biography 149504 were purposely excluded from vols. 1-4. Over half of those in vol. 5 are not in the American National Biography. 165571 Vols. 1-4 indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047. All 5 vols. available full text in Women and Social Movements in the United States: 1600-2000.

Notable Names in American History

An expanded and updated edition of the work which first appeared as the "Conspectus" part of the "Conspectus and index" volume (1906) of the National cyclopaedia of American biography (AH65). 2nd ed. publ. 1937 as White’s conspectus of American biography. Includes many chonological lists of officeholders of various, presidents, cabinet members, congressmen, judges, governors of the states, leaders of the Confederacy, foreign service representatives, mayors of selected cities, presidents of universities and colleges, church dignitaries, business executives, recipients of awards, prizes, etc. An index of names is provided in this edition, but references to volume and page in the National cyclopaedia are not included. Inasmuch as a number of lists (e.g., "Americans in fiction, poetry, and the drama," "Pseudonyms and sobriquets," "Anniversary calendar") have been dropped, libraries having the 2nd ed. will want to retain it on the reference shelf.

Research guide to American historical biography. Washington, D.C.: Beacham Pub., c1988-1991. LOCATION: Widener: RR3621.2.2 Library has: 5 v.

Covers about 450 figures from early explorers through the 20th century. Includes some living persons. Brief biographies with discussion of historical context and with evaluative bibliographical essays that include thorough discussion of primary and archival sources. Articles list museums, historical landmarks, and societies associated with each person. A-z sequence in vols. 1-3; additional a-z sequences in vols. 4 and 5, covering especially women and minorities, but also other groups. Vol. 5 has a cumulative biographee index. Each volume has appendixes grouping its biographees by era and listing museums, historical landmarks, and societies by state and city, indicating person associated with each. Literary figures omitted due to easy availability elsewhere.

Sibley, John Langdon. Biographical sketches of graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cambridge, [Mass.]: Charles William Sever, University Bookstore, 1873- LOCATION: Widener: RR 1039.40

Thrapp, Dan L. Encyclopedia of frontier biography Glendale, Calif. : A.H. Clar, 1988-1994. 4 v. Widener | WID-LC | F596 .T512x 1988

Includes 5530 persons significant especially in the history of the western but also of the trans-Appalachian, southeastern and Alaskan frontiers. The 19th century is emphasized, but there are some deceased 20th century figures. Supplementary 4th volume covers groups underrepresented in the first three volumes, which were revised for the second printing. Each article has source notes. Topic/name indexes in volumes 3 and 4.

OUT Wakelyn, Jon L. Biographical dictionary of the Confederacy. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC E467.W2

Who was who in America. 1607/1896- Chicago, Marquis-Who’s Who [etc.]. LOCATION: Widener: RR 1511.2

The Historical Volume (1607-1896) contains short who’s who-type information on significant Americans dying before the Who’s Who in America series began in 1899. Subsequent volumes (v. 1 - ; 1897/1942- ) contain entries for persons formerly in Who’s Who in America, but who have died, with date of death and, often, interment location added.

A revised edition (1967. 689 p.) includes about 200 additional sketches. Who was who in America : a companion biographical reference work to Who’s who in America. Chicago : Marquis, 1942-89. v. 1-9. (In progress). Contents: v. 1, 1897-1942; v. 2, 1943-50; v. 3, 1951-60; v. 4, 1961-68; v. 5, 1969-73; v. 6, 1974-76; v. 7, 1977-81; v. 8, 1982-85; v. 9, 1985-89.

Indexed in Who was who in America with world notables1607-2005 Index. Volume I-XVI and Historical Volume (2005) and Biography and genealogy master index 160047. Full text in Marquis Who’s Who on the Web (1985- only).

Now with a subscription to Marquis Who’s Who on the Web, you get access to our entire archive of Who Was Who in America volumes (1607-1985) - over 110,000 historical biographies. Who’s Who in American History is a segment of our online database, representing 400 years of biographical history. Learn about inventors, explorers, colonists, abolitions, important figures in business, government, the military, education, literature and other remarkable people who helped shape American no additional charge! Can search by occupation and limit the search by historical era.


Directory of American scholars. 9th ed. / edited by Rita C. Velazquez. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Group, 1999-. 1942

Includes over 30,000 U.S. and Canadian scholars. Information largely supplied by biographee. Who’s who type information with selected publications listed. Vol. 1: History, Archaeology, and Area Studies; 2: English, Speech, and Drama; 3: Foreign Languages, Linguistics, and Philology; 4: Philosophy, Religion, and Law; 5: Psychology, Sociology, and Education (new with 10th ed., 2002). Each vol. includes its own geographic index. 6th vol. comprises institutional, geographic, disciplinary, and name indexes. Previously published by Science Press (1942, 1951) and by Bowker (eds. 3-8; 1957-1982]. Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 160047: 1974 (6th ed., 1974-10th ed., 2002 only). Full text (10th ed) in Biography resource center.

Marquis Who’s Who on the Web

Includes entries from Marquis Who’s Who publications since 1985 plus Who Was Who in America (1607-1985). Advanced search allows multiple search terms including age, gender, geography, occupation, college, and degree(s), etc. Available as an option in Biography Resource Center, without, currently, Who Was Who in America. A print index to Marquis Who’s Who publications is available as: Index to Marquis Who’s Who publications. Cedric Larson’s Who; sixty years of American eminence. The story of Who’s Who in America supplies a history of this important publication.

For pre-1985 entries see the print versions:

Who’sWho in America Fulltext (1st ed., 1899/1900; 2nd ed., 1908/09) in American biographical archive.

Who’s who in the world. 1972 Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index (1974- )

World who’s who in finance and industry. 1971 Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index (1974- )

Who’sWho of American Women (Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 1958- )

Who’s who in the East 1951 Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index (1974- ) Full text (6th ed., 1957) in American biographical archive. Boston : Larkin, Roosevelt & Larkin, 1943- ; Washington, D.C. : Mayflower Pub. Co., 1930-?

Who’s who in the Midwest. 1949 Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index (1974- ) Full text (6th ed., 1958) in American biographical archive.

Who’s who in the West and Western Canada, 1947 Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index (1974- ) Full text (7th ed., 1960) in American biographical archive.

Who’s who in the South and Southwest. 1947 Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index (1973- ) Full text (6th ed., 1959) in American biographical archive.

Who’s who in the Northwest. Portland, Or. : Western Press Association, [191

Who’s who in commerce and industry. 1936

Who’s who in New England. 1909 Chicago : A.N. Marquis, 1909-

Who; sixty years of American eminence. The story of Who’sWho in America. New York : McDowell, Obolensky [1958] 389 p.Widener | US 42505.5.20

Who’swho in America. 1899-1900- Chicago: A.N. Marquis, c1899- LOCATION: Widener: RR1511.4 Latest US42505.5 Earlier Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index 1974- .

The standard dictionary of contemporary biography, containing concise biographical data, prepared according to established practices, with addresses and, in the case of authors, lists of works. Issued biennially and constantly expanded since 1899. The standards of admission are high, aiming to include the "best-known men and women in all lines of useful and reputable achievement," including (1) those selected on account of special prominence in creditable lines of effort, and (2) those included as a matter of policy on account of official position. The 47th ed. (1992/1993) lists more than 80,500 persons, and has a section of "Biographies in Marquis who’swho regional editions" providing reference to names in those volumes. Includes the names of leading government officials of Canada and Mexico, and recipients of major national and international awards. Inclusion of non-Americans has varied over the years. Each edition is thoroughly revised, new biographies added, and others dropped. For names of persons dropped because of death, see Who was who in America; for those dropped for other reasons, see "Non-current listings" in Indices and necrology (3 v. 1952-58). A "Retiree index" now lists names deleted because the biographee retired from active work; it gives reference to the last sketch published in this set. Beginning with the 39th, each edition includes a "Necrology" listing. A separately published volume designated "Geographic index; professional area index" was made available beginning with the 42nd ed. (1982/83). Kept up-to-date by supplements, 1989-. During Dec. 1939Aug. 1959 a Monthly supplement and international who’swho was published as a supplementary service, giving sketches concerned with "who’swho in world newsand why." A cumulated index to v. 1-10 (1939-49) of this series was published separately and also in Who was who 2:605-54.

---------. Indices and necrology, [v. 1], 1952; [v. 2], 1954; [v. 3], 1958. Contents: Non-current listings from v. 1-22, 23-26 (1899-1950/ 51 ) in [v. 1]; from v. 27-30 (1952/53-1958/59) in [v. 3]. Vocational-geographical index to v. 26 (1950/51) in [v. 1]; to v. 28 (1954/55) in [v. 2]; to v. 30 (1958/59) in [v. 3". Necrology, v. 28 (1954/55) in [v. 2]; v. 29 (1956/57) in [v. 3].E176.W642

Beginning with v.28, accompanied by the separately paged pt.: Indices and necrology.