Research Guides - Periodicals - Biography

For more resources on non-African-American minorities see the Library Research Guide for Ethnicity, Migration, Rights

Guide to African American and African primary sources at Harvard University, by Barbara A. Burg, Richard Newman, Elizabeth E. Sandager. Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 2000, 217 p
Internet Archive full text

African American Library Resources at Harvard

Research Guide for Primary Source Research on Civil Rights

Research Guide for Slavery and the Civil War Era

Anthologies of African American Writing, Lists and indexes anthologies, often citing notices and reviews, with illustrative material.

Crossing Borders Conference: Immigration and Gender in the Americas

Northeastern University, Archives and Special Collections, Boston History Collections holds large archival collections documenting Boston history, especially social justice organizations serving minority populations.

Race Relations Abstracts, 1975- .

The Harvard guide to African-American history, ed. by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham et al. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001, 923 pages

The African American national biography, ed. by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks-Higginbotham, 2008, 8 v. Online version includes new articles not included in the Print version.

African American Biographical Database includes over 40,000 articles from about 300 works of collective biography. Profiles Search searches index entries by name, place of birth, birth/death dates, occupation, religion, gender, source. Full Text Search searches the biographical articles themselves.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index (BGMI) indexes thousands of English-language biographical dictionaries and other compendia. Not full text; one must do HOLLIS searches for retrieved sources.

American National Biography is the standard American source for biographies of major figures. Can do searches of occupations and limit by date.

Notable Black American women. 2 v. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992, 1996.
LOCATION: Widener: RR 4781.41.69

Notable Black American men. 2 v. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992, 1996.
Location : Widener RR 4781.41.61

Cover individuals with birth dates 1686-1970. Include living people. Each entry has a source list and many have portraits. "Area of endeavor" list and a detailed subject index in each volume. Full text in Biography in Context.

Who's who among African Americans. (Titled Who’s who among Black Americans, 1975-95).
Widener | RR 4781.45.10 Latest
Widener | E185.96 .W52 Earlier
--Geographic and occupational indexes. Indexed in Biography and genealogy master index; Full text in Biography in Context (12th (1998) – 19th (2006)).

Who's who in colored America: a biographical dictionary of notable living persons of Negro descent in America. 1927-1950.
Widener US 10796.15
--Includes geographical and vocational listings. Full text in African American biographical database.

Additional sources available in: Finding Biographical Information.

Document Collections - Periodicals

Digital Libraries

African Activist Archive Project

African American Studies Center

Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922 offers over 12,000 books, pamphlets and broadsides, including many lesser-known imprints, from the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Black Abolitionist Papers is a digital edition of approximately 15,000 articles, documents, correspondence, proceedings, manuscripts, and literary works of nearly 300 Black abolitionists in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Germany, first issued on microfilm. Coverage: 1830-1865

Black Freedom Struggle and NAACP papers

Black Studies Center

Black Thought and Culture

Boston Abolitionists 1831-1865 (Massachusetts Historical Society) includes manuscripts, pamphlets, photographs, artifacts, broadsides, signage, and other ephemera.

Slavery and Anti-slavery: A Transnational Archive (1700-1940) offers books, pamphlets, newspapers and manuscripts, with reference works and interpretive essays.

South Asian American Digital Archive includes about 1600 documents.


These research guides from other universities offer conveniently browsable lists of microfilm collections of African American interest.  Harvard has many of these: look them up in HOLLIS.  Any that we do not have can be requested via Interlibrary Loan.  Best to look them up in WorldCat first and to provide the OCLC accession number (bottom of WorldCat record) on the ILL form.

African American Microform Collections (Berkeley)

Microform Collections: African-Americans (University of Oklahoma)

African American Studies Microfilm (Princeton)