Biographical Sources

  • Technology (General)

    Technology (General)

    Aaseng, N. 1997. Black Inventors. NY: Facts on File, 128 pp.

    Biographies of 11 deceased 19th and 20th century inventors: Sarah Breedlove, Frederick Jones, Percy Julian, Lewis Latimer, Jan Matzeliger, Elijah McCoy, Garrett Morgan, Norbert Rillieux, Lewis Temple, McWilliams Walker, Granville Woods. Each article has a portrait, chronology, and further reading. Name/subject index.

    Abbott, D., ed. 1985. The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists: Engineers and Inventors. London: Blond Educational, 189 pp.

    Day, L. & I. McNeil, eds. 1996. Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology. London; New York: Routledge, 884 pp.

    Matschoss, C. 1925. Männer der Technik: Ein biographisches Handbuch. Berlin: V.D.I., 306 pp. [International scope]

    Slocum, R. B. 1986. Technology and applied science. Pp. 1046-1049 in Biographical Dictionaries and Related Works: An International Bibliography of More than 16,000 Collective Biographies. 2nd ed. V. 2. Detroit, MI: Gale Research.

    Stanley, A. 1993. Mothers and Daughters of Invention: Notes for a Revised History of Technology. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1116 pp.

    Compendium of information about women patent holders with brief descriptions of inventions, but little biographical data. Appendix: list of patent holders under types of inventions. Bibliography: pp. 917-1041; name/subject index: pp. 1043-1116.

    Turner, R. & S. L. Goulden, eds. 1981. Great Engineers and Pioneers in Technology. V. 1: From Antiquity through the Industrial Revolution. NY: St. Martin's Press, 488 pp. [3 v. are planned]

    Vare, E. A. 1988. Mothers of Invention: From the Bra to the Bomb: Forgotten Women & their Unforgettable Ideas. NY: Morrow, 256 pp.

    About 100 popular biographical sketches on innovators in popular culture/everyday life, science and technology. No bibliography.

    Technology (General) by Nationality/Region

    Europe (Continental)

    Alphandéry, M. F. 1963. Dictionnaire des inventeurs français. Paris: Seghers, 371 pp. [Biographies of 750 deceased inventors] Not at Harvard

    Fontanon, C. & A. Grelon, eds. 1994. Les professeurs du Conservatoire national des arts et metiers: dictionnaire biographique, 1794 -1955. 2 v. Paris: Institut national de recherche pédagogique: Le Conservatoire national des arts et métiers.

    Ingenior-sammenslutningen, Copenhagen. Danske ingeniorer fra teknika. Kobenhavn [B. Lunos bogtrykkeri a/s.] 1945. 456 pp. Portraits [p. 229-456, biographical dictionary]

    Tarbe de Saint-Hardouin, F.-P.-H. 1884. Notices biographiques sur les ingenieurs des ponts et chaussees depuis la creation du corps, en 1716, jusqu'a nos jours. Encyclopedie des travaux publics. Paris [etc.] Baudry et cie, 276 pp.

    1/2 - 2 pp. sketches.

    Viterbo, S. 1899-1922. Diccionario historico e documental dos architectos, engenheiros e constructores portuguezes ou a servico de Portugal. 3 v. Lisboa, Impr. Nacional.

    United Kingdom

    Bell, S. P. 1975. A Biographical Index of British Engineers in the Nineteenth Century. NY: Garland, 246 pp.

    Pike, W. T., ed. 1910. British Engineers and Allied Professions in the Twentieth Century. Brighton: W. T. Pike, 348 pp. [Biographical sketches of about 500 engineers with photographs] Not at Harvard

    Sharp, R. 1993. Obituaries of British Engineers 1901-1920: An Alphabetical Index. London: Science Museum, 198 pp. [Transport engineers are not covered]

    United States

    Aaseng, N. 1997. Black Inventors. NY: Facts on File, 128 pp.

    Biographies of 11 deceased 19th and 20th century inventors.

    National Academy of Engineering. 1979- . Memorial tributes. Washington, DC: The Academy.

    Roysdon, C. & L. A. Khatri. 1978. American Engineers of the Nineteenth Century: A Biographical Index. NY: Garland, 247 pp.

    Who's Who in Engineering: A Biographical Dictionary of the Engineering Profession. Eds. 1 - 9. NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1922/23-1964.

    Williams, J. C. 1978. At Last Recognition in America: A Reference Handbook of Unknown Black Inventors and their Contributions to America. Vol. 1. Chicago, IL: B.C.A. Pub. Corp., 48 pp.

    Brief descriptions of inventions with patent numbers. Covers inventions from 1834-1923.

    Civil Engineering

    American Society of Civil Engineers. 1972, 1991. A Biographical Dictionary of American Civil Engineers. 2 v. NY: American Society of Civil Engineers. Not at Harvard

    Skempton, A. W. A biographical dictionary of civil engineers in Great Britain and Ireland. London: Thomas Telford, 2002- .
    --Contents: v. 1. 1500 to 1830. Not at Harvard, available at MIT.


    Astronauts and Cosmonauts Biographical and Statistical Data. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 1994, 605 pp.

    Cassutt, M. 1993. Who's Who in Space. International Space Year ed. NY: Macmillan, 439 pp.

    Longyard, W. H. 1994. Who's Who in Aviation History: 500 Biographies. Shrewsbury: Airlife, 203 pp.

    Some portraits. No bibliography.

    Marshall, J. 1978. A Biographical Dictionary of Railroad Engineers. Newton Abbot/North Pomfret, VT: David & Charles, 247 pp. [British] Not at Harvard

    Thomas, S. 1960-68. Men of Space: Profiles of the Leaders in Space Research, Development, and Exploration. 8 v. Philadelphia, PA: Chilton. Not at Harvard

    Welch, R. 1998. Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 286 pp.

    Short (1-2 pp.) articles about individuals, events, organizations and air/spacecraft. Some portraits.

    Mechanical Technology: Biography

    American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 1980. Mechanical Engineers in America Born Prior to 1860: A Biographical Dictionary. NY: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 330 pp.

    Baillie, G. H. 1947. Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World. 2d ed. London: N.A.G. Press, 388 pp. Reprint, N.A.G. Press, 1976.

    The 1976 reprint of Baillie appeared as a 2 volume set with Baillie itself as volume 1 and Loomes' supplement as volume 2. A 2nd edition of Loomes' supplement appeared in 1989. Loomes extends Baillie's end date from 1825 to 1875 and occasionally later, and makes additions and corrections to Baillie's data.

    Chenakal, V. L. 1972. Watchmakers and Clockmakers in Russia, 1400 to 1850. (Antiquarian Horological Society; Monograph No. 6) London: Antiquarian Horological Society, 64 pp.

    Loomes, B. 1989. Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World. 2nd ed. Colchester, Essex: N.A.G. Press, 299 pp.

    Loomes, B. 1981. The Early Clockmakers of Great Britain. London: N.A.G. Press, 608 pp.

    List of over 5000 makers of watches, clocks and mathematical instruments working before 1700. Brief biographical data.


    Higgins, T. J. 1961. A biographical bibliography of electrical engineers and electrophysicists. Technology and Culture 2(1): 28-32, 2(2): 146-165.


    Cortada, J. W. 1987. Historical Dictionary of Data Processing: Biographies. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 321 pp.

    Lee, J. A. N., ed. 1995. International Biographical Dictionary of Computer Pioneers. Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn, 816 pp.

    Originally issued as: Computer pioneers, J.A.N. Lee, ed. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 1995. Appendixes include a bibliography of collections of biographies and memoirs, list of biographees in 6 biographical dictionaries, contents of the Charles Babbage Instiute Oral History Collection as of June 30,m 1992, Professional society award recipients. Each article has lists of selected biographial sources and the subjects own works. Includes some pre-20th century computer precursors (e.g. Leibniz). About a third of the articles have portraits.

    Shasha, D. E. and C. Lazere. 1995. Out of their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists. NY: Copernicus, 291 pp.

    John Backus, Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., Stephen Cook, Edsger W. Dijkstra, Edward A. Feigenbaum, W. Daniel Hillis, Alan C. Kay, Donald E. Knuth, Leslie Lamport, Douglas B. Lenat, Leonid Levin, John McCarthy, Michael O. Rabin, Burton J. Smith, Robert E. Tarjan. With selected references to each subjects publications. Portraits.

    Slater, R. 1987. Portraits in Silicon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 374 pp.

    34 biographical sketches from Charles Babbage to the present, each with a portrait.

    Communication and Records: Biography

    Dunlap, O. E. 1944. Radio's 100 Men of Science: Biographical Narratives of Pathfinders in Electronics and Television. NY: Harper, 294 pp. Reprint, Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries, 1970.

    Matthews, O. 1973. Early Photographs and Photographers: A Survey in Dictionary Form. London: Reedminster, 198 pp. [Pp. 6-44 is a biographical dictionary including photographic inventors] Not at Harvard

    Pritchard, M. 1994. A Directory of London Photographers, 1841-1908. Rev. ed. Watford, England: PhotoResearch, 140 pp.

    Rogers, E. M. 1994. A History of Communication Study: A Biographical Approach. NY: The Free Press, 576 pp. [19th and 20th centuries]

    Rudisill, R., et al., ed. by P. E. Palmquist. 1991. Photographers: A Sourcebook for Historical Research. Brownsville, CA: Carl Mautz Pub., 103 pp.

    Steele, C. & R. Polito; ed. by R. Polito, 1993. A Directory of Massachusetts Photographers, 1839-1900. Camden, ME: Picton Press, 605 pp.

    Names of individuals and companies, addresses, specialties.

    Voignier, J.-M. 1993. Répertoire des photographes de France au dix-neuvime siècle. Chevilly-Larue: Le Pont de Pierre, 317 pp. Usually very brief data, address, active dates. Geographical index (Index départemental), pp. 261-317.


    Blanchard, A. 1981. Dictionnaire des ingénieurs militaires, 1691-1791. Montpellier: Collection du Centre d'histoire militaire et d'etudes de defense nationale, no 14, 786 pp.

    Business History

    Jeremy, D. J., ed. 1984-86. Dictionary of Business Biography: A Biographical Dictionary of Business Leaders Active in Britain in the Period 1860-1980. 5 v. + suppl. London: Butterworths.