Finding Biographical Sources
World Biographical Information System includes full text of thousands of biographical dictionaries accessible by name of biographee. Largely online full text, partly microfiche or print. More information.
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.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the standard British source for biographies of major figures. Can do searches of occupations and limit by date: Advanced Search Options: People Search.
Biographic register of the Department of State (1870-1974)
Google Books (1870, 1874)
Hathitrust (1916) (1945); HathiTrust (1930-1973 incomplete)
Internet Archive (1911)
--Lists diplomats and consuls together with biographies if the recently deceased.
Additional sources in Finding Biographical Information.