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A guide to print, subscription electronic, and free Web resources about people.

United States--Major Reference Sources

African American National Biography (8 volumes)
E 185 .96 .A4466 2008 (Howe Library Reference)
The definitive source of biographical information about 4,000 historically significant African Americans, both living and deceased. A supplement to the American National Biography, it covers well-known as well as unheralded figures. Includes some portraits.

American National Biography (24 volumes)
E 176 .D565 1999 (Howe Library Reference)
Includes about 17,500 signed biographies of people whose significant actions occurred during their residence in what is now the United States or whose life or career directly influenced the course of American history. Published in 1999, this successor to the Dictionary of American Biography updates and adds to the Dictionary of American Biography but is not a replacement for it. The American National Biography is also available onlineIcon

Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography (9 volumes)
E 176 .A655 (Howe Library Reference)
Information on about 15,000 prominent native and adopted citizens of the United States from earliest settlement of the country, plus several thousand eminent citizens of other countries in North and South America and persons of foreign birth closely associated with American history. Includes some portraits. Published 1887.

Biography in Context Icon
Subscription database containing full-text biographical information on people from all periods, locations and subject areas. Includes more than 600,000 entries covering international figures, drawn from numerous reference sources, plus multi-media content and full-text periodical articles.

Dictionary of American Biography (19 volumes)
E 176 .D563 (Howe Library Reference)
Scholarly essays on 19,173 deceased, noteworthy persons of all periods who lived in the territory now known as the United States. Narrower in scope than Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography and National Cyclopedia of American Biography, but articles are of greater distinction. First ten volumes originally published 1928-1937; ten supplements published 1941-1980.  The Dictionary of American Biography content is also available through the subscription database Biography in Context Icon (Use "Advanced Search" and enter "Dictionary of American Biography" in "Publication Title" field.)

National Cyclopedia of American Biography (63 volumes)
E 176 .N27 (Howe Library Reference)
Biographical sketches of persons prominently connected with the history of the United States. More comprehensive than Dictionary of American Biography and more up to date than Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography. Not arranged alphabetically; use indexes to find articles. Includes portraits. Published 1992-1978.

New York Times Obituaries Index (2 volumes)
CT 213 .N47 (Howe Library Reference)
Volume 1 lists over 353,000 names entered under the heading “Deaths” in the New York Times Index from September 1858 through December 1968. (For some years, may not include the victims of murders, accidents, and suicides.) Volume 2 adds 36,000 names of people listed between 1969 and 1978.

Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary (3 volumes)
CT 3260 .N57 (Howe Library Reference)
Profiles of 1,359 prominent women who were alive at the founding of the American colonies up to end of 1950, including the wives of presidents. Also available online.

Notable American Women, the Modern period: A Biographical Dictionary
CT 3260 .N573 (Howe Library Reference)
A supplement to Notable American Women, this volume covers 442 women who died between January 1951 and January 1976. Also available online.

Oxford African American Studies Center Icon
Includes the full text of Black Women in America, African American National Biography, and Dictionary of African Biography, among other sources. Click "Advanced Search" and use link on left to filter search to "Biographical Article" (under "Type" heading).