-->

Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University Washington and Lee University The University Library

Learn About:

Reference Resources: Biographical Information

Recommended Resources

American National Biography

The ANB contains orginal signed articles on more than 18,000 "men and women -- from all eras and walks of life -- whose lives have shaped the nation." In general, the database does not include essays on currently-living individuals. The library also has the printed volumes.
(More Info)

Dictionary Of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through The Ages

Published in 2006, this two-volume set contains about 25,000 brief biographical entries on women from U.S. and non-U.S. history.
(More Info)

Marquis Who's Who Biographies

The database contains brief biographical sketches of prominent men and women from around the world. The database includes the contents of more than a dozen well-established publications, including Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Media and Communications, Who's Who in Finance and Industry, and Who's Who in Asia.
Please note that the database includes many entries that are not current information.
(More Info)

Oxford Dictionary Of National Biography

The Oxford DNB contains original signed essays on over 50,000 "men and women who shaped all aspects of Britain's past, from the fourth century BC to the year 2009." In general, the database does not include essays on currently-living individuals.
(More Info)

Scribner Encyclopedia Of American Lives

Multi-volume set containing scholarly, signed biographical essays on about 2,900 notable "individuals who made major professional or artistic contributions while living in the United States" and who died from 1981 through 2005.
This purchase was made possible by the Lois Ferguson and Fred Carrington Cole Endowment.
IMPORTANT: The link above takes you to an alphabetical listing of the individuals covered in the set (including some volumes we do not have), but it contains no links to the articles. Instead, you will need to use the links below:
(More Info)

African Biographical Dictionary

Second edition (2007) contains over 800 biographical sketches of individuals prominent in sub-Saharan history, as well as foreigners who have affected the continent's history. You can view the table of contents here.
(More Info)

American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times To The Present

Two-volume set (2008) contains nearly 400 biographical entries on "the men and women who have made a significant contribution to environmental issues over the last 200 years." You may view a copy of the table of contents.
(More Info)

American Men And Women Of Science

This is the latest edition (26th, 2009) of this biographical directory of information on over 131,000 living men and women in the physical, biological, and related sciences. Each entry provides birthdate, birthplace, field(s) of specialty, education, honorary degrees, current position, professional and career information, addresses, and more.
We also have online access to these previous editions: 22nd * 23rd * 24th * 25th
Earlier editions are available in printed form.
(More Info)

American National Biography

The ANB contains orginal signed articles on more than 18,000 "men and women -- from all eras and walks of life -- whose lives have shaped the nation." In general, the database does not include essays on currently-living individuals. The library also has the printed volumes.
(More Info)

American Political Leaders, 1789-2009

2009 volume contains brief biographical information on over 9,000 elected and appointed political figures, including presidents, vice presidents, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, and governors. The library also has a printed copy of the 2005 edition.
(More Info)

Australian Dictionary Of Biography

"Australia's pre-eminent dictionary of national biography... over 10,000 scholarly biographies of persons who were significant in Australian history. Entries on individuals who died after 1980 will be added as successive volumes of the ADB are published."
(More Info)

Biographical Directory Of The U.S. Congress

Searchable database of information on members from 1774-to-date.
(More Info)

Biographical Encyclopedia Of The Modern Middle East And North Africa

This 2007 work includes over 300 profiles of 20th- and 21st-century leaders who belong to various political, ethnic, and religious groups, as well as notable individuals associated with business, literature, law, and other fields. Includes nationality and ethnicity indexes. You may view a copy of the table of contents.
(More Info)

Black Americans In Congress, 1870-2007

Contains profiles of African American senators, congressmen, and delegates, as well as historical essays, collections of historical data, and more. Part of a series of House publications "highlighting the congressional service of women and minority groups." (See also this site on women.)
A more up-to-date directory of African Americans in Congress is published by the Congressional Research Service.
(More Info)

China Vitae

Database containing information on the past and current activities of political, financial, business and academic leaders in China. The information has been compiled through official Chinese sources and contains biographies of about 3,000 Chinese leaders, and tracks their recent official duties and public appearances, along with details of their previous career paths and memberships in institutions.
(More Info)

Complete Biographical Encyclopedia Of Pulitzer Prize Winners, 1917 - 2000

2002 volume contains biographical entries on 1,118 Pulitzer Prize-winners, "largely based on brief biographical sketches which were included in the application material," supplemented by some more recent information. You may preview the contents.
(More Info)

Contemporary Authors

Contemporary Authors (CA) is a bio-bibliographical guide to over 120,000 current writers in fiction, general nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, motion pictures, television, and other fields.
(More Info)

Dictionary Of Art Historians

This database is designed to give researchers a beginning point to learning the background of major art historians of western art history. The Dictionary of Art Historians is a work in progress. Entries which contain an historian's name and little else are yet to be completed.
(More Info)

Dictionary Of Canadian Biography Online

A work in progress, the DCB will provide significant biographical essays on individuals who "played an important role in the formation of what is now Canada."
(More Info)

Dictionary Of Irish Biography

Initially published as a set of nine volumes, the DIB, "a collaborative project between Cambridge University Press and the Royal Irish Academy, is the most comprehensive and authoritative biographical dictionary yet published for Ireland." It contains over 9,000 signed articles which describe and assess the careers of subjects in all fields of endeavour, including politics, law, religion, literature, journalism, architecture, painting, music, the stage, science, medicine, engineering, entertainment and sport. Coverage from "eariest times" to 2002. New material is to be added each year.
(More Info)

Dictionary Of Literary Biography

This still-growing series includes over 13,000 essays in more than 350 volumes. "Written by recognized literary scholars and critics, entries discuss an author's life and career and summarize the critical response to his or her work, from initial publication to the present." Volumes are organized thematically, with many authors appearing in multiple volumes.
Online access is provided there through our Literature Resource Center subscription.
The library also has some printed volumes, including a few not included in the online collection.
(More Info)

Dictionary Of Political Biography

2009 online-only edition contains over 1,000 entries on "men and women who have shaped political events across the world."
(More Info)

Dictionary Of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through The Ages

Published in 2006, this two-volume set contains about 25,000 brief biographical entries on women from U.S. and non-U.S. history.
(More Info)

Fifty Key Figures In Islam

Roy Jackson's 2006 volume includes for biographical details for each individual, presentation and analysis of main ideas, an account of impact and influence, and a list of major works and additional reading.
Acquisition was made possible by the Christopher Keller Jr. '39 Library Endowment for Philosophy and Religion.
(More Info)

Fifty Key Medieval Thinkers

Focusing on individuals whose ideas shaped intellectual life between 400 and 1500, this 2002 volume is an introduction to "those religious, philosophical and political concepts central to the medieval worldview." You can view the table of contents here.
(More Info)

Fifty Key Sociologist: The Contemporary Theorists

This 2006 volume "covers the life, work, ideas and impact of some of the most important thinkers in this discipline... concentrating on figures writing predominantly in the second half of the twentieth century." Includes Barthes, Fanon, Foucault, Geertz, Levi-Strauss, etc.
(More Info)

Fifty Key Sociologists : The Formative Theorists

This 2006 volume "covers the life, work, ideas and impact of some of the most important thinkers in this discipline... concentrating on figures in the field writing principally in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." Includes Marcuse, Marx, Lukacs, Spencer, Weber, Durkheim, etc.
(More Info)

From Suffrage To The Senate: America's Political Women

Second edition (2006) of this compendium of biographies of leading women in U.S. politics, past and present, with additional primary source materials, entries on organizations and agencies, and more. You may view a copy of the table of contents.
(More Info)

Governors Database

Searchable database of current and past U.S. governors, with brief biographical articles.
(More Info)

Historical Dictionary Of Pakistan

Third edition (2006) includes a chronology, a list of acronyms and abbreviations, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and some 500 cross-referenced dictionary entries "presenting the more important persons, places, and events as well as salient aspects of the economy, society, culture, and religion."
(More Info)

Literature Resource Center

Large database containing extensive biographical and critical information on writers, movements, and works from virtually all time periods.
(More Info)

Marquis Who's Who Biographies

The database contains brief biographical sketches of prominent men and women from around the world. The database includes the contents of more than a dozen well-established publications, including Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Media and Communications, Who's Who in Finance and Industry, and Who's Who in Asia.
Please note that the database includes many entries that are not current information.
(More Info)

Mexican Political Biographies, 1935-2009

Fourth edition (2012) is a biographical dictionary of nearly 3,000 entries on state and national politicians in Mexico. You may preview the contents.
(More Info)

Multicultural Writers Since 1945: An A-to-Z Guide

This 2004 volume contains about 100 signed biographical and critical entries on "writers active since 1945 who were shaped by cultures other than their own." You may view a list of the covered writers near the bottom of this page.
(More Info)

Notable Latino Writers

This 2005 three-volume set is a collection of essays on 120 writers who are/were Latin American authors or U.S. authors of Latin descent. It also includes (at the end of Volume 3) a handful of essays on specific literary forms.
You may view a copy of the table of contents here.
(More Info)

Oxford Dictionary Of National Biography

The Oxford DNB contains original signed essays on over 50,000 "men and women who shaped all aspects of Britain's past, from the fourth century BC to the year 2009." In general, the database does not include essays on currently-living individuals.
(More Info)

Oxford Encyclopedia Of Women In World History

Edited by Bonnie G. Smith, this four-volume work (2008) contains over 1,200 signed topical and biographical entries.
(More Info)

Pan-Africa History: Political Figures From Africa And The Diaspora Since 1787

Pan-African History contains biographical and critical essays on about 40 "thinkers and activists from the Anglophone and Francophone worlds of the past 200 years," including Malcolm X, Patrice Lumumba, and Frantz Fanon.
(More Info)

Scribner Encyclopedia Of American Lives

Multi-volume set containing scholarly, signed biographical essays on about 2,900 notable "individuals who made major professional or artistic contributions while living in the United States" and who died from 1981 through 2005.
This purchase was made possible by the Lois Ferguson and Fred Carrington Cole Endowment.
IMPORTANT: The link above takes you to an alphabetical listing of the individuals covered in the set (including some volumes we do not have), but it contains no links to the articles. Instead, you will need to use the links below:
(More Info)

Speakers Of The House Of Representatives, 1789-2009

This 2009 volume contains biographies on each of the 52 Speakers, as well as historical essays, primary source documents, and more. You may view a copy of the table of contents.
(More Info)

Who's Who Among African Americans

Provides brief biographical and career details on more than 20,000 contemporary African Americans, including leaders from politics, the arts, business, sports, religion, etc.
The above link takes you to the most recent (23nd) edition, published in 2009.
We also have online access to these earlier editions: 19th   20th   22nd.
(More Info)

Who's Who In American Art

Who's Who in American Art has over 14,000 biographies of the most noteworthy men and women in today's art world - including notable artists from the past. Use this unique database to quickly locate artists, critics, curators, administrators, librarians, historians, collectors, conservators, educators, dealers - everyone that's anyone in the visual arts in North America. Search from among today's leading artists using any combination of the following criteria: name, profession, media, gender, birth information and keyword. Biographies are displayed in an easy-to-read format with subject headings that include classification, media, birth information, education, exhibitions, business and professional positions, honors and awards, and more.
(More Info)

Women In Congress, 1917-2006

Profiles of the 229 women who have served in the U.S. Senate and House, divided into four "generations,"as well as historical and analytical material. Part of a series of House publications "highlighting the congressional service of women and minority groups." (See also this site on black Americans in Congress.)
A more up-to-date directory of women in Congress is published by the Congressional Research Service.
(More Info)

Women In The Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia (Volume 1, A-J)

Two-volume set (2005) with over 300 signed entries that conclude with extensive bibliographies of both primary and secondary sources. Entries cover people and topics ranging from the third to the fifteenth centuries.
This volume includes entries beginning with the letters A-through-J, with other entries in Volume 2.
(More Info)

Women In The Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia (Volume 2, K-Z)

Two-volume set (2005) with over 300 signed entries that conclude with extensive bibliographies of both primary and secondary sources. Entries cover people and topics ranging from the third to the fifteenth centuries.
This volume includes entries beginning with the letters L-through-Z, with other entries in Volume 1.
(More Info)