This is the "General Biographic Sources" page of the "Biographies" guide.
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Last Updated: Jan 21, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

General Biographic Sources Print Page

The best print biographical resources!

These are available in the Reference Section of Waidner-Spahr (located behind the Biblio Cafe on the Main Level).


Looking for Books?

Do a "Subject" search for the person you are trying to research in the Library Catalog or ask a librarian to assist you in a search!

Catalog Subject Search 

General Biography Sources

Why use biographical resources?

Biographical reference sources provide information about people who are or were well-known:  their birth and death dates and descriptions of their lives and accomplishments.  There are two basic types of sources:  sketches or essays containing biographical information; and indexes which refer the user to other biographical materials.

This information is helpful when researching any event or subject involving people-- and can provide excellent background information that can lead you to other sources pertaining to your research.

There are countless sources for biographical information.  Before searching for a biography, it is helpful to determine

1) possible name variations

2) type of information you need, i.e. short vital statistics, an article, or a book

3) if the person is living or dead

4) profession, subject or topic area

This information will help you determine which biographical source is best to use.

Below is a list of comprehensive biographical databases with a wide range of entries.

Click here to see a list of biography databases for more resources, and check out the list of specific biographic databases on the next tab.

  • Credo Reference: Biography
    An excellent comprehensive biography reference of almost fifty different biographical resources.
  • Marquis Biographies Online  
    Who’s Who features comprehensive profiles on more than1.4 million of the most accomplished individuals from all fields of endeavor including: government, business, science and technology, the arts, entertainment, and sports.
  • American National Biography (ANB)  
    Nearly 20,000 biographies, revised three times per year.
  • Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB)  
    Biographies of people who shaped the British Isles and beyond.
  • Biography Resource Center
    A collection of more than 450,000 full text biographies, including the complete full text run of biography Today and biography Magazine, as well as thousands of narrative biographies that are not available in other databases.

Subject Guide

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Kayla Birt
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Waidner-Spahr Library
Dickinson College
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013
(717) 245-1868
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Humanities Liaison Librarian

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Elise Ferer
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Waidner - Spahr Library
Dickinson College
Carlisle, PA 17013
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