Waidner-Spahr Library

Biographies: General Biographic Sources

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.

Subject Guide