Biographical Dictionaries & Encyclopedias


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920.03 Biographical Dictionaries

Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography

Appleton 1894-1900
Wilson, J. G. & John Fiske, eds.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2|Go to Vol 3|Go to Vol 4
 
Go to Vol 5|Go to Vol 6|Go to Vol 7
DDC: 920.03

 
“On the whole, the best of the general American biographical dictionaries. Contains generally accurate and fairly long articles, little bibliography, many portraits and facsimiles of autographs. Under each family the arrangement is not alphabetical, but by seniority in the family. The analytical index is useful for subjects and names not treated separately. Includes names of native and adopted citizens of the United States, including living persons, from the earliest settlement. Also eminent citizens of Canada, Mexico and all other countries of North and South America. Also names of men of foreign birth who are closely identified with American history.
Contents: v.1-6, A-Z, sup. A-Z, analytical index; v.7, sup. A-Z; Pen-names, nicknames, sobriquets;
List of deaths in v.1-6; other special material; analytical index to v.7”
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1926

Artists of the Nineteenth Century and their Works; a Handbook

Houghton 1879
Clement, Clara Erskine and Hutton, LaurenceGo to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2
DDC: 920.03

More than 2,000 brief biographies, followed by critical quotations. Aims to present artists of prominence, rather than to include all those of the century.
— A.L.A. Catalog 1904

Biographical Congressional Directory, with an Outline History of the National Congress, 1774-1911

Supt. of docs 1913
U. S. Congress Go to Book
DDC: 920.03

“Contents: (1) Lists: Executive officers 1789- 1911; The Continental congress; Representatives under each apportionment; Members of each Congress arranged by states; (2) Biographies, arranged alphabetically.”
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1926

Biographical Dictionary of America …

Boston: American Biographical Society 1906
Johnson, Rossiter, ed. Vol 1|Vol 2|Vol 3|Vol 4|Vol 5
 
Vol 6|Vol 7|Vol 8|Vol 9|Vol 10
DDC: 920.03

 

(title continued) ” …Brief Biographies of Authors, Administrators, Clergymen, Editors, Engineers, Jurists, Merchants, Officials, Philanthropists, Scientists, Statesmen, and others who are making American History”

Vol 1 A-Browne
Vol 2 Bro-Cowan
Vol 3 Cowan-Erich
Vol 4 Ericsson-Gwin
Vol 5 Habb-Izard
Vol 6 Jack-Lock
Vol 7 Lodge-Moul
Vol 8 Moul-Pyne
Vol 9 Qua-Stearns
Vol 10 Steb-Zueb

The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: a Handbook of Canadian Biography of Living Characters

Briggs 1912
Morgan, Henry James, ed. Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2
DDC: 920.03

1,200 pages in 2 volumes with about 7,900 sketches of Canadians who were living at the time the book was undertaken.
— A.L.A. Catalog 1904

Chambers’s Biographical Dictionary

Lippincott 1962
Patrick, David and Groome, F. H., eds.Go to Book
DDC: 920.03

“A good small dictionary with over ten thousand brief biographies. It marks pronunciation of difficult foreign names, and contains an index of selected pseudonyms and nicknames. First published in 1897, it has undergone various revisions.”
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1926

Classical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, Mythology and Geography

Appleton 1894
Smith, Sir William Go to Book
DDC: 920.03


Dictionary of American Authors

Houghton 1904
Adams, Oscar FayGo to Book
DDC: 920.03

“A greatly enlarged edition of the author’s Handbook of American Authors. It gives six thousand names with dates, titles of books, and exceedingly compact biographic and critical notes.”
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1926

Dictionary of American Biography

NY: Scribner’s Sons 1928-1937
Malone, Dumas, ed. Vol 1|Vol 2|Vol 4|Vol 5|Vol 6|Vol 7|Vol 8
 
Vol 9|Vol 10|Vol 11|Vol 12|Vol 13|Vol 14|Vol 15
 
Vol 16|Vol 17|Vol 18|Vol 19|Vol 20|Vol 21|Index
DDC: 920.03

 
 
 
This first edition of 20 volumes contained 15,000 biographies. Volume 21 is a supplement, covering the period to Dec. 31, 1936. The last volume is an index for the 20-volume set.

An online version of Volume 3 was not found.

Dictionary of English Authors, Biographical and Bibliographical

Paul 1904
Sharp, Robert Farquharson Go to Book
DDC: 920.03

“A compendious account of the lives and writings of upwards of eight hundred British and American writers from the year 1400 to 1904. An appendix contains a large amount of additional material.”
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1926

Dictionary of National Biography

London: Smith, Elder 1885 to 1990
Stephen, Leslie, ed. and others

 
All Vols 1885-1911|1912-1921|1922-1930|1931-1940
 
1941-1950|1951-1960|1961-1970|1971-1980|1981-1985|Alternate Site

DDC: 920.03

 
 
The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a major reference work on notable inhabitants of the British Islands and the Colonies from the earliest historical period to the present time, excluding living people.

The 63-volume first edition was an 18-year task. The first volume (“Abbadie to Anne”) appeared in January, 1885, and a further volume averaging 460 pages was published every quarter until Volume 63 (“Wordsworth to Zuylestein”) appeared in 1900. The set contains notices of 29,120 men and women; most with “full, substantive articles”. For an account of the creation of the Dictionary of National Biography, see the preface, “A Statistical Account”, in Volume 63.

The 1901 3-volume Supplement to the first edition contains 1,000 articles. More than 200 entries represent accidental omissions from the previous 63-volume set. Nearly 800 individuals were included in the Supplement who died at too late a date to be included in the 1st edition. No one was included in the Supplement who died after 22 January 1901; the date of Queen Victoria’s death.

The 1903 Index and Epitome is a guide to the 63-volume 1st edition and its 3-volume Supplement. Index and Epitome entries are abstracts of the original entries in one-fourteenth the number of words, on average. Each entry includes a reference to the volume and page of the full 1st edition or Supplement entry. This would be a good place to begin a search for anyone who died before 1901.

The 2nd edition, published in 1908-1909, was a re-issuance of the first edition in one-third the number of volumes. The last volume, number 22, contains all three volumes of the 1st edition Supplement. No new entries were included, although some factual errors were corrected.

The 3-volume Second Supplement, published in 1912, furnished biographies of 1,660 notable persons who died between 22 January 1901 and 31 December 1911. Further supplements, issued approximately every 10 years, are found at the separate buttons above.

The “Alternate Site” button is a HathiTrust catalog page with links to all volumes on HathiTrust servers. It appears to contain a complete set.

Some or all of these links may not be visible to users outside the United States

Dictionary of Painters and Engravers

Williamson 1903-05
Bryan, MichaelGo to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2|Go to Vol 3|Go to Vol 4|Go to Vol 5
DDC: 920.03

“A standard work giving in one alphabet the biography of artists and descriptions of their most famous works. Numerous excellent plates.”
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1926

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography

White
Go to Cyclopedia|Go to Index
DDC: 920.3

 

(title continued) ” …Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders and Defenders of the Republic, and of the Men and Women who are Doing the Work and Moulding the Thought of the Present Time. Edited by distinguished biographers, selected from each state, revised and approved by the most eminent historians, scholars, and statesmen of the day.”

“This biographical dictionary of Americans is more comprehensive than the Dictionary of American Biography but lacks the scholarly approach and the bibliographies characteristic of the latter work. The entries in the National Cyclopaedia are unsigned and are largely based upon questionnaires and other information supplied by families of the biographees. Since this dictionary is not alphabetically arranged, access to the entries is conducted through the general index.”
– New York Public Library

The Cyclopedia began publication in 1891, releasing about one volume per year. The publisher decided in the mid-1920s to inaugurate a new series to be devoted exclusively to living persons. Since then the Cyclopedia was issued in two series: The Permanent Series (numbered volumes), devoted to biographies of deceased subjects, and the Current Series (lettered volumes), containing the life stories of living Americans.

The main link above is for a webpage on “The Online Books Page” which provides links to each volume, found either at the Internet Archive or HathiTrust. There are links to Volumes 1-46 (1891-1963) of the The Permanent Series, and Volumes A-I (1930-1960) of the Current Series.

The Index volume (at the button above) is a 1984 edition that is the key to finding entries in the entire set from 1891-1984; including The Permanent Series volumes 1-62 and Current Series Volumes A-M. See the “Explanatory Notes” page at the beginning of the Index volume for several ways that the index can be useful.

White’s Conspectus of American Biography; A Tabulated Record of American History and Biography, also on this webpage, is a reference work designed to use with this Cyclopedia.

White’s Conspectus of American Biography; A Tabulated Record of American History and Biography

NY: J.T. White 1937
Go to Book
DDC: 920.03

White’s Conspectus of American Biography is a tabulated record of Americans who have achieved distinction in every field of endeavor. It consists largely of lists of the leaders in government, both national and state, the church, education, the arts and sciences, and the professional fields, from Colonial times to the present day.”

Originally published in 1906 in combination with the indexes to the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography (also on this web page), it was revised and modernized for this 1937 2nd edition. References within are to the National Cyclopaedia, but it also stands alone as a useful biographical reference. Chapter headings are:

– Delegates to Colonial and Continental Congresses
– Presidents of the United States
– Vice Presidents of the United States
– Members of the Cabinet
– Electoral Votes for President and Vice President
– Heads of Federal Services and Bureaus
– Judiciary of the United States
– Ambassadors, Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary
– United States Senators Arranged According to Congresses
– United States Congressmen
– Governors, United States Senators and Chief Justices
– Directors of Astronomical Observatories in the United States
– Presidents of Colleges and Universities
– Presidents of National Learned, Scientific and Technical Societies
– Recipients of Awards, Medals and Honors
– Founders of Religious Sects, Societies and Movements
– The American Episcopates
– Directors of Museums in the United States
– Principal Treaties and Conventions with the Names of the American Signers
– Public Statues in the United States
– Americans in Fiction, Poetry and the Drama
– Pseudonyms and Sobriquets
– Commanders of the United States Army and Navy in Times of War
– Confederate States of America
– Americans Preeminent in Literature, the Arts and Sciences, and the Professions
– Miscellaneous
– Calendar
– Index

Who’s Who in America, a Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of the United States, 1899 to Date

Marquis 1924
Go to Book
DDC: 920.03

An excellent dictionary of contemporary biography, containing information similar to that given in Who’s Who.”
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1926
Volumes 1-7, 1899-1913

Who Was Who in America; Historical Volume 1607-1896. A Component Volume of Who’s Who in American History

Marquis 1963
Go to Book
DDC: 920.03

“A compilation of sketches of individuals, both of the United States of America and other countries, who have made contribution to, or whose activity was in some manner related to the history of the United States, from the founding of Jamestown Colony to the year of continuation by Volume I of Who was Who“.
– from title page

Woman’s Record; Sketches of all Distinguished Women, from the Creation to A.D. 1854

Harper & Brothers 1855
Hale, Sarah JosephaGo to Book
DDC: 920.03

(title continued) ” …Arranged in four Eras, with Selections from Female Writers of Every Age”

Illustrated with two hundred and thirty portraits. The index lists about 2,000 women. Some entries are biographical profiles of a couple of short paragraphs, while some entries have profiles and writing selections of several pages.

Woman’s Who’s Who of America …

NY: American Commonwealth 1914
Leonard, John William, ed.Go to Book
DDC: 920.03

(title continued) ” …A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada 1914-1915″

Approximately 10,000 women of 1914 are covered, in about 900 pages.


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