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Biographical Information: Sources of Historical Biographies

Historical Persons

The Annual Obituary
Rod Library UNI Reference CT 120 A56  (1980-1993)
Annual volumes contain essay-length obituaries of well-known individuals who died during the year. Emphasis is on Americans and the British, and individuals who became well-known in America and Britain.

The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa
Rod Library UNI Reference CT 234 B56 2008
Also available online at
Biographical essays on the lives of prominent Iowans, that is, people born in Iowa, living 20 years in Iowa, or making a significant contribution in Iowa.  Over 420 individuals are profiled including activists, athletes, governors, scientists, writers, US senators and Supreme Court justices from Iowa, and more.   Individuals who died after December 31, 2000 are excluded.  You may browse the alphabetical list of names, eight date ranges, contributor names, and 38 broad topic areas such as Indian Leaders or Women's Rights.  Or you may use keywords to search the full text of entries.

Dictionary of National Biography
Rod Library UNI Stacks DA 28 D4
This 22-volume set contains essay-length biographies of deceased notables, mostly British. The set is updated by supplements and includes a comprehensive name index.

Encyclopedia of World Biography
Rod Library UNI Reference CT103 E56 1998
Online at
Lengthy articles describe the lives of 7,000 of the world's notable people.  Individiuals from various cultures and in diverse fields  are profiled, including some individuals of controversial contribution.  

Notable American Women, 1607-1950
Rod Library UNI Reference CT 3260 N57
This three-volume set features essays on important American women who died before 1951.

Notable American Women, the Modern Period
Rod Library UNI Reference CT 3260 N573
This supplement features American women who died between 1951 and 1975.

Who Was Who: A Companion to Who's Who
Rod Library UNI Reference DA 28 W65 (1971-    )
Brief entries depict British notables who died between 1897 and 1990; ten-year supplementary volumes update the basic set to 2005. The set has a separate name index.    

Who Was Who in America
Rod Library UNI Stacks  E 663 W55 (1607 -   )
Brief entries cover 117,000 deceased American notables from colonial times to 1993; five-year supplemenatry volumes update the basic set to 2007.  Useful for learning whether individuals listed in Who's Who in America are known to have died. The set has a separate name index.   

Who's Who in American History
See Marquis Who's Who (on the web)

Subject Guide