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General Reference

Getting Started

Finding Biographical information can be easy or difficult, depending on the person.  If it is a famous person, you shouldn't have much trouble.  But if you are searching for information on someone who is not that well known, or perhaps only well known in certain areas (a famous biologist or economist, for example) you may have to dig deeper.  Try looking for subject specific biographical databases, or search the catalog for books of biographies for a particular field or time in history.  Quick tip: If you don't know anything at all about the person a quick google search with their name in quotes (eg. "John Franklin Smith") will usually help.  Feel free to look at any wikipedia article about that person, but be sure to locate the original sources used in the article.  DO NOT  use Wikipedia as a source for your papers, your professors will NOT like that!

Biography Databases

Print Biography Resources

We have over 490 different biographical directories in print at the library.  Click here to see a list of all the titles in our catalog.  You can find these shelved in the reference area on the first floor.

If you are searching for biographies in a particular subject or era, try adding more keywords to the catalog search. For example: Biography and Medicine or Biography and 18th Century.