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Biographical Resources: A Research Guide: Subject

A selection of major sources of biographical information purchased or licensed by the Cornell University Library. Click on the TABS to access each section in this guide.

Biographies of Disciplines or Subjects

Examples of many hundreds of biographical reference titles available for specific fields of study and subjects. A title search in our catalog on the phrase "biographical dictionary of" yields over 350 items, for example.

The Biographical Dictionary of American Economists. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
"...offers in-depth biographies of the most important economic figures in American history from the seventeenth century to the present day. All of the major schools of American economic thought are represented, from the Constitutional school to the Keynesian school, and the dictionary includes in-depth coverage of the many overlooked women who have influenced economic thought in America." --Publisher's description.
The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Islamic Philosophy. London: Thoemmes Continuum, 2006.
(Also in 2 print volumes: Olin Reference B 741 .B56 2006)
2006 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
"The notion of philosophy has been interpreted broadly to include a large number of intellectuals who were interested in conceptual issues that either directly relate to philosophy or form part of the background of Islamic philosophy as a whole. Included are details about the lives of significant legal thinkers, theologians, political thinkers and even geographers where their lives are relevant indicators of the progress of philosophy in the Islamic world." --Publisher's description.
Biographical Resources: An African and African Diaspora Approach.
A LibGuide created by Eric Acree, Africana Librarian at Cornell, for locating information about people of African descent. Includes online and print resources.
Biographical Resources: Women.
The Biographical Sources section of the Feminism, Gender and Sexuality Studies Research Guide.
Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008.
Lengthy, readable, and signed essays on the major scientists in world history. The standard biographical reference in the history of science. Merges entries from the Dictionary of Scientific Biography (18 volumes, 1970) and the New Dictionary of Scientific Biography (8 volumes, 2008).
Dictionary of African Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
(Also in 6 print volumes: Olin Reference and Africana Reference CT 1920 .D52 2012).
Edited by Emmanuel K. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"From the pharaohs to Frantz Fanon, Dictionary of African Biography provides a comprehensive overview of the lives of the men and women who shaped Africa’s history.": --Publisher's description.
Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro–Latin American Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Edited by Franklin W. Knight and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"[A] comprehensive overview of the lives of Caribbeans and Afro-Latin Americans who are historically significant... covering the entire Caribbean, and the Afro-descended populations throughout Latin America, including people who spoke and wrote Creole, Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.": --Publisher's description.
Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online / Literature Resource Center. Gale Group.
The major online source of literary biography, these two databases include the content of the Dictionary of Literary Biography and Contemporary Authors.
A Dictionary of Political Biography. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press, 2013.
Describes and assesses the lives of around 870 men and women who have shaped political events across the world. Each entry includes an account of the background, career, and achievements of the individual concerned, balancing fact with critical appraisal. The first edition is also available.
International Directory of Medievalists Online. Brepols.
The International Directory of Medievalists Online is the continuation of the printed editions [Répertoire international des médiévistes Library Annex D 116.5 .R42: 3.ed.-5.ed. (1965-1979) and 7.ed.-8.ed. (1990-1995)] and contains 15,000 names and addresses of specialists from over 70 countries with their fields of study.
Kürschners deutscher Gelehrten-Kalender. K. G. Saur.
1925 through 1992 at Library Annex (Z 2230 .K952).
2001 to date in Uris Stacks (Z 2230 .K959).
Latest volume in Olin Reference.
German-language biographical and bibliographical encyclopedia of scientists and scholars from the German-speaking part of Europe. [Wikipedia]
Oxford Art Online. Oxford, 2007- .
The major online source of artists' biographies. The database has over 200,000 biographies of artists, architects, and designers, patrons, collectors, and dealers; writers and scholars; and the publishers and printers of art.
Oxford Music Online. Oxford, 2007- .
Over 57,000 online biographies for all manner of people involved in music, from choreographers and instrument makers to composers, arrangers, performers, critics, publishers, curators, collectors, audio engineers, scholars, educators, and more.

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