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Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: A Research Guide: Biographical
Sources

A guide to discovering the extensive FGSS resources available in the Cornell University Library and beyond. Click on the TABS to access each section in this guide.

Biographical Sources

American Men and Women of Science. New York: Cattell, 1906- .
(multiple locations)
Originally titled American Men of Science, renamed in 1971. Covers U.S. and Canadian women and men in the physical and biological sciences. Divided into 2 parts. Part I covers the physical and biological sciences and Part II, the social and behavioral sciences. Each entry gives full name, date and place of birth, education and degrees, affiliations, areas of specialization, some publications and a current address.

 

American National Biography. 24 volumes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999- .
(Online version; print version: Olin Stacks CT 213 .A68x 1999)
Offers portraits of more than 2,600 women (from over 17,000 entries), from all eras and walks of life whose lives have shaped the nation. Online version features thousands of illustrations, hyperlinked cross-references, and links to select web sites. The Women's History Special Collection in the online version (a selected searchable subset of all entries) features 507 biographies.

 

Banks, Olive. The Biographical Dictionary of British Feminists. 2 volumes. New York: NYU Press, 1985-1990.
(Olin Reference HQ 1123 .B21)
Volume one covers 1800-1930. Volume two covers 1900-1945. Conceived of as a reference work for those interested in the British feminist movement, Banks' dictionary also redresses serious omissions in major reference sources, such as the Dictionary of National Biography. The concise entries on each feminist include a selective bibliography at the end. An index of twenty-two "topics" at the end of volume one identifies women who worked in specific areas such as suffrage, education, trade unions, female sexuality, birth control, or health. Name and subject indexes.

 

Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. New Haven: Yale UP, 1990.
(Olin Reference PR 111 .F32; also in Annex)
Alphabetical arrangement of biographical and topical entries relating to women writing in English, from the beginning to 1985. Contains a chronological index of names.

 

Gay & Lesbian Biography. Ed. Michael J. Tyrkus. Detroit: St. James, 1997.
(Olin Reference HQ 75.2 .G39x 1997)
Biographical entries on 275 gays and lesbians worldwide and from all times periods from Ancient Greece to the 1990s. Includes photographs of the biographee when available and a reference list.

 

Gay & Lesbian Literature. 2 volumes. Detroit: St. James, 1994-1998.
(Olin Stacks PN 56 .H57 G36x 1994)
A bio-bibliographical source for major writers. In the 1994 volume: introduction to gay male literature, Wayne R. Dynes; introduction to lesbian literature, Barbara G. Grier. In the 1998 volume: introduction to gay male literature, Jim Marks ; introduction to lesbian literature, Loralee Macpike.

 

Herman, Kali. Women in Particular: An Index to American Women. Phoenix: Oryx, 1985.
(Library Annex, HQ 1412 .H55 1984)
A personal name index which locates very brief biographical information and references to entries in biographic resources. Identical information is arranged in five sections (Field and Career, Religious Affiliation, Ethnic and Racial Group, Geographic Location, Alphabetical by Name). Sections are arranged chronologically, which allows for determination of age peers but also slows down location of specific entries.

 

Hine, Darlene Clark, ed. Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. 2 volumes. Brooklyn: Carlson, 1993.
(Olin Reference E 185.86 .B542x 1993; also Africana Reference)
This encyclopedia contains over 800 entries, with about two thirds biographical sketches and one third essays on general topics and organizations. The subjects of the biographies are individuals who played a role on the national stage. A 23-page chronology is also included.
 
International Dictionary of Women's Biography. New York: Continuum, 1982.
(Olin Stacks CT 3202 .I61)
Compilers Uglow and Hinton have aimed to provide "basic biographical information about outstanding women in a variety of fields." Although the majority of entries come from North America, Europe, and the British Commonwealth, there are significant entries for Eastern and other Third World women. There is a subject index and a bibliography of additional reference sources.

 

Ireland, Norma. Index to Women of the World from Ancient to Modern Times. Westwood: Faxon, 1970.
(Olin Reference Z 7963 .B6 I65; also Mann)
An index to books and some journal articles which contain biographical information about the women listed. Covers all centuries from Biblical times to the present. A valuable introductory chapter (now somewhat archaic in its terminology) discusses the role of women as pioneers and patriots, as well as their role in history, religion, literature, etc.

 

James, Edward T. Notable American Women 1607-1950. 5 volumes. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1971. Vol. 4 (1980), The Modern Period 1951-1975; vol. 5 (2004), Completing the Twentieth Century.
(Olin Reference CT 3260 .N89+; also Kroch Reference and Annex)
This work is comparable to the Dictionary of American Biography in that it covers deceased persons only (i.e. women who died after 1950 were not included, no matter how famous). Entries are followed by a bibliography of works by and about the biographee. Women included here are those "who have attained distinction in their own right in work that took them before the public." These volumes contain some 1700 entries compared with DAB's 700 women entries, most of whom were wives of notable men. The long introductory essay by Janet Wilson James provides a broad overview of the sociological and historical position of women in America. Volume 4 adds some 442 women (all of whom died after 1950) to the set. Volume 5 profiles and additional 483 women who died between 1976 and 1999.

 

Kanner, Barbara Penny. Women in Context; Two Hundred Years of British Women Autobiographers: A Reference Guide and Reader. New York: G. K. Hall, 1997.
(Olin Reference Z 7963 .B6 K35 1997)
"[A]n analytical, critical, and biographical guide to 1,040 published narrative autobiographies by 812 British women of all social classes, born in the British Isles and the extended British Empire from the early eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries.... Its primary purpose is to acquaint scholarly readers from every discipline with a host of lesser-known personal narratives offering fresh historical, literary, or psychological insights." [Preface]

 

Kersey, Ethel M., ed. Women Philosophers: A Bio-Critical Source Book. New York: Greenwood, 1989.
(Olin Reference B 105 .W6 K41; also Library Annex)
An alphabetical list of women, born before 1920, who, "...had seriously thought or written in the traditional fields of philosophy, including metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, and logic." (Preface) Entries include a brief biography, and works by and works about categories. A useful introduction and an appendix by historical period, country, and discipline are included.

 

Ogilvie, Marilyn B. Women in Science: Antiquity Through the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986.
(Uris Stacks Q 141 .O34 )
Primarily a biographical dictionary but includes other information on the subject of women in science. An introductory essay divides the past into five chronological sections, placing the biographical pieces in an historical context. For more information, the author provides a brief, annotated bibliography at the end of the book, which includes citations to reference works, general histories, classical sources, non-classical sources, and more. Includes index.

 

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 61 volumes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004- .
(Online version; print version: Olin Reference DA 28 .D4 O95 2004)
Offers portraits of more than 5700 women (from over 50,000 entries)--people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond, from the earliest times to the year 2002. Includes over 10,000 images of the biographies plus a bibliography of the sources used in the preparation of the article; access information for archives (any manuscripts or other materials including sound and film records relating to the biographee); records of any portraits, photographs, or other visual representations; and the person's wealth at death. A monumental work of biography.

 

Significant Contemporary American Feminists. Ed. Jennifer Scanlon. Westport: Greenwood, 1999.
(Olin Reference HQ 1412 .S56x 1999)
Signed entries on fifty contemporary U.S. feminists. Bibliography of works by and about the subject of each entry.

 

Stineman, Esther. American Political Women: Contemporary and Historical Profiles. Littleton: Libraries Unlimited, 1980.
(Olin Stacks HQ 1236 .S85w 1980)
Biographical essays with numerous bibliographic citations discuss the careers of about 60 American women who made it big in the political arena either as congresswomen, ambassadors, special presidential assistants, governors, lieutenant governors, mayors or a combination of these. Selected speeches and writings of the biographee are also included. An index at the back of the volume provides access to information available within an essay, and an appendix listing "women currently serving in government in key departmental, agency and White House positions" is also provided. Stineman also provides appendices listing: women of the Congress, 1917-1980, women ambassadors of the U.S. currently serving, and women currently serving as federal judges.

 

Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day. New York: Routledge, 2001.
(Olin Reference HQ 75.2 .W46x 2001)
Signed entries. "We have made an effort, in particular, to bring to the attention of English-speaking readers the biographies of many men and women from other non-English-speaking countries, and to give due attention to those from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa as well." [Introduction]

 

Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to World War II. New York: Routledge, 2001.
(Olin Reference HQ 75.2 .W47x 2001)
Signed biographical essays. Companion volume to Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day.
"This book contains those figures of importance to gay and lesbian history, whether themselves homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, or none of the above." [Introduction]

 

Who's Who of American Women. [Volumes 4 and 5 called Who's Who of American Women and Women of Canada]. Chicago: Marquis, 1958/1959- .
(Online version; print version: Olin Stacks E 663 .W64 +)
A biographical dictionary, published biennially since 1958, of notable living American women. Online coverage in the Marquis Who's Who database begins in 1985. The latest edition claims to provide some 20,500 biographical sketches of women with "reference value." This includes such people as prominent government figures, administrators, leaders of philanthropic, educational and scientific societies, high-ranking legal and military officials, etc. Entries are unsigned, brief, and subject to editing by the biographee.

 

Women in Psychology: A Bio-Bibliographic Sourcebook. Ed. Agnes N. O'Connell and Nancy Felipe Russo. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.
(Olin Reference BF 109 .A1 W87 1990)
Extensive biographical essays on 36 women who have made major contributions to the filed of psychology with substantial bibliographies of their work. References to biographical sources on an additional 185 women are included in the Appendix.

 

Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Ed. Anne Commire. 17 volumes. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications, 1999-2002.
(Olin Reference HQ 1115 .W6x 1999)
Entries on over 10,000 individual women from all historical eras. Extensive genealogical charts and an index.