Helpful Websites

Biographical Directory for the United States Congress

Searchable index by name, state, position, party, and years in Congress. Covers 1774-present.

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Searchable collection of biographies of famous people and information on historical events, crimes, and scandals.

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Our First Ladies

From the official White House website, information about historical First Ladies.

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Presidents of the United States

From the official White House website, biographies of historical presidents.

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Recommended Databases

Subject indexes such as MLA and Historical Abstracts can be used to find citations to biographical information found in newspapers, journals, and books. For biographical information on authors, Gale Literary Sources is a good starting point.

MLA International Bibliography

Subjects within the MLA International Bibliography consist of literature, language and linguistics, creative writing, English, folklore, film, foreign languages and literatures, literary theory & criticism, theatre, dramatic arts, as well as the historical aspects of printing and publishing. Listings on rhetoric and composition and the history, theory and practice of teaching language and literature are also included.

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Use MLA International Bibliography for citations to the monthly periodical Biography, which is a good source for contemporary biographies.
Historical Abstracts

Historical Abstracts covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) focusing on the 15th century forward, including art history, world history, military history, women's history, history of education, foreign languages and literatures, and more.

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At the main LexisNexis page, choose "People" for short full text bios on politicians, business executives, etc.
Biography Reference Center

Biography Reference Center offers a comprehensive collection of more than 460,000 full-text biographies, including the complete full-text run of Biography Today and Biography, as well as thousands of narrative biographies that are not available in other databases.

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Biography and Genealogy Master Index

Biography and Genealogy Master Index indexes current, easily accessible references sources, as well as important retrospective works that cover individuals, both living and deceased, from every field of activity and from all areas of the world. The total number of biographical sketches exceeds 17 million citations and points to more than 2000 publications, covering over 5 million people. The database contains names, birth/ death years, and bibliographic references to books containing material on that person and an indication of which books or articles include a portrait.

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Biography (Gale in Context)

Gale In Context: Biography is an engaging online experience for those seeking contextual information on the world's most influential people. Biography merges Gale's authoritative reference content with periodicals and multimedia organized into a user-friendly portal experience while allowing users to search for people based on name, occupation, nationality, ethnicity, birth/death dates and places, or gender as well as keyword and full text.

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Gale Literary Sources

Presents industry-leading literature content, including criticism, biographies, reference articles, reviews, primary sources, plot analysis, explication, and multimedia. Up-to-date biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism and reviews on more than 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world. Searches across Gale Virtual Reference Library, Literature Criticism Online and Something About the Author Online.

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ProQuest Learning: Literature

Full-text works of poetry, prose and drama, and secondary sources such as author biographies, literary criticisms, essays, reviews and interviews. Designed with schools and public libraries in mind.

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History Study Center

A collection of primary and secondary sources on global history from ancient times to the present day. Contents include reference books, essays, journal articles, historical newspaper and magazine articles, maps, rare books, government documents, transcripts of historical speeches, images and video clips. 

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Search the Library Catalog

Books and print materials such as government documents can be found using the Library Catalog.

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Using the Library Catalog

Suggested KEYWORD searches:

  • To do the broadest possible search to find items by and about the person, do a KEYWORD search with the word near between the first and last names.
  • "biography and dictionaries and artists" will give you sources with biographical information for the broad group of "artists."
  • "biography and authors and american" - source with information on American authors.
  • "biography and france and 19th century" - biographies about the French in the 19th century.
  • "encyclopedias and [your chosen subject area]" - for example, encyclopedias and art.

Suggested SUBJECT searches:

  • "[Last name] [first name or initial]" of the person you are researching

You can add a name to these searches, if desired:

Contact Librarian

Portrait of Lisa Coats
Humanities Librarian
Phone Number: 

Liaison Librarian to Creative Writing, English, Film Studies, Music, Philosophy and Religion, Theatre, Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies, World Languages and Cultures

Interlibrary Loan

If we do not have the full-text of the articles, or a book you need, fill out the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) form and request it. This is a free service for students, faculty, and staff. 

ILL page:

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