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Biography: Reference Books

Find biographical information about all kinds of people: contemporaries and historical figures, famous and not-so-famous.

Find Books

The reference books listed on this page are just our most helpful books. To find others, use the catalog search on the "Books" page.

Reference Books

If you can't find someone's biography online or if you need more information, don't neglect the library's print collection. If you know nothing about a person, begin with Biography and Genealogy Master Index or Biography Index. Those indexes will guide you to sources with biographical sketches about your subject. If you already know something about the person, such as his nationality or occupation, you can begin with a specialized book. For example, if you wanted to know about a U.S. president, you could check American National Biography; if you wanted to know about the author of a book, you might check Contemporary Authors. The specialized works listed below are just a small fraction of the biographical sources available in the Mack Library. Check the library catalog for others, or ask a library worker for a recommendation.