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Biography Research Guide: Free Biography Sites

WSU Online Resources and free sites that contain researched and reliable information on people from all countries, time periods and professions, as well as information on biography as a literary form.

Why Use These Free Sites

It is difficult to find verified, research material freely available on the open web (internet). Many results returned from a search engine give you unrelaible, duplicate information that is rarely backed up by research. The sites listed here are the best to use if you need to supplement what you found in our subscription databases. 

Best of the Free Biography Sites

  • Awesome Library - great site for kids; categories such as heroes, composers, ethnic groups, politicians, scientists etc.
  • American President - This website offers in-depth biographies of all US presidents. For each president, the biography starts with a Life in Brief profile, then proceeds to sections about Campaigns and Elections, Foreign Affairs, Impact and Legacy, and other topics.
  • The Biographical Dictionary - covers more than 28,000 notable men and women who have shaped our world from ancient times to the present day
  • Biographical Guide to Congress - standard in most library reference collections in print form; online edition covers 1774 - present. Search by name, state, party, year or Congressional session. Also guide to research collections where presidential papers are housed.
  • Biography Center - multi-lingual biographical dictionary; 11,011 biographies - also links to other sites
  • Biography.com - 25,000 of the greatest lives past and present. Presented by A & E Television Networks
  • Collective Biographies of Women - thousands of women who were included in collective biographies
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography - Available in English or French
  • Distinguished Women of the Past and Present - search by name or subject (chronological before the 20th century). Profiles of women who contributed to our culture in many different ways
  • Encyclopedia of World Biography - This website offers lengthy biographies of thousands of people from around the world, with an emphasis on famous people of the 20th century.
  • From Revolution to Reconstruction - historical persons related to American history from the colonial period until modern times.
  • History of Mathematics -Biographies - University of St. Andrews, Scotland, School of Mathematics and Statistics. Alphabetical and chronological indexes; also search just female mathematicians
  • Info Please - 30,000 biographical profiles and special features about newsworthy people around the world; searchable by name or subject category
  • Noble Prize Winners - Nobel Prize winners, by date or category; full biographies
  • Presidents of the U. S. - from the White House history site
  • POTUS: Presidents of the United States - background information, election results, cabinet members, notable events, and some points of interest on each of the presidents. Links to biographies, historical documents, audio and video files, and other presidential sites are also included to enrich this site from the Internet Public Library
  • Social Networks and Archival Context  - over 3.7 million biographical descriptions of people, both individuals and groups
  • Well Known People Who Happen to Be Canadian - actors, artists, journalists, etc.
  • Women's International Center - brief biographies, most with color picture
  • World of Scientific Biography - search by branch of science, gender, nationality, historical periods.

Links to More Free Sites

 

  • Biography Search Engines -  links to a multitude of sites; useful for specific categories such as Americans only, presidents, celebrities, deceased, women, British monarchs etc.
  • Internet Public Library - annotated links to hundreds of general and highly specialized biography sites around the Web
  • Library Spot - general biographies, by type (artists, authors, etc.) or ethnicity
  • Ref Desk - links to 32 of the best biographical sites, including many sites specifically by subject categories