Introduction     Online Indexes and Databases     Images     Online Newspapers and periodicals     Online Census and Family Records     Print and Microform Resources     Searching IUCAT


The collections of Indiana University Bloomington Libraries contain thousands of resources for biographical information. Some sources are general, and some are specific to a country or geographic area, ethnic group, historic era, profession, activity or trade.
Newspapers may record incidents in a person's life, depending on their prominence, and at the end of it supply an obituary.
Periodicals may include profiles of individuals and like newspapers note their contributions. They often provide a necrology for commemorating at least professional lives.
Authors or compilers of biographical reference works may concentrate on a variety of single fields, compiling entries for people in the performing arts, sculture, music, film, politics, and other areas of endeavor, including crime. Top

Online Indexes and Databases

Acta Sanctorum
Contains the lives of the saints as published over three hundred years by the Société des Bollandistes. All prefatory material, original texts, critical apparatus and indices, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina (BHL) reference numbers, are also included.

African Writers Series
Provides full-text access for over 200 volumes of fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fictional prose by African authors, based on Heinemann African Writers Series. Works are in English or in English translation.

Allgemeines Kunstlerlexikon Online (Artists of the World Online)
Allgemeines Kunstlerlexikon Online contains authoritative, up-to-date biographical information on more than one-million artists. Each article contains information on the artist's creative work, historical significance, details of exhibitions, and bibliographies.

American Drama
Contains more than 1,500 dramatic works from the early eighteenth century up to the beginning of the twentieth century. Represented genres include plays in verse, farces, melodramas, minstrel shows, realist plays, frontier plays, temperance dialogues, and others. Coverage: 1714-1915

Current issues of American Anthropological Association's journals and bulletins as well as archived, full-text issues of all the AAA's journals, newsletters and bulletins. Coverage: 1900 to present

Artemis Literary Sources
Artemis Literary Sources contains primary sources, critical articles, literary and cultural analysis, and biographies.

Arts: Search
Arts: Search (formerly Designinform) consists of three databases: Design Abstracts Retrospective, ReVIEW, and Design Profiles. Coverage: 19th Century to present

Asian American Drama
Begins with the works of Sadakichi Hartmann in the late-nineteenth century and hosts contemporary playwrights, productions, and biographical and theatrical information. Includes 252 plays by 42 playwrights, together with detailed, fielded information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more.

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
A database of biographical information, many with photos, for all individuals who have served in the United States Congress and the Continental Congress

Biographical information on U.S. State Department officials, including ambassadors to foreign governments, with some pictures

Biographical memoirs of fellows of the Royal Society
Continues Obituary notices of fellows of the Royal Society
Generally popular figures with extra features such as celebrity news and who died today?

Biography and Genealogy Master Index
Indexes biographical entries in about 2700 reference books, covering contemporary and historical figures.

Biography in Context
Full-text biographical information on more than 528,000 people from throughout history.

Blackwell Reference Online
A collection of over 300 online reference books in the humanities and social sciences.

Brepolis Medieval Encyclopaedias
Combines access to the Lexikon des Mittelalters with a supplement, the International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages. The Lexikon des Mittelalters online contains some 37,000 signed articles and covers all aspects of medieval studies for the period 300 to 1500.

Brill's New Pauly: Encyclopedia of the Ancient World
Unrivalled reference work for the ancient world, including fifteen volumes on Greco-Roman antiquity, and five volumes on the classical tradition.

The Catholic Encyclopedia
Digitized version of the 1917 edition

Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography
Lives of scientists from classical antiquity to modern times.

CQ Congress Collection
A research and reference tool for historical analysis of members of Congress, their voting behavior, and the legislative process. Coverage: 1981 to present.

CQ Political Reference Suite
An online reference tool on American politics and world affairs. Coverage: 1945 to present.

CQ Supreme Court Collection
A contextual framework and analysis of the Supreme Court and its decisions, with updates and expert commentary, providing patrons with scope and depth of content. Coverage: 1789 to present.

Credo Reference
Cross searchable, full text suite of of encyclopedias, dictionaries, guides, companions, atlases, chronologies, and other reference resources.

Current Biography Illustrated
Provides access to the full text biographies, images, and obituaries from all of the volumes of Current Biography Yearbook.

Dictionary of Literary Biography
Biographical information for literary figures. Complete text of Gale's DLB series.

Dictionary of National Biography
60,000 biographies of people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond, from the earliest times to the year 2000.

This free resource is a comprehensive directory of chemical research and researchers at universities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Dun & Bradstreet's Million Dollar Database
Directory of public and private businesses in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico regardless of size with additional international business profiles. Search by various criteria, SIC or NAICS codes, or executive names.

Encyclopaedia Britannica
The equivalent of the complete printed Encyclopaedia Britannica plus Internet links.

Encyclopaedia Judaica
Authoritative reference resource for Jewish knowledge and life.

Encyclopaedia of Islam
The standard, authoritative encyclopedia on the religion of Islam and the Islamicate world. Online edition of print version published 1954-2003.

Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
Over 5,000 articles in the life sciences broadly defined with a glossary containing over 7,000 terms.

Encyclopedia of Music in Canada
Provides comprehensive coverage of music in Canada, in either English or French.

Film Index International
Contains data from the British Film Institute covering world cinema from 1930 to the present.

Gale Virtual Reference Library
Access to, among other things, The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives.

Grove Dictionary of Art (Oxford Art Online)
Online version of award-winning Grove Dictionary of Art contains the fulltext of all 41,000 articles of the 34-volume print edition, including scholarly bibliographies.

Guide to American Government A-Z Series: Supreme Court
Information on the Supreme Court, its decisions, its justices and its impacts.

Holocaust Encyclopedia
An encyclopedia with extra features concerning the Holocaust and the principal figures involved.

International Index to the Performing Arts
Covers the arts and entertainment industry, including dance, film, television, drama, theatre, stagecraft, musical theatre, broadcast, circus, comedy, storytelling, opera, pantomime, puppetry, magic, and more.

International Index to Music Periodicals
Index of more than 300 international music periodicals from over 20 countries.

LexisNexis Academic
Search by content type, then select Biographical information. You may also search the News.

Literature Resource Center
Biographies, bibliographies, and critical analysis of authors from all time periods in many genres. Search by author, title, genre, literary movement or literary themes.

Includes full-text of poems, essays and short stories from antiquity to the present.

An index to mathematical literature with a section for biographies of mathematicians.

Music Index Online
Subject and author index to more than 655 international music journals covering every aspect of classical, popular, and world music.

Nobel Prize
Information about the Nobel Prizes, the Nobel Laureates and their discoveries. It also provides information about the donor, Alfred Nobel and his will, and the Nobel Foundation.

North American Theatre Online
A database of full-text reference works in theatre, drama, and related fields, including links to full-text plays.

Orlando more info Provides entries on authors' lives and writing careers, contextual material, timelines, sets of internal links, and bibliographies from centuries of women's writing.

Oxford Classical Dictionary (OCD)
Over 6,000 entries provide comprehensive coverage of the Greco-Roman world, including early Christianity.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt
Contains 600 entries covering the prehistoric, predynastic, and dynastic phases of ancient Egypt within the context of its contiguous and sometimes conquering neighbors.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance
Broad and international in scope, this encyclopedia covers all aspects of theatre and performance, from costuming, to actors, to Broadway shows. Coverage: Ancient Greece to present.

Oxford Music Online
Oxford Music Online incorporates Grove Music Online, the Oxford Dictionary of Music, and the Oxford Companion to Music.

Oxford Reference Online
Approximately 100 language and subject dictionaries and reference works. Each title may be searched separately and a search may also be made across all.

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
Index with abstracts in English to all categories of literature about all genres of music. Books, theses and dissertations, articles in journals.

RILM Retrospective Abstracts of Music Literature
A music bibliography providing coverage of music literature dating before 1967.

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Online version of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Something About the Author
Biographies of children's authors and illustrators.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
A dynamic reference work, each entry is maintained by an expert in the field. All entries and updates are refereed by the Editorial Board.

World Biographical Information System
Worldwide index to biographical information on people from the 16th to the 20th centuries.


Online Images

AP PhotoArchive
An electronic library containing the AP's current photos and a selection of pictures from their 50 million image print and negative library. International in scope with images dating back as early as 1826.

Current Biography Illustrated
Full text biographies, images, and obituaries from the entire run of Current Biography.

EBSCO Images
A searchable collection of images ranging from photographs and maps to illustrations and etchings.

Famous People & Historical Figures

Historical figures from the Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas at Austin

Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection

League of Nations Photo Archive
This website provides access to photos from the League of Nations Archives, including individuals, Assemblies, Councils, Commissions and Committes and delegations.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google

Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures

National Portrait Gallery (Britain)

National Portrait Gallery (U.S.)

New York Public Library Digital Collections

Old Pictures

Picture Post Historical Archive, 1938-1957
Popular British photojournalism magazine, full text and images

Time Magazine Covers
Covers of Time from 1923 to the present.

U.S. Government Photos and Images

Van Vechten Collection (Library of Congress)
The Carl Van Vechten Photographs Collection at the Library of Congress consists of 1,395 photographs taken by American photographer Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) between 1932 and 1964. The bulk of the collection consists of portrait photographs of celebrities, including many figures from the Harlem Renaissance. A much smaller portion of the collection is an assortment of American landscapes.

Wikimedia Commons


Online Newspapers and Periodicals
Old News

Access World News
Full-text access to local and regional newspapers (paid advertisements are excluded).

LexisNexis Academic



Online Census and Family Records

Ancestry Library Edition
Online genealogy resource, including manuscript census records

Related tools

Family Search
From the Latter Day Saints. Coverage includes more than 957 million names available in searchable databases. Data output can include birth and death dates; name of parents; social security number; and city, state, and county of death.

Social Security Death Index
Search names in the Social Security Death Index. Includes the following information on each decedent, if the data is available to the Social Security Administration: first and last name, birth and death dates, social security number and state issued, and last residence/death benefit payment.


Print and Microform Resources

World Biographical Index Online
Electronic index to biographical resources worldwide. Results include references to print volumes and to the microfilm collections which the library owns.

Guide to Genealogy Research at the IUB Libraries

The collections of the Indiana University Libraries contain thousands of biographical resources. Search IUCAT for items available in print, microform or electronic text.


Searching IUCAT

Find biographical resources by searching IUCAT

You may also limit your search to Online only materials, and retrieve only items on the IU Bloomington campus
For online books, remember to check the "online only" box

Search examples:

All fields     Jeannette AND Rankin AND biography

All fields     Jeannette AND Rankin
Subject         Biography

All fields    Jeannette AND Rankin
Subject         Biography
Library          All Bloomington Libraries or select one

All fields         Asia
Subject        biography AND women
Online only

All Fields         Business AND biography
All fields        business AND biography AND dictionary


last revised June 1, 2015