Biography Search, Biography Videos, Bio News & Biographical Links (History - Biographical Search, Bio Search, Biography Links)  

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  Biographical Information Search & Links

A&E's Biography Channel website has biography TV listings, text biographies, and a discussion forum area.

    The TIME Magazine Online Archive includes over 321,000 articles and over 4,400 covers from every issue of TIME, beginning with the first issue published: March 3, 1923.

Wikipedia is a multilingual project to create a complete and accurate "open" content free online encyclopedia, which includes many biographical articles. You can search for articles with this form:

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The Information Please Almanac contains over 30,000 brief biographies, searchable with the form below. You can also browse the bios by category.

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The FBI Freedom of Information Act Vaultcontains thousands of pages of frequently requested FBI documents (primarily regarding investigations of individuals) that have been released under the provisions of the FOIA. Many of these documents can be downloaded in PDF format. In the case of very lengthy documents, only summaries or excerpts from the documents are on-line.

A search for "biography" at Google Books produces 347 results that are free to read online (and usually free to download in .pdf format, and some in .epub format), and more on the way.

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e.g. Hamilton Mabie or "Hamilton Wright Mabie"

e.g. O'Reilly

e.g.Medieval History or "Medieval History"

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  Hollywood Biography Search

The All Movie Guide is an excellent guide to films, actors and actresses, directors, and more. You can search for movie info by film name or person's name. more movie search, links & news

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People Magazine: Rock Hall of Fame

  Sports Biography Reference

Baseball Search: The Baseball Reference is loaded with baseball bios, history, stats, and rules.

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  Biography Links Lists

Biography Center has searchable links to over 25,000 online biographies at many websites, over 10,000 of them in English. Their site search engine appears to be out of order, but the biography links are arranged alphabetically by subject, and browsing them works fine.

BBC Historic Figures contains over 300 biographies.

The World Biographical Information System Online, a fee-based service, is a biographical database containing references to over 5 million persons, with "approximately 10 million entries from over 8,600 reference works: works written since the 16th century in 40 languages and comprising more than 15,000 volumes."

Notable Women International is a searchable database of bio info, purportedly covering over 30,000 women worldwide. However, at present you can only search 600 bios online. In English & German.

About Famous People has numerous bios, variable in quality. is a searchable collection of thousands of short bios in Spanish.

TIME Magazine, March 8, 1954, p. 48:

Who's Who's Who
who's who (hooz hoo). Which persons are of standing or importance. [caps] A book of biographical records of contemporary persons of importance.

    This dictionary definition refers to a fat (3,370 pages) red reference book which is indispensable to libraries, businessmen and working newsmen. Dozens of times a day in city rooms in the U.S., Who's Who in America is consulted by reporters for information. Who's Who has become such an American institution that the Federal Trade Commission has ruled it unfair trade practice for anyone except A. N. Marquis Co. to use the title without permission. Last week, as the biennial new edition was readied for sale, Who's Who's owner and editor Wheeler Sammons, 64, took formal steps to make the book an institution. Sammons, a Pickwickian-looking arbiter of fame who considers listing in his book roughly the American equivalent of making the Queen's Honors List, set up a nonprofit foundation with a board of trustees to protect Who's Who's integrity and put its profits into biographical research. Explained editor Sammons: "I never want Who's Who to fall into irresponsible hands."

    There has often been temptation to be irresponsible. Sammons and his staff have been threatened with lawsuits and physical violence, and have been offered everything from cash bribes and lavish gifts to orders for thousands of copies of the book, just for adding a name and biography. (One West Coast multimillionaire offered to buy $2,000 worth of books if Who's Who would just include a long list of his wife's French forebears.) But Editor Sammons has an iron-clad rule that "you cannot buy, bribe or flatter your way into Who's Who.

    Biographees. Such a policy has made Who's Who a valuable piece of property. Sammons has been offered $1,000,000 for it. Founded in 1897 by Albert Nelson Marquis, a Cincinnati calendar and directory publisher, Who's Who was already firmly established when Sammons joined the firm in 1926. At that time Marquis was in his 70s. Five years later Sammons took over entirely, and made it a family affair (Founder Marquis became "editor emeritus," died in 1943). Editor Sammons' wife Dorothy, 66, is the obituary expert for the sister book, Who Was Who in America, a listing of the famous dead, while his son Wheeler Jr., 39, and daughter Betty, 31, are in the research department which decides who gets into Who's Who.

    To select the 48,716 "biographees," the book's 15-man research staff considers some 250,000 names for every edition, drops about 5,000 and adds about 8,000 new names. Biographees come from two groups: 1) "arbitrary," e.g., top public officials, churchmen, high-ranking military men, heads of large universities, 2) "general reference interest," i.e., anyone who has done something that makes him noteworthy. To find names for the second group, the staff culls hundreds of newspapers, magazines, directors and membership lists of companies and organizations, even gets job descriptions from big corporations to make sure it is not overlooking an important executive buried under an unimportant title.

    Even if the biographee objects to being listed, he is carried if he is important enough. Every biographee supplies his own listing on a form sent out by Who's Who, except in special cases. (Stalin's biography was sent by the Russian embassy in Washington.) Dwight Eisenhower, when he was commander at NATO, noticed that his listing had grown longer and longer as he acquired new honors, pared it down to 24 lines. Former President Harry S. Truman (25 lines) argued that his middle initial should be followed by a period, even though the initial stood for nothing, but in the current issue the period was dropped anyway. Longest entry in the book: International Business Machine Board Chairman Thomas Watson (181 lines).

    Who Was Who. Names are dropped much more readily than they are added. Writers who turn out one important book and then fade out quickly join the "non-current" (i.e., dropped) list. Death or conviction for a crime are automatic reasons for dropping a name, although after death the name may turn up in Who Was Who. Alger Hiss went out after he was convicted of perjury. German-American Bundsman Fritz Kuhn, as well as Communist Boss William Z. Foster were knocked out for being too "notorious." No sports figures were included until 1943, when the rule was changed. Among the sports figures that Who's Who has listed: West Point's Football Coach Earl Blaik, Gene Tunney and Bobby Jones. In the 1952-53 edition Editor Sammons himself was dropped as an office joke perpetrated by his daughter, but he is back in the new edition.

    The Sammons family also puts out Who Knows--And What, Who's Who in Commerce and Industry and several other similar books in which names often go that do not make the parent edition. For imitators who pirate his list for other books, Editor Sammons has devised a neat trap. Under every alphabetical division, he has a "burglar alarm," a fake listing of a nonexistent person, with an address that leads right back to Who's Who's door. Pirates trapped last year: two.