subject guide: biographies

Biography: How to Find Info about Famous and Not-So-Famous People

This guide highlights a few of the numerous biographies located in the library.  It also includes periodicals and websites that contain anywhere from snippets to pages and pages worth of biographical information. 

Key Terms

Biography = written history of a person's life
Autobiography = a biography of a person written by himself or herself
Memoir = a narrative composed from personal experience

Library Materials

The majority of biographies (and autobiographies and memoirs) in the library are shelved together by the person's last name in the Biography section of each collection (Adult, Juvenile, and Multimedia).
However, some biographies are shelved by Dewey Decimal number in the relevant subject area (musicians in the 780s, etc.).

John Adams
by David McCullough
Also available in LARGE PRINT and on CD and Cassette.

Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

Marilyn Monroe
by Barbara Leaming
791.43 LEA

Helen Keller
by Dennis Wepman
JBIO Keller

Online Databases

Biography Resource Center -

This is a comprehensive database of biographical information on over 340,000 people from throughout history, around the world, and across all disciplines and subject areas. It combines more than 435,000 biographies from over 1,000 volumes of more than 135 respected Gale sources such as Contemporary Authors, Encyclopedia of World Biography, Newsmakers, Contemporary Theatre, Film, & Television, Contemporary Musicians, Historic World Leaders, Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists, Contemporary Black Biography, Religious Leaders of America, International Dictionary of Art and Artists, Writers Directory, and many more, with more than 538,000 full-text articles from nearly 300 magazines including American History, The Christian Century, Saturday Night, and U.S. News & World Report.  This database is available FREE through INSPIRE. 

Websites -
Read articles and watch biographical videos on a variety of famous folks including historical, political, and entertainment figures. 


Dead People Server -
Not sure if a celebrity has passed?  Search this database of "interesting celebrities" to find out.


Indiana Biography Index -
Search the online version of the Indiana State Library's Indiana Biography Index for famous and ordinary Hoosiers. -
Search over 33,000 entries for notable men and women through the ages.


Related Catalog Searches



Biography -- Indexes

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