Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
These resources are great starting points because they can take you directly to information about your person or identify information from a wide range of sources. Pay attention to how you search. Typing the last name first is usually a good idea. Sometimes sources may use initials or full names or there could be variant spellings. Allow for all possibilities in your searching.
From the Article Databases select Biographies as the type to see all the biographical databases.
Check the listings of the vertical files in the South Caroliniana Library. Some of the lists are available online: People in SC Vertical files, African American History in South Carolina, Art & Artists in South Carolina (materials housed off-site), Religion/Churches .
Biography (Gale in Context)
Offers full text of biographies from printed sources. You can also generate lists of people based on occupation, nationality, ethnicity, gender, and birth or death years.
Includes Who Was Who in America, Who's Who in American, Notable American Women and other biographical reference works.
Biography Reference Bank
Includes coverage of "Current Biography" and "World Authors" series, periodicals coverage of "Biography Index," and the specialist biographical content of "Junior Authors & Illustrators."
American National Biography
Information on the lives of over 19,000 people from all eras who have influenced and shaped American history and culture. Ranges in time from the earliest recorded European explorations to the very recent past.
African American Biographical Database
Content from "Black Biographical Dictionaries 1790-1950." Can generate a list of people based on geographical area, occupation, religion, gender, and a range of birth and death dates. More than 29,000 entries.
Oxford African American Studies Center
Offers over 6,000 biographies. Can browse or search by birth and death dates or places, sex, activity or profession, era and categories.
Black Thought and Culture
Contains 1,297 sources with 1,098 authors, covering the non-fiction published works of leading African Americans. Browse Subjects then click link to Persons
Current Biography Illustrated
Content of the printed monthly magazine "Current Biography" in a searchable, electronic format.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Searchable collection of reference books and encyclopedias in electronic format. Titles cover arts, biography, business, environment, history, literature, medicine, multicultural studies, science, and social science.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
People connected to the British Isles and British history.
Would tend to expect briefer entries, but convenient searching at your fingertips.
Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
Database of primary source material, but does include some biographical sources.
Biography Index Past and Present
Identifies articles and books back to 1946.
Especially if your person is obscure, you could get some leads through articles and books.