Falvey Library has a number of biographical dictionaries, both online and in print, which can be a helpful source for basic biographical facts, references to authoritative biographies and primary sources authored by the subject. Coverage of these dictionaries varies widely. Note that the American National Biography only includes already diseased American citizens whereas the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography focuses exclusively on British citizens. Current Biography Plus treats mostly contemporary subjects and links to scholarly journal articles. The Encyclopedia of World Biography covers every part of the world from all time periods. Please consult the Library's Biographies Guide for further biographical resource.
Published biographies and autobiographies can be found in the Library's catalog. Biographies and autobiographies not owned by Falvey Library can be located and loaned through WorldCat. The Borrow from another library link in WorldCat will generate an interlibrary loan form.
Biographies can be found via a subject search, e.g. Sun, Yat Sen. The catalog will list the exact subject heading under topic on the right hand side. Click on the topic (Sun, Yat Sen, 1866-1925) to narrow your results further. Autobiographies, diaries, and other writings can be found via an author search. A simple search for Sun, Yat Sen will result in a fairly large number of hits, but the catalog lists the Library of Congress author heading Sun, Yat Sen, 1866-1925 at the top of the results list. This link will limit the results list to exact author matches.
Biographies for some less well known subjects may only be available as dissertations, book chapters, or journal articles. Dissertations can be found through the Library's Dissertations & Theses index, book chapters and journal articles are indexed in America: History & Life and Historical Abstracts.
Falvey has a wide selection of books on this topic. Look for books starting with the call number CT21 up to CT25 on the second floor of the Library. Here are some of the titles from the Library's collection:
Book reviews can be found in a number of indexes available through the Library. The Library's Book and Movie Reviews Guide lists most of them. America: History & Life, Historical Abstracts and JSTOR include book reviews published in scholarly history journals. These book reviews are often more critical and in-depth. Please be aware that JSTOR excludes the last 3 to 8 years of archived journals and hence does not include recently published book reviews. The advanced search in JSTOR can be limited to reviews. Unfortunately, there are no limits for book reviews in America: History & Life and Historical Abstracts, but a search for the title of a book should bring up any available reviews.
Try a search for "new woman of Japan: a political biography of Kato Shidzue" in Historical Abstracts or a search for "Pearl S. Buck: a cultural biography" in America: History and Life. You may also combine both indexes by clicking on the Choose Databases link at the top of the search screen and search them simultaneously.
Primary sources can be found in a wide variety of formats and resources. The Library's catalog is a good starting point. Include keywords that describe primary sources such as correspondence, diaries or sources together with the subject's name in the search box. WorldCat should be used to identify primary sources published in books not owned by Falvey Library. Most titles retrieved through WorldCat can be obtained via interlibrary loan.
Model subject searches for primary sources in the Library's catalog and WorldCat:
diaries AND china
"personal narratives" AND japan
correspondence AND china
sources AND japan
"description and travel" AND china
Alternatively, autobiographies, diaries, and letters of any subject can be found via an author search.
Below is a list of recommended digital archives that the Library owns or subscribes to:
Ask your librarian for further suggestions.
Critical articles published in scholarly journals can be found through a variety of online indexes to which the Library subscribes. Please note that most indexes cover either specific geographic areas, time periods, or academic disciplines. Read the index/database description carefully before you select a resource. Good starting points are:
For further indexes of scholarly journals please consult the Subject Guides page on the Library’s homepage or ask for advice.
Jutta Seibert is the subject librarian for History and is available for research consultations, instruction, curricular support & purchase requests.