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Literary Biographies Guide Ask Us

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Literary Biographies

Full-length biographies of individuals may be found by using UNB WorldCat, our library catalogue. The most efficient way of finding such works is usually to choose a Subject search and then enter a person's name followed by the word "biography", as in the following example:


You may wish to use an index to biographical works. They indicate which resources hold information about a person. Some examples are:

Biography and Genealogy Master Index. (2nd ed., Vols 1-8, and supplements). (1980 -). Detroit: Gale.
HIL-REF CT213 .B622

Biography Index. (1946). New York: H. W. Wilson.
HIL-REF CT104 .B5544

General biographical works contain listings of persons from many fields and are sometimes limited by country and sometimes limited to people who are living. In many cases they contain brief entries concerning education, positions held, etc. A few examples are:

Canadian Who's Who. (1910 -). Toronto: University of Toronto.
(Latest edition held at the Reference Desk).
1997 edition available online at:
HIL-REF FC25 .C389

Contemporary Authors. (1962). Detroit: Gale.

Current Biography Yearbook. (1940). New York: H. W. Wilson.

International Who's Who. (1949). London: Europa Publications Ltd.
HIL-REF CT120 .15

Dictionary of American Biography. (1928-36). New York: Scribner's.
Also supplements covering 1935 to 1975. Comprehensive index complete through supplement eight.
HIL- REF E176 .D563

Dictionary of Canadian Biography. (Vols. 1-14). (1966 - 1998). Index to Vols. 1-12. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
A multi-volume set containing signed, scholarly articles about Canadians who died before 1901. Each volume contains biographies of people who died within the period indicated on the spine. Vols. 1-14 cover up to 1920. Additional volumes are in progress.

MacKay, W. A. (Ed.). (1978). The MacMillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography ( 4th ed.).
Toronto: Macmillan.
Contains brief articles about Canadians who died before 1976.
HIL-REF FC25 .M33 1978

Profiles in Canadian Literature. (Vols. 1-8). (1980 -). Toronto: Dundurn Press.
HIL-REF PS8071 .P76

Ripley, G., & Mercer, A. (Eds.). Who's Who in Canadian Literature. (1983). Toronto: Reference Press.
HIL-REF PS8081 .W46

Dictionary of National Biography. (Vols. 1-22, and supplements). (1905 - 1909). London: Smith, Elder.

Newspapers and journals can also contain valuable biographical information. There are many indexes that will locate articles. A few examples are:

CBCA (Canadian Business and Current Affairs) Fulltext
Provides the fulltext of over 150 Canadian periodicals and other sources of current affairs and business information, as well as indexing of over 600 periodicals and 9 daily news sources. (CBCA Fulltext Business covers 130 industry and professional periodicals.)
Available online via: Indexes and Abstracts
Available in print at: HIL-REF AI3. C2334

Canadian Index. (1993 -). Toronto: Micromedia.
(Shelved in Microforms Centre). Much the same content as CBCA.

Canadian Periodical Index. (1920 -). Toronto: InfoGlobe.
(Located on index tables in the Main Lobby).

New York Times Obituaries Index 1858-1978. (Vols. 1-2). New York: New York Times.
(For more recent obituaries use the New York Times Index located in the Microforms Centre).

Times Index. (1785 -). Reading, England: Research Publications.
Recent volumes of the index to the London Times are in paper format. Most earlier years are on microfilm. Ask at the Microforms Centre.

Other places to check include books written about the author's genre. For example, there might be biographical information on Conan Doyle in a history of the mystery novel. Biographies of writers may contain biographical information of other writers of the same era. Information on D. H. Lawrence may be found in an Ezra Pound biography. You should also check UNB Libraries' Book Reviews Guide. Please remember: Ask the Reference staff for assistance!

The staff members of UNB Libraries are always happy to provide assistance or instruction. Library staff are available to answer your questions in person at the information desk, by telephone, email, or through LIVE, UNB Libraries' virtual reference service. For more details, including service hours, see Ask a Librarian.


Last modified on March 5, 2024 11:21