About

Discover biographies of more than 19,000 men and women — from all eras and walks of life — whose lives have shaped American history and culture.

  Emily Dickinson  Machito  Rosie the Riveter   Olaudah Equiano  Eleanor Roosevelt

Biography matters. From missionaries to musicians, social workers to statisticians, cowboys to chemists, and Vikings to astronauts, the portraits in the American National Biography Online (the ANB) reflect the rich diversity of American life from pre-colonial times to the present day.

Featuring thousands of illustrations, and tens of thousands of hyperlinked cross-references and links to other (select) websites, the ANB is a powerful research tool for all levels of study.

Published in 24 volumes in 1999 and then online in 2000, the ANB won instant acclaim as the new authority in American biographies. Winner of the American Library Association's Dartmouth Medal as the best reference work of the year, the ANB now serves readers in thousands of school, public, and academic libraries around the world.

Read a short history of the ANB >

Key features of the ANB include:

  • A responsive design enabling seamless access across different formats
  • Searching using a query builder, helping you get straight to the content you need
  • Social media integration, so you can share content across channels
  • Searching across multimedia, including images and podcasts where available, making it easier to find different types of content

New biographies are added to the ANB on a regular basis, and revisions are made to already published entries, giving you access to the most up-to-date and accurate information available.

Read General Editor Susan Ware's introduction >

The ANB is published by Oxford University Press under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies.

Have you contributed an article to the ANB, or are you interested in writing a biography? Visit our page for contributors to find out more.

Obtaining access to the ANB

The ANB is available to libraries, schools, and other institutions around the world. If you don't have access to the ANB you can recommend it to your librarian today. The ANB is also available to individuals on annual subscription - find out how to subscribe.

If you're a librarian, visit our Customer Services page where you'll be able to find out more about how to subscribe, the excellent library support services we offer, and information on how your institution can claim a 30-day free trial.


Image credits:

Emily Dickinson: Frontispiece, Letters of Emily Dickinson, 1894. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90564).

Machito: © William P. Gottlieb; used by permission. William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress (LC-GLB23-0585 DLC).

Rosie the Riveter: We Can Do It! 1942 poster by J. Howard Miller. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Olaudah Equiano: From the frontispiece of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, 1794.Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-54026).

Eleanor Roosevelt: Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-25812 DLC).