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The life of a nation is told by the lives of its people



  • Over 19,000 biographies of significant, influential or notorious figures from American history written by prominent scholars
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Letter from Susan Ware, Editor

What's new: July 2019

This update features nine new biographies of figures involved in American government and politics. Highlights include First Lady Nancy Reagan; conservative justice Robert Bork; Secretary of State Warren Christopher; and two major figures from the Social Security Administration: the statistician Mollie Orshansky, who developed the threshold of poverty, and Bob Ball, a longtime SSA official who served as the commissioner of Social Security from 1962 to 1973.

Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan (1921–2016) was First Lady of the United States from 1981-1989, the years her husband Ronald Reagan was in office. She is perhaps best known for the “Just Say No” campaign she initiated in 1982 to combat drug use. An astute politician in her own right, Nancy Reagan influenced her husband’s policies and personnel decisions and emerged as a defender of his image and historical legacy.




JULY 25, 2019

What's new: July 2019

Discover nine new biographies of figures involved in American government and politics.

JUNE 27, 2019

What's new: June 2019

Explore fifteen new biographies of writers and editors.

JUNE 18, 2019

Four remarkable LGBTQ activists

Discover the lives of four pivotal LGBTQ activists to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.