Welcome to American National Biography Online
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
- Life of the day now available as an email to your inbox or by RSS feed
- Learn about our editors and the Letter from the General Editor Susan Ware.
The October update features six new biographies, including American Council of Learned Societies leaders Frederick Burkhardt and Whitney J. Oates—please click here to learn more about ACLS and the ANB. The update also includes Maria Martin, whose illustrations enlivened the work of John Hames Audubon; technology professors Hamilton Lee and David Scott Campbell; and disgraced Nobel Prize winner D. Carleton Gadjusek.
Frederick Burkhardt (1913–2007) was a key figure in the growth of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), a national federation of scholarly associations created in 1919 to advance the humanities – it would also sponsor two foundational research projects: the Dictionary of American Biography and, later, the American National Biography. During his eighteen years as president, Burkhardt strengthened ACLS’s finances, programming, and partnerships with other national academic organizations. He testified in 1965 before Congress in support of the bill establishing the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 1970 President Richard Nixon appointed him first chairman of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science in 1970. His career was rooted in his belief that “any civilization will be a living force in the world of the future to the extent that it values and nurtures the creative forces of art and the humanities, of philosophy and science.”