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
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Letter from Susan Ware, Editor

What's new: September 2019

This update features eight new biographies, focused on both musicians and those who made their recordings possible. Highlights include ethnomusicologist and folklorist Alan Lomax; surround sound innovator Ray Dolby; African American soprano Mattiwilda Dobbs; country star Merle Haggard; jazz vocalist and activist Abbey Lincoln; James M. Gates, the preacher whose sermons sold thousands of records; and jazz trumpeter Clark Terry.

Alan Lomax

Alan Lomax

Alan Lomax (1915–2002), ethnomusicologist, was a pioneer in the preservation of folk music. His recordings celebrated folk music not only as a valid art form but also as an index of living culture. He was a lifelong spokesman for liberal causes, and his work helped bring attention to marginalized regional, racial, and economic communities.

 

 

News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019

What's new: September 2019

This update features eight new biographies, focused on both musicians and those who made their recordings possible.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2019

Hispanic American heritage in the arts

To celebrate the achievements of Hispanic Americans from history during Hispanic Heritage Month, discover the lives of six key figures from across the arts.

AUGUST 26, 2019

Why we need more biographies of suffragists

Editor Susan Ware discusses the importance of having a wide range of biographies about suffragists, both prominent and obscure.