Welcome to American National Biography Online

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

 

 

Learn more

Information for Librarians

What’s new: May 2024

This update features five new biographies including Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins; Boston civil rights activist Ruth Batson; New York City journalist and writer Pete Hamill; and influential (and humorous) newspaper columnists Molly Ivins and Russell Baker. 

Find out more

Michael Collins

Michael Collins (1930–2001) piloted one of the most famous missions in world history: the Apollo 11 voyage to the moon in 1969. He flew the Columbia, the command module, for 28 hours, traveling at 3,700 miles per hour and circling the moon once every two hours while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the surface below. When asked years later if he wished that he too had walked on the moon, Collins recalled there were three seats in Apollo 11, and “I was very pleased to have the one I had.”

Read more

 

News

APRIL 25, 2024

What’s New: April 2024

This update features five new biographies, including the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin; management consultant, author, and professor Peter Drucker; pioneering African American psychologist Keturah Whitehurst; University of Pennsylvania philosopher William T. V. Fontaine; and folk singer and labor activist Aunt Molly Jackson.

MARCH 28, 2024

What’s New: March 2024

The March 2024 update of the American National Biography adds 25 images from the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution.

FEBRUARY 22, 2024

What’s New: February 2024

The February update of the American National Biography features four new essays, including Christopher Reeve, Superman actor and activist for people with spinal cord injuries; White House press corps journalist Helen Thomas; Alice Rivlin, economist who served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve and director of the Office of Management and Budget; and S. Willard Saxton, printmaker, Civil War veteran, and federal government employee.