Database of the Week: The American National Biography

Let’s have some fun with trivia about famous Americans this week.

How many years of formal education did Benjamin Franklin have?

Answer: Two, one year in grammar school and one with a private teacher.

Why couldn’t surgeon Charles Richard Drew, who organized the first blood bank in the U.S., donate his own blood?

Answer: Segregation laws in 1941 prohibited it because he was black.

You might ask where did I learn about Benjamin Franklin and Charles Richard Drew? The American National Biography of course.

The American National Biography contains biographical entries for American men and women who have influenced and shaped United States history and culture. Only deceased persons are included in American National Biography. You can access American National Biography both on and off campus.

Why should you use the American National Biography? The American National Biography is an excellent alternative to Wikipedia if you need authoritative, reliable information about a historical American. Moreover, not only do you get a detailed biographical information, but each entry also provides a bibliography for further research. There are also hyperlinked cross references for other relevant persons mentioned in each biography.

The National American Biography offers a variety of user friendly search search features. You can search by topic, name, occupation, birth date or date of death. This database is also seachable by special topic e.g. Black History, Women’s History, Asian Pacific American Heritage, Hispanic Heritage, and Native American Heritage.

The American National Biography is updated quarterly, with hundreds of new entries each year and revisions of previously published entries. The American National Biography offers thousands of illustrations, more than 80,000 hyperlinked cross-references, links to select web sites, and powerful search capabilities.The American National Biography recently added 900 articles from the Oxford Companion to United States History, providing valuable context on US history and culture.

Denise Bosselman Mikula,
Bibliographic Instruction & Distance Education Librarian
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