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Dive into the world of biography, which is an account of another person’s life drawn from available evidence. This evidence might include correspondence, diaries, published articles, recordings, archives, or even the author’s personal recollection of the subject of the biographical record. Biographies can be brief or highly detailed, but they generally take a chronological approach, covering the major events of the biographee’s childhood, education, career, relationships, and family. The subject of the biography may be dead at the time of writing, still alive but not collaborating with the author, or still alive and collaborating with the author.

Biographies aim to provide details of a person’s life in an entertaining and informative way. They span both the history and literary genres since both genres deal with the past and require extensive research. Biographical accounts are frequently used to illuminate some aspect of history; for example, a biography of the British politician Winston Churchill provides a different way of looking at the events of World War II. While most biographies are nonfiction, some biographies use a novel-like format by including conversations or details it would've been impossible to know in the context of known facts and events.

While the majority of biographies are about famous persons, biographies can also focus on ordinary people whose lives constitute a compelling story. A person can also write their own life story, known as an autobiography; a related genre, the memoir, is an autobiography that focuses more on an event or situation in the author’s life rather than on the author.

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Biography Resources

Gale provides scholarly resources to advance the study of biography, including  databases, primary source archives, and eBooks.


Ideal for school, academic, and public libraries, Gale databases offer researchers access to credible, up-to-date content for biography research, including full-text articles from journals, biography magazines, and other biographical resources. 


Primary Source Archives

Gale Primary Sources contains archives and collections that provide researchers with firsthand content, including history, genealogy, and biography, that can be used to examine and analyze the evolution of biography over time.

Gale eBooks

Gale offers a variety of eBooks covering a wide range of biography topics, including history, immigration, family history, newsmakers, and more. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross-search to pinpoint relevant content.  Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download content.

  • Contemporary Black Biography

    Contemporary Black Biography

    Gale  | 2019 | ISBN-13: 9781410377838

    Each volume of Contemporary Black Biography contains 50 full-length biographies written in an easy-to-follow prose style, ranging from 2 to 4 pages each. Arranged alphabetically, entries are divided by subheads for quick scanning. Sections cover portrait (as available), date and place of birth, educational background, address, career data, memberships, awards received, a detailed prose essay, and complete source citations.

    Contemporary Black Biography isn’t limited to coverage of only notable black Americans nor is it restricted by a manufactured definition of “contemporary.” Its multinational coverage spans this century and includes rising personalities as well as groundbreakers and newsmakers in a variety of fields.

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  • Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: 2020 Supplement, 2020 Edition

    Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: 2020 Supplement, 2020 Edition

    Gale  | 2020 | ISBN-13: 9780028671741

    Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (PILI) was first published in 1981. The initial set indexed 200 passenger lists covering about 500,000 persons. Since then, 43 supplements have been released, increasing coverage to more than 5 million names. This is still only a fraction of the 35 million immigrants who reached the New World between the 16th and mid-20th centuries. It’s the aim of PILI to lead you to the sources that will unravel some of the mysteries surrounding this fascinating group of people, particularly as they relate to individual family histories.

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  • Something About the Author

    Something About the Author

    Gale  | 2019 | ISBN-13: 9781410388995

    An easy-to-use source for librarians, students, and other researchers, each volume of this series provides illustrated biographical articles on approximately 75 children’s authors and artists. The series covers more than 15,000 individuals ranging from established award winners to authors and illustrators who are just beginning their careers. Entries cover personal life, career, writings, adaptations, additional sources, photographs, and illustrations.

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Resources to Boost Your Research

From trending social issues to classic literature, Gale resources have you covered. Explore overviews, statistics, essay topics, and more or log in through your library to find even more content.

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