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Biographical Dictionaries

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What is a biographical dictionary? It is any reference book that contains predominantly biographical articles. Usually the articles are arranged alphabetically by the name of the figure discussed, but they can be arranged in any fashion. Some cover figures from only one historical period, other from only one profession, still others from one geographic region. Some have lengthy entries, other have entries that are just a few lines long. They are as diverse as human endeavor with one unifying feature – biographies as entries. A few guides to biographical dictionaries and other biographical resources have been published. They are described in the section on General Resources for All Countries within the biographical section of this course.

Below you can peruse annotations of important biographical dictionaries for all of the Slavic and East European countries. Please note that many sources that are included in the K.G. Saur Biographical Archive microfiche series are not discussed here. We tried to include only those that are not included in the Saur series and of those that are included, we discuss only ones of some significance. Under each country section you can read about Saur’s biographical archive series and view the list of sources covered by particular Archive. Feel free to search the accompanying World biographical index to discover in which sources entries for a figure have appeared. The WBI is available for U of I students and faculty through Online Research Resources (Databases). If you are not affiliated with U of I you may want to check with your institution or your local library: it is possible that they provide access to the World biographical index.