Dictionary of American Biography

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The Dictionary of American Biography was published in New York City by Charles Scribner's Sons under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies. The first edition was published in 20 volumes from 1928 to 1936. These 20 volumes contained 15,000 biographies.[1] In 1946, the 20 volumes were released as a ten-volume set, with each of the ten volumes divided into two parts (Part 1 and Part 2) corresponding to two volumes of the first edition combined into one, the page numbering of the first edition being retained.

In addition, ten supplementary volumes were published, the additional biographies covering up through 1980. The supplements were published from 1944 to 1995. The last two supplements were issued under the publisher's responsibility, while the first eight supplements were issued under the responsibility of the American Council of Learned Societies. Noted omissions: Sojourner Truth, Charles Guiteau, Scott Joplin, Joe Hill and Martha Washington among others.[1]

No biographies of living people were done, and some period of residence in the United States was required. Major funding for the project, $500,000, was received from The New York Times Corporation, owned by Adolph Ochs. Ochs exercised no editorial control.

The successor of the Dictionary is American National Biography.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Preface". American National Biography. 1. New York: Oxford University Press. 1999.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Dictionary of American Biography