American National Biography

The American National Biography (ANB) is a 24-volume biographical encyclopedia set that contains about 17,400 entries[1] and 20 million words,[2] first published in 1999 by Oxford University Press under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies. A 400-entry supplement appeared in 2002.[3] Additional funding came from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.[4] The general editors were John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes.[5]

American National Biography
CountryUnited States
PublisherOxford University Press for the American Council of Learned Societies
  • 1999
  • 2002 (supplement)
Media typePrint, Digital
No. of books25

The ANB bills itself as the successor of the Dictionary of American Biography, which was first published between 1926 and 1937. It is not, however, a strict superset of this older publication; the selection of topics was made anew.[6]

It is commonly available in the reference sections of United States libraries,[7][8] and is available online by subscription (see external links).

Awards and reception

In 1999, the American Library Association awarded the American National Biography its Dartmouth Medal[9] as a reference work of outstanding quality and significance. The American Historical Association's Waldo G. Leland Prize was awarded for 2001.[10]

It has been criticized for missing cross references and occasional errors,[11] and for its cost, which is said to limit availability in poor countries.[12]

See also


  1. "About the ANB". 2005. Archived from the original on 10 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
  2. "Oxford University Press and Regional Networks Announce Strategic Alliance". July 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  3. Ronald H. Fritze; Brian E. Coutts; Louis Andrew Vyhnanek (2004). Reference sources in history: an introductory guide. ABC-CLIO. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-87436-883-3.
  4. American National Biography, Vol. 1, Preface
  5. American National Biography Online
  6. Keith Thomas (2005). Changing conceptions of national biography: the Oxford DNB in historical perspective. Cambridge University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-521-67118-7.
  7. OCLC 39182280
  8. Anthony C. Winkler; Jo Ray Metherell (2011). Writing the Research Paper: A Handbook. Cengage Learning. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-495-79964-1.
  9. "Dartmouth Medal". American Library Association. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
  10. "AHA Award Recipients. Waldo G. Leland Prize". American Historical Association. May 30, 2007. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
  11. Rebecca Ann Bartlett (2003). Choice's outstanding academic titles, 1998-2002: reviews of scholarly titles that every library should own. Assoc of College & Resrch Libraries. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-8389-8232-7.
  12. Roy Rosenzweig; Anthony Grafton (2010). Clio Wired: The Future of the Past in the Digital Age. Columbia University Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-231-15085-9.
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