Who's Who

Who's Who (or "Who is Who") is the title of a number of reference publications, generally containing concise biographical information on the prominent people of a country. The title has been adopted as an expression meaning a group of notable persons.[1]

The oldest and best-known is the annual publication Who's Who, a reference work on contemporary prominent people in Britain published annually since 1849.

The title "Who's Who" is in the public domain, and thousands of Who's Who compilations of varying scope and quality (and similar publications without the words "Who's Who") have been published by various authors and publishers. Many such publications can be described as Who's Who scams; they list any people likely to buy the book, or to pay for inclusion, with no criterion of genuine notability. In some cases the publisher also sells its list of biographees, optionally broken down by profession, sex, political affiliation or religion, to direct mail marketers.[2]

Notable examples by country

  • Who's Who, the oldest listing of prominent British people since 1849; people who have died since 1897 are listed in Who Was Who.
  • Cambridge Who's Who (also known as Worldwide Who's Who), a vanity publisher based in Uniondale, New York.
  • Marquis Who's Who, a series of books published by Marquis, primarily listing prominent American people, but including Who's Who in the World.
  • Who's Who in New Zealand, twelve editions published at irregular intervals between 1908 and 1991
  • Canadian Who's Who, a listing of prominent Canadians since 1910
  • Who's Who in Switzerland, published from 1953 to 1996 and then Swiss Who's Who, a listing of prominent Swiss or leading figures living in Switzerland since 2015[3]
  • Who's Who in Australia, a listing of prominent Australians since 1923
  • Who's Who in France, a listing of prominent French or people living in France since 1953 (in French)
  • Who's Who in Scotland, a listing of prominent Scots since 1986
  • Who's Who, by Metron Publications, a listing of prominent Greeks since 1992
  • Who's Who of Southern Africa, a resource tool of noteworthy people in Southern Africa, and a professional networking platform. It is not the same as the official print publication, but a website which anyone may join and create their own profile.
  • Nihon Tarento Meikan: Talent Who's Who in Japan, a listing of Japanese celebrities, or tarentos, since 1970
  • Who's Who in Lithuania, a listing of prominent Lithuanians and business companies since 1995. www.kasyrakas.lt

Similar publications

Some Who's Who books have a title in the language of the country concerned:

  • Croatian: Tko je tko u Hrvatskoj, bilingual edition (1993)
  • Danish: Kraks Blå Bog (since 1910) annually
  • German: Wer ist's? (1905–1935) and Wer ist wer? (since 1951) almost annually
  • German: for East Germany: Wer war wer in der DDR?[4]
  • Norwegian: Hvem er Hvem? (since 1912) 14 editions in the 20th century
  • South Africa: 'Who's Who of Southern Africa (since 1910) annually
  • Spanish: ¿Quién es quién?
  • Swedish: Vem är det (since 1912) every second year

Other notable examples

  • Who's Who in American Art, a listing of prominent American artists
  • Who's Who in British History
  • The Who's Who in Building & Construction is a regional magazine and buyers guide targeted at commercial construction contractors first published by Jefferson Valley, New York-based Contractors Register in 2015. The magazine replaced the old hardbound Blue Book of Building and Construction, which had been published annually in 38 states since 1913. The inaugural issue was released in the Washington DC / Baltimore metro area in fall of 2015, followed by a national launch in spring of 2016.
  • Who's Who in the DC Universe a listing of DC Comics characters
  • Who's Who in Gerontology, people and biotech companies that are contributing to increase our understanding of aging and life-extension
  • Who's Who Among American High School Students listing what it deems to be American high school and college students who particularly excel in the realm of academic achievement. The publishing company closed in 2007.
  • Who's Who in American Real Estate, a resource tool of professional real estate agents in America since 1983.
  • Hinterland Who's Who, a series of 60-second public service ads profiling Canadian animals and birds, produced by Environment Canada in the 1960s
  • International Who's Who by Europa Publications, a Taylor and Francis imprint
  • Who's Who in the CIA, a book published in East Berlin in 1968 with the assistance of the KGB and the HVA purporting to reveal the identities of thousands of CIA officers.


  • Who's Who, an episode of the American 1988 sitcom Dear John

See also


  1. as in the sentence, "The actors in the film were a Who's Who of the great American comedians of the time"
  2. Hall of Lame, Forbes, August 3, 1999, "Who's Who in America ... appears to contain a lot of relatively unaccomplished people who simply nominated themselves."
  3. "Le retour du «Who's who» suisse après vingt ans d'absence". Letemps.ch. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  4. "Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur | Recherche | Biographische Datenbanken". Stiftung-aufarbeitung.de. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.