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Format: Entries presented in alphabetical order
Media: 422 105 x 148mm microfiche
Coverage Dates: 1885-1970

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"The Dictionary of National Biography  is a gold mine, to be neglected at one's peril, for social scientists concerned with what used to be called real life but has been renamed qualitative social research."

--John Vincent,
New Society

A wealth of information about prominent British citizens, royal family members, and politicians throughout history is now available on microfiche. Scholars of British history will find complete bibliographic information with UMI 's edition of the Dictionary of National Biography.

George Smith of the publishing company Smith, Elder & Co. founded the dictionary in 1882 with the resolve that it should "supply full, accurate and concise biographies of all noteworthy inhabitants of the British Isles and Colonies . . . from the earliest historical period to the present time." The first volume was published in 1885; the last volume of the dictionary, totaling 63 volumes, was completed in 1900. The entire dictionary was reprinted into 22 volumes at a later date, covering over 30,000 people, many of them important to American and Canadian colonial history as well as to British history. Seven supplements update the collection to 1970, covering another 6,000 biographies. UMI presents this 22-volume version plus the supplements on microfiche.

Researchers can find personal facts on such people as George Abbot (1562-1633), Archbishop of Canterbury, a supporter of the Puritans and one who received great academic fame for his preaching. Coverage goes as far back as the year 735, when Alcuin, a theologian and an assistant to Charlemagne in educational reforms, was born. Here is a sampling of biographies included:


  • Matilda (d. 1083)--queen of William the Conqueror; daughter of Baldwin V of Flanders
  • Odo (d. 1097)--bishop of Bayeux, earl of Kent, and half-brother of William the Conqueror
  • Owen Tudor (d. 1461)--grandfather of Henry VII
  • Sir John Burgh (1562-1594)--military and naval commander
  • Thomas Tudway (d. 1726)--musician; composer and organist for Queen Anne
  • Dennis Delane (d. 1750)--Irish actor; performed in Elizabethan drama
  • Sir William Howe Delancey (d. 1815)--colonel, quartermaster-general's staff; killed in the battle of Waterloo

Dictionary entries reveal written works, names of family members and relatives, positions in society, and important dates.

This exhaustive work provides valuable detailed information to historians and scholars of British, as well as American and Canadian, history. As a standard historical, biographical reference of important British persons, the dictionary is a resource of inestimable worth that should appear in public and academic libraries.

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