Pope Francis has been selected as the Person of the Year by Time. The justification for this award is included along with his biography. The runners-up, one of whom is Edward Snowden, are also included in this feature. Prior selections can also be accessed from this site.
Archive for Biography
Nelson Mandela, Madiba to those who loved, admired, and respected him, passed away yesterday, December 5, 2013. His enduring legacy, his championing of human rights, will live on. Biographical information can be found at: Nelson Mandela Foundation; Noble Prize.org (which he won in 1993; here is his Nobel lecture); BBC; The Telegraph; and The New York Times. This PBS Frontline report – The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela – should be required viewing; it is contains in addition to the two-hour video, biographies, anecdotes, and a chronology. Some of his quotations are here; search his speeches as well as viewing them. C-SPAN offers sixty videos. The O’Malley Archives is replete with historical material on apartheid; many primary sources are listed. President Obama’s remarks on Mandela’s passing are available.
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela, Speech from the Dock of the Rivonia Trial, 1964.
Today’s election has fourteen candidates vying for City Council seats. Here are their biographies.
The new leaders of the Politburo Standing Committee have been selected for their five-year terms. Their biographies are here from Brookings; Reuters also has biograhical information as does the BBC, The Washington Post and the Parliamentary Library of Australia. The Changing of the Guard from The New York Times provides biographies, links, and a comprehensive timeline. (UPDATE: This hearing from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission should be of value - China’s New Leadership and Implications for the United States.)
For those of us who grew up with her cooking shows or were the beneficiaries of dishes cooked from her Mastering The Art of French Cooking, this is indeed a milestone day. Biographies are at: biography.com, history.com, PBS(a quite extensive tribute site including a wonderful remix), and The New York Times (with a plethora of articles and links). Her career with the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA, is described here. The Census Bureau also offers a tribute, and her kitchen is at the Smithsonian. Some of her recipes are at the PBS and The New York Times sites; another batch is at food.com. A long interview from 1999 is at TV Legends. Bon appetit!
Prolific songwriter, poet and letter writer, Woody Guthrie is enshrined in the pantheon of American folksingers, and his thirst for social justice has inspired countless others. His “This Land is Your Land“ is considered by many our second national anthem. A good biography of him is found here; his daughter Nora’s recollections of him are here. An 1940 interview with Guthrie can be heard here. Lyrics to hundreds of songs are also available. You can also read some of his letters at this Library of Congress site – Woody Guthrie and the Archive of American Folk Song: Correspondence, 1940-1950, along with a timeline and thematic essay. YouTube has a goodly number of videos either featuring his music, or others discussing/performing his works. A great informative site is at Times Topics – Woody Guthrie; it can be complemented by this NPR section on Guthrie.
Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.
For those of us who grew up reading and cherishing his work, Ray Bradbury’s death signals to some of us the demise of our youth. His work spanned the decades and genres, forcing us to confront our own fears and prejudices. Our office contains several of his works, each of which we remember with fondness. He was a champion of reading, libraries, and books. Biographical and other information can be found in: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction; NEA; Los Angeles Times; Times Topics – Ray Bradbury; io9; Locus; PBS NewsHour; and Washington Post (with a photo gallery). Interviews are here and dozens of YouTube interviews and conversations are available. Bradbury did a lengthy interview in the Spring 2010 issue of The Paris Review. Excerpts from some of his books are here. President Obama issued a statement on his passing. And what may be his last piece, Take Me Home, is in the June 6, 2012 issue of The New Yorker.
“Rocket summer. The words passed among the people in the open, airing houses. Rocket summer. The warm desert air changing the frost patterns on the windows, erasing the art work. The skis and sleds suddenly useless.” – from The Martian Chronicles, chapter 1.
France has a new president by the name of Francois Hollande; Russia has re-installed Vladimir Putin as president; Ratko Mladic goes on trial for mass murder; and Abdrabbuh Hadi is the newly appointed president of Yemen. Where does one find accurate information on these people? A place to start with is the BBC News site that has a search box in which you can find biographical information by the simple expedient of typing “profile” along with the person’s name; for example, typing “profile Francois Hollande” will retrieve this biography along with other valuable links. Hundreds of valuable portraits are contained here. Another place to mine in the BBC is its Country Profiles section where you will find not only biographical information on the leaders of every country and selected NGOs, but you will also find overviews and media outlets for each entity. Times Topics People provides thousands of biographical profiles along with free access to relevant NY Times articles as well as links to outside sources. For example, here are Hadi’s entry, Mladic’s profile, and Putin’s biography. So whether you are looking for information on the president of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa or Alekandr Lukashenko of Belarus, using either or both of these sources will yield satisfying results.
Yes they are! They are listed in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Each individual is accorded a biography written by a noteworthy person preferably in their own field; for example, Louis CK’s profile is by Joan Rivers and Matt Lauer’s is by Howard Stern. If you want the rationale behind these picks, please read this.
With all the media coverage focusing on the debt crisis in Europe, we thought everyone could use some help in identifying all the players. Whoiswho is the official directory of the European Union; it provides searching by name, EU institution, or hierarchical listing. The information is fairly sparse, but it does identify everyone in the various EU entities and provides their title, telephone and fax numbers as well as their email and Internet site. Additional information can be garnered from the biographies of the European Commissioners of the EU, and the members of the European Parliament. A non-EU site, the Council of Europe, provides personal data on its officials at its leaders page and its member states page.
Please come here for the full list of nominees and winners. Biographical information on nominees and winners is found at emmys.com; more can be found at biography.com and and the television section of IMDb. EmmyTVLegends provides interviews with the movers and shakers of television from actors/actresses to producers, writers, and directors. And don’t forget to visit the Encyclopedia of Television.
Although the presidential election is over a year away, potential and announced candidates have already appeared. This site from Project Vote Smart lists the candidates along with their biographies, key votes, speeches, ratings, and campaign finances. To keep up with their daily perambulations, go to the 2012 Daybook Calendar from Politico that is searchable by date, state, and candidate. And do not forget Reuters’ Factbox: Key dates in the U.S. presidential race, and C-SPAN’s Road to the White House should also be consulted for its video coverage of the candidates.
This CRS report – Women in Congress, 1917-2012 – traces the participation of women in both the House and the Senate. So far, 278 women have served in these bodies. This 100+ page report lists women by Congress as well as by the state they represent; it also contains an alphabetical list of their committee assignments. Additional information is contained in very informatve notes. This entry can be supplemented by the impressive House site – Women in Congress- which also provides current as well as historical information and essays.
Here are some good sites: Sports Biographies: Women (HickokSports, quite extensive); 100 Greatest Female Athletes (Sports Illustrated); Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame; Distinguished Women of Past and Present: Sports; Great Women of Cycling; and USA Track and Field: Women.
Harriet Tubman, born a slave, died a free woman in upstate New York. One of the most courageous women of her time, she personally risked her life on many occasions to guide escaped slaves north along the Underground Railroad. (For Jersey City’s role in this network, please come here. Two of the most important collections of documents on the Railroad are: Wilbur Siebert’s The Underground Railroad for Slavery to Freedom published in 1898 and containing the accounts of active abolitionists from that time, and William Still’s 1872 work Underground Rail Road which included eyewitness accounts. Still himself worked with the Philadelphia Underground Railroad.) Harriet Tubman worked as a cook, nurse, and spy for the Union army. She lectured and was an ardent suffragette as well. For so accomplished and heroic figure, she left no writings, letters, or memoirs because she was illiterate. So what we have about her is derived from sources once removed. However, these sources do portray an individual of immense moral stature; John Brown, the famous abolitionist, called her “…the most of a man, naturally, that I ever met with.”(Quoted in John Brown, 1800-1859: A Biography Fifty Years After, p.327). As was the case with many who served the government, Tubman was forced to subsist on a very small monthly stipend; to supplement her income, she had Sarah Bradford help her write her autobiography Harriet: The Moses of Her People (1869). With the proceeds from this volume, she purchased a house in Auburn, N.Y. and turned it into a home for the aged and needy. She died in 1913. Additional information is at: Harriet Ross Tubman (SUNY Buffalo); Harriet Tubman (University of North Carolina); Harriet Tubman (americaslibrary.gov); Harriet Tubman: Online Resources (Library of Congress); Black Dispatches (CIA – details Tubman’s spy activities during the Civil War); Contemporary Newspaper Articles (from “Chronicling America“); and Harriet Tubman (PBS).
This collection presents current information on contemporary writers in the UK. Biographical information, along with critical appraisals, author bibliographies, and prizes awarded are listed for each profile.
The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Project as published by the University of California Press has six volumes out so far, tracing Dr King’s life to 1963. Each volume has a voluminous introduction, a timeline and the full text of all the documents contained therein. So, you have a wide range of materials from the 1955 Minutes of the Montgomery Improvement Authority where King is elected president to his 1959 letter to Harry Belafonte. Also available is A Knock at Midnight, a selection of his great sermons, and A Call to Conscience, a collection of his greatest speeches. The MLK Encyclopedia provides a thousand hyperlinked articles on his life. (Just a word of caution : the encyclopedia has a less than a robust search interface. It is worth the effort, however.)