Archive for Biography

The Woman Scientist Who First Discovered Coronavirus

Her name was June Almeida. Information on her can be found at the BBC and the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Read one of her early works on viruses here.

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Women in Congress: Statistics and Serving History

There have been 365 women elected to Congress since 1917. These two 2019 reports from CRS will provide apposite information: Women in Congress: Statistics and Brief Overview and Women in Congress, 1917-2019; the latter report details committee memberships in its 120 pages. See on what committees AOC is serving. Additional biographical information can be garnered from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.


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Online Primary Sources for American History: The Writings of Clara Barton

Clara Barton is an American hero; her list of accomplishments is awe-inspiring. For those who want to capture her thoughts and deeds, the Clara Barton Papers housed at the Library of Congress give us a peek into her world. Diaries, correspondence, speeches, and reports populate this vast collection of 62,000 items. A timeline and a directory of additional resources are supplied.

One should also visit the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum for more primary and secondary source material. And while you are at it, take a tour of her Maryland home.

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2018 New Jersey Political Movers and Shakers

The top 100 individuals are profiled here; the list runs from correspondents to pollsters to financial backers.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: Abraham Lincoln – Additional Primary Sources

We have quite rightly highlighted primary/secondary sources on whom some consider the finest of our presidents. (He ranks #1 in the C-SPAN Historians Survey of Presidents 2017, a position he has held in the previous iterations of this poll.) We have come across other collections at Brown University that we would like to recommend: “Brown’s Lincoln Broadsides collection comprises an assortment of printed materials intended for broad public distribution in a variety of formats. Within this digital collection you will find, for example: handbills (a single sheet of text intended for wide public distribution), leaftlets (a handbill folded to create multiple leaves), small pamphlets (unbound booklets, typically stapled or sewn), souvenir cards, circulars, broadsheets, brochures.”; Lincoln Envelopes –  “This collection contains embellished envelopes created during the period surrounding Lincoln’s presidency and the time immediately after his assassination. Many of the envelopes depict Lincoln himself….”; Lincoln Graphics “…include most of the known photographic images of Lincoln, along with engravings and popular prints by, among other firms, Currier & Ives and Kurz & Allen.”; Lincoln Manuscripts

The Hay Library’s famed collection of manuscripts authored or signed by Lincoln, now comprises nearly 1,100 pieces.

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Obituaries of Women Who Should Have Been in “The New York Times”

The number of incredible women who are not in The New York Times is staggering; it has been the preserve of dead white men for decades. To slightly correct this imbalance, fifteen obits have been initially crafted by the writers of this newspaper. Figures range from the intrepid reporter Ida B. Wells to the novelist Charlotte Bronte. This new obituary section is labeled Overlooked, and it will be updated with many more additions over time.

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Charles Dickens

It is appropriate that on this day, his birthday, we point you to some good sites containing relevant works. For his books, come here; for the journals he edited and wrote for, you can visit Dickens Journals Online.

There are numerous mentions of his travels and speeches in the United States in the Chronicling America site. He came to this country twice, in 1842 and 1867; the first trip produced American Notes for General Circulation (1842), a work that generated tepid reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.

Numerous helpful sites can be found here.

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“Scientist of the Day”

This site comes to us courtesy of the Linda Hall Library; it is a daily biography of some worthy whose work is in its collection.

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Life and Legends of St Patrick

Writings about St Patrick abound. You can see some of the legends here. If you want to see some of the earliest writings, you can consult: The tripartite life of Patrick : with other documents relating to that Saint (2 vols, 1887, part of the magnificent Rolls Series), and Lives of saints, from the Book of Lismore (1890). For those who want to see the original manuscripts upon which the above works are based, you can come here to view Irish manuscripts from various institutions.

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Characteristics of the 115th Congress

This brief CRS report presents a statistical overview of this Congress:

“Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.”  (Summary)

Also, consult The Hill’s 115th Congress Will be the Most Racially Diverse in History for more data.



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The Opinions of Supreme Court Justice Nominee Neil Gorsuch

As is pointed out in the CRS publication, Judge Gorsuch has authored more than 800 opinions in his tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals. This aforementioned report lists what are considered essential cases he has reviewed and written on, ranging from administrative law to constitutional law; links are provided to the individual cases. A good biographical overview, coupled with an analysis of his judicial record, can be found at SCOTUSblog.

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Biography of the New UN Secretary General

Here is his official biography from the United Nations; additional profiles are available courtesy of the BBC and Time. A video of his swearing-in is available.

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Donald Trump Is Time Magazine’s 2016 “Person of the Year”

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Who’s Who in Trump’s Cabinet

So far, seven out of the fifteen positions, all of whom require Senate approval, have been selected; other Cabinet positions have candidates being interviewed. The president-elect has also tapped other advisers who do not need Senate confirmation. The updated list is here.

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Hudson’s Bay Company Employee Records

The HBC is a unique enterprise, spanning the centuries until the present day. At times, it was an entity unto itself, almost a sovereign country. Being a business, detailed records were kept, among them biographies of its employees. Where possible, these records include parish of birth, birth date, death date, appointments, positions and postings, date of entering service, names of wife/wives and child(ren), and annotations if available. Additional information (including by-laws, correspondence, and other primary source material) on the company can be found here; maps of its numerous posts can also be consulted online. The Dictionary of Canadian Biography presents fuller life stories on some of these HBC worthies.

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2016 Olympians from New Jersey

There are thirty-eight athletes from New Jersey at this year’s summer games;  biographical profiles on eight of them are online. Pictures and brief profiles of all of them can be accessed online as well.

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2016 Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People

The lists are here with each person being profiled in a short biography/tribute.

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Congressional Directory, 114th Congress

This contains a profile, district description, office address, chief of staff of every Congressperson. In addition, biographies of Federal justices and descriptions of non-Congressional offices, and committee assignments are also included.

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Eugene V Debs

Five-time candidate for U.S. President, tireless advocate for the laborer, jailed for his convictions,  union leader, letter writer extraordinaire, Eugene V Debs casts a giant shadow from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era. His influence resonates in this day and age – Senator Bernie Sanders is a great admirer of Debs; so much so that he wrote and directed a 1979 documentary about the union leader.

There is a great deal of primary source information available on Debs. The Debs Collection at Indiana State University contains a plethora of source material: summaries of over 5200 letters written to and by Debs; a very large selection of pamphlets, many of them digitized; photos of Debs; and access to National Archives records pertaining to Debs.

Many of his writings can be found online, including some of his speeches as well as appreciations of him. The Eugene V. Debs Internet Archive also allows access to speeches and articles by Debs; it is another worthwhile place to investigate. The Eugene V. Debs Foundation has many photos of Debs taken at various stages of his life and provides a virtual tour of his house; the house, by the way, is designated as a National Historic Landmark. In addition, Chronicling America from the Library of Congress has thousands of newspaper articles on him; here are hundreds on him from The Labor World alone.

Secondary information can be found at: Eugene V. Debs, Presidential Contender (C-SPAN); Eugene Debs (PBS); Eugene V. Debs (History Today); Eugene V. Debs (Encyclopedia Britannica); and Fellow Worker Eugene V Debs (Industrial Workers of the World).

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Online Reference Guide to African American History

This site, guided by an academic board of advisers, presents a plethora of high-quality entries. From a biographical encyclopedia (the articles contain links) to primary sources to major speeches, this online guide is a valuable resource spanning centuries of history. The interface is easy to use, the data is up-to-date (including 2015 speeches by President Obama), and information is presented on both the famous as well as not-so-famous figures in African American history. There are so many additional features accompanying this site that all we can say is dive in and lose yourself!

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