Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online

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'The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography tells the stories of over 50,000 people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond, from the earliest times to those who died in the year 2000 - from the 4th-century BC Greek Explorer Pytheas to Princess Diana, and from the founding fathers of America to the Nawabs of Bengal.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography also includes over 10,000 portrait illustrations - everything from coins and death masks to photographs by Cecil Beaton and Man Ray, which are fully searchable.

Access to the original dnb - The online edition also offers access to the complete text of the first 33-volume Dictionary of National Biography.  You can move from the new article to the original article by clicking the DNB Archive button in the side bar, and comparisons are fascinating - for example see the article on Oscar Wilde and compare it with the original biography written in 1901.

Articles on families and groups - From British leaders in Roman Britain to the Busby Babes... View the complete list of articles about families and groups by  ticking the Families/Groups in the sidebar.  You can choose to reorder this list by birth date, death date or alphabetically.'

'Quick Search' is available on every page - search for a person is the default but simply click on the drop down list to do a full text search. You can also choose to search for People (using a wide range of criteria such as occupation, birth date etc), Contributors, References, and Images. You will be able to find answers to the following questions in seconds...

  • Which novelist wrote under the pseudonym Currer Bell? Which books have been written about her?
  • What was George Eliot's real name?  Where can you see portraits of her and where can archive material (such as her letters and notebooks) be found?
  • What was the full name and title of the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston?
  • Why did Edward of Woodstock become known as the Black Prince? And was he the only person to acquire this nickname?
  • Who were the individual members of the Tolpuddle Martyrs?  What were the names of the three Kray brothers?
  • Who lived in Castle Howard during the First and Second World Wars?
  • Which women were buried in Highgate Cemetery before 1900?
  • Which politicians were educated at Manchester Grammar School?
  • Whose wealth at death exceeded GBP~1,000,000?

Explore by theme - An expanding range of themed articles is available where you can also choose to browse the articles in the Dictionary by theme, for example:

  • UK Prime Ministers
  • saints, Governors-general and viceroys of India
  • Monarchs of Scotland
  • musical chart-toppers, Poets Laureate
  • Oscar winners
  • Nobel prize winners
  • Olympic title holders
  • and many more!

You can view the full list of lists.

Flexible browsing - Choose to browse the ODNB by birth date (from the Piltdown Man to murder victim James Bulger - or vice versa).  You can also sort this list by death date and alphabetically. Lots of refining options in the sidebar mean that you can also choose to browse sub-sets of the Dictionary such as articles on women, articles that are illustrated, or articles on families and groups.

Cross-referencing - There are millions of cross-references within the text of the ODNB (in blue type) but, using the Highlight Search, you can make up your own cross references. Simply highlight any name or word in an article, click the GO button next to the Quick Search box (having chosen person or full text), and the ODNB will perform a search across the database on the selected text.'

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