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Communication: Biographical Information

Basic Biographical Sources

There are many sources for biographical information, but the focus of the titles listed below is exclusively on communications, journalism, radio, television, public relations, and related fields.
Biographical Dictionary of American Journalism
Main Library Reference PN 4871 .B56 1989
Alphabetically-arranged entries of one or two pages cover nearly 500 persons who contributed to the field of American journalism in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television from 1690 to the mid-1980s.
Contains biographical information on over one million individuals from all time periods, geographical locations, and fields of endeavor. Allows searching for people based on one or more personal facts, such as occupation.
Contemporary Authors
Main Library General Collection PN 771 .C662
Biographical information on current authors in many fields, including journalism and television.
Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television
Main Library General Collection PN 2012 .W5
An ongoing biographical reference series providing brief biographical information and credits of performers, directors, writers, producers, designers, technicians, composers, executives, and critics in the United States and Great Britain.
Dictionary of Literary Biography series
Online version
Main Library General Collection PS 21 .D5
A series of separately-edited volumes, each a collection of biographical, bibliographical, and critical essays on authors. Below are listed some of the volumes pertinent to communication. This series also is available online through the Literature Resource Center database.
  • American Magazine Journalists, 1741-1850, vol. 73
  • American Magazine Journalists, 1850-1900, vol. 79
  • American Magazine Journalists, 1900-1960: First Series, vol. 91
  • American Magazine Journalists, 1900-1960: Second Series, vol. 137
  • American Newspaper Journalists, 1690-1872, vol. 43
  • American Newspaper Journalists, 1873-1900, vol. 23
  • American Newspaper Journalists, 1901-1925, vol. 25
  • American Newspaper Journalists, 1926-1950, vol. 29
  • American Newspaper Publishers, vol. 127
  • American Sportswriters and Writers on Sport, vol. 241
  • Twentieth-Century American Sportswriters, vol. 171
Directory of American Scholars, Volume II: English, Speech, & Drama
Main Library Reference LA 2311 .D57 1999
Volume 2 profiles United States and Canadian scholars currently active in teaching, research, and publishing in the fields of communications, journalism, and speech. Volume V, the index to the set, includes a name index by discipline.
Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Journalists
Main Library Reference PN 4871 .T34 1986
Contains biographical information on some 600 post-World War II newspaper, magazine, and television journalists, most of whom are American.

Choosing Biographical Sources

There are several aspects to consider when you are looking for biographical information and choosing a source.

> What type of information do you need? Basic information (e.g., birth and death dates) or an in-depth essay about the person with a list of other resources to consult?

> Do you want direct information about the person or do you want a list of resources to consult?

> Is the person you are researching living or dead?

> In what field (politics, business, writing) is/was this person active?

Read the brief descriptions of the available sources with these questions in mind and you'll be more likely to choose a source that will suit your needs.