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PATHFINDER: Biographical Sources
Genealogies, Local and Family Histories, City Directories
Memorial Volumes
Women's Writings
Other Sources




Biographical Sources
see caption below

Julia Catherine Stimson, Copyright 1920. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-111851 (b&w film copy neg)

bibliographic record

Readers frequently come to the Library of Congress looking for biographical facts about women. Often they know little more than a name.

One scholar arrived with a reference to five Stimson sisters, whom she knew were active in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. After searching through a combination of sources—family histories and genealogies, the Library's catalogs, biographical dictionaries, periodical indexes, and college yearbooks—she had uncovered the outlines of these women's lives, with such details as that one played college basketball, another served as dean of Goucher College, all supported women's suffrage, and four published books on topics ranging from cookery and the Army Nurse Corps to bone fractures and the history of science.

Further digging would most likely have yielded additional information. This example of a search for biographical information proved relatively straightforward as the Stimsons were educated, middle-class white women of some note. Often you will be trying to trace lesser-known, less well documented women. The approach is similar; the results may be sparser.

Research in other reading rooms at the Library may provide further particulars, especially on more prominent women; for example, maps indicating the woman's home (G&M); local newspaper accounts (N&CPR); or occasionally photographs (P&P) and unpublished letters or diaries written by or about her (MSS).

SAMPLE LCSH: The subdivision “Biography” is not used after individual personal names; it is added to classes of people, ethnic groups, and occupational headings, such as:

Hispanic American women—Biography
Women composers—Biography

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