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East Asia Library Guides: China

Chinese Studies Resources: Biographies and Biographical Indexes [Back to Table of Contents]

This page lists 1. biographical dictionaries in western languages, 2. biographical dictionaries in Chinese, and 3. indexes to biographical sources (mostly primary sources). In addition to these tools, Zhongguo ren wu nian jian (中国人物年鉴), published annually since 1989, may be useful for finding information on contemporary figures.

1. Biographical Dictionaries in Western Languages

A Biographical Dictionary of the Qin, Former Han, and Xin Periods (221 BC-AD29).
Call# DS747.38 .L63X 2000 SML stacks.
Includes over 6,000 entries.

Sung Biographies
Call# DS751.5 S96 East Asia Library Reference
Includes biographiesof 441 people.

In the service of the Khan: Eminent personalities of the early Mongol-Yüan period
Call# DS1 A8 121 SML stacks.
Includes extensive biographies of 37 people.

Dictionary of Ming Biography.
Call# DS753.5 .A88+ East Asia Library Reference
Contains some 659 biographies with bibliographic notes.

Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period
Call# DS734 U55+ East Asia Library Reference
Includes biographies of over 800 peopleactive during the Qing.

Biographical Dictionary of Republican China
Call# DS778 A1 B66+ East Asia Library Reference
Includes biographies of 600 people active in the years 1911-49.

Biographic dictionary of Chinese communism, 1921-1965
Call# DS778 A1 K54 East Asia Library Reference
Contains 433 main biographies as well as information about hundreds of other people.

Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women
Call# HQ1767.5 A3 B56X (for 1644-1911) and HQ1767.5.A3 B565 2003 (for 1912-2000), both in Starr Reference Room.

2. Biographical Dictionaries in Chinese

Er shi wu shi ren ming da ci dian (二十五史人名大辞典 )
Call# DS734 E74 1997 East Asia Library Reference
Summarizes and indexes 30,000 biographies in the 25 official histories.

Minguo ren wu da ci dian (民國人物大辭典)
DS776 M566 1991, East Asia Library Reference
Contains short biographies of 12,000 people active in the Republican period. Significant omissions may exist--e.g. no word on looting the tomb of Cixi in the entry of Sun Dianying (孙殿英).

Zhongguo ren ming da ci dian (中国人名大词典)
Call# DS734 C859 1992 (Contemporary names) and
DS734 C6212 1989+ (Contemporary Chinese leaders); both in the East Asia Library Reference.
These two volume are more useful than the volume on historical names.

Zhongguo mei shu jia ren ming ci dian (中國美術家人名辭典)
Call# N7348 Y8 1991 East Asia Library Reference
Provides short biographies of Chinese artists.

Zhongguo wen xue jia da ci dian (中国文学家大辞典)
Call# PL2277 C6 1996 (prior to Tang), PL2277 C618 1992 (Tang and Five Dynasties); PL2277 .C6186 1997 (Jindai); all in the East Asia Library Reference.
Provides short biographies of Chinese authors.

3. Indexes to Biographical Sources

World Biographical Index
This electronic database indexes thousands of Chinese and Japanese names. For each person, it provides brief biographical information and citations to the original sources (some of the sources may be outdated--see details here). It is a convenient tool, but the coverage is not as comprehensive as the following:

Er shi wu shi ji zhuan ren ming suo yin (二十五史紀傳人名索引)
Call# DS734 E73 1990 East Asia Library Reference
Indexes the names in the 25 dynastic histories (see also Er shi wu shi ren ming da ci dian二十五史人名大辞典).

Tang Wu dai ren wu zhuan ji zi liao zong he suo yin (唐五代人物傅記資料綜合索引)
Call# Z3108 A3 F8 1982 East Asia Library Reference
Indexes 30,000 figures from the Tang and the Five Dynasties in 86 primary sources.

Song ren zhuan ji zi liao suo yin (宋人傳記資料索引): revised edition.
Call# DS751 S88 1988 East Asia Library Reference
Song ren zhuan ji zi liao suo yin bu bian (宋人傳記資料索引補编)
Call# DS751 S882 1994 East Asia Library Reference
Song dai ren wu zi liao suo yin (宋代人物資料索引)
Call# Z5305 C6 S4458 1997 East Asia Library Reference
These indexes provide comprehensive coverage on the Song people.

Liao Jin Yuan zhuan ji san shi zhong zong he yin de (遼金元傳記三十種綜合引得)
Call# AI19 C5 Y55 35 East Asia Library Reference
Ry¯o-Kin-Genjin denki sakuin (遼金元人傳記索引)
Call# DS734 U44 East Asia Library Reference

Yuan ren zhuan ji zi liao suo yin (元人傳記資料索引)
Call# DS734 U44 East Asia Library Reference
Repertory of proper names in Yüan literary sources
Call# DS752.5 R3251988 East Asia Library Reference
These indexes provide comprehensive coverage on the Liao, Jin, and Yuan people.

Ming dai zhuan ji cong kan suo yin (明代傳記叢刊索引)
Call# DS753.5 M563 1991
Ming ren zhuan ji zi liao suo yin (明人傳記資料索引)
Call# DS753.5 C58 1978 East Asia Library Reference
Comprehensive indexes on the Ming people

Qing dai zhuan ji cong kan suo yin (清代傳記叢刊索引)
Call# DS754.19 C46 l986 East Asia Library Reference
A comprehensive index on the Qing people.
Also, Qing dai ren wu zhuan ji shi liao yan jiu (清代人物传记史料硏究)
Call# DS754.19 F34 2000, SML stacks
Provides good background information on many other biographical sources related to the Qing people.

Xin hai yi lai ren wu zhuan ji zi liao suo yin (辛亥以来人物传记资料索引)
Call# Z3108 A5 H74 1990 East Asia Library Reference
Indexes biographical materials on 18,000 people active in 1911-1949.

Appendix: Foreigners in Chinese History

Jin dai lai hua wai guo ren ming ci dian (近代來華外國人名辭典)
Call# DS730 C447 1981 East Asia Library Reference
A biographical dictionary of over 2000 foreigners who had been to China between the late Ming Dynasty and 1949 (the majority of them were active between 1840 and 1949). For each person, it gives the name and its standard Chinese transcription, birth/death year (when available), a brief biography, and major written works. The entries are arranged in the alphabetical order of the original name and an index of transcribednames is available in the pinyin order.