Welcome to Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

  • Over 60,000 biographies, 72 million words, 11,000 portraits of significant, influential or notorious figures who shaped British history – perform advanced search
  • Life of the day now available by email or RSS feed.
  • Have questions about how to use the redesigned website? Check out our Help page for a video demo and detailed instructions or read through our FAQs.

Learn more

Letter from Sir David Cannadine

What's New: May 2019

The May 2019 update adds 29 new articles featuring 30 lives and 8 portrait likenesses. The main focus is the lives of women from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This update was curated by Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan of the National University of Ireland, Galway, and Dr Anders Ingram of the ODNB.

Discover more about the entries this month >

 

Anne Lister (1791-1840)

Anne Lister

After her death, Anne Lister became known through her diaries which, in twenty-seven volumes and 4 million words (about one sixth in cipher), chronicle in minute detail her daily life at Shibden Hall, her travels, and her personal life, including her lesbianism. Lister's legacy will be brought to life in the coming weeks in the new BBC docudrama, Gentleman Jack.

 

 

News

MAY 9, 2019

What's new: May 2019

The latest update adds 29 new articles focusing on the lives of early modern women.

MAY 3, 2019

Eight facts about past poet laureates

Discover the rich history of Britain's poet laureates ahead of the announcement of the next laureate this May.

APRIL 11, 2019

What's new: April 2019

The latest update adds the lives of 13 biographies, with a focus on regional authors and thriller writers, and women in pharmacy.