Glasgow Lives

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of people who’ve shaped British history, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. The Oxford DNB currently includes the life stories of 60,000 men and women who died in or before 2016.

George Wyllie

Of these 60,000 people, more than 4,100 have close ties to Glasgow — through families, education, work or residence.

Below you’ll find some famous (and some less familiar) Glasgow faces, including sculptor George Wyllie (above) and the architect Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and political activist Helen Biggar (below). Click on the images to read more.


Helen Biggar  Jim Baxter  Cordelia Oliver  Alexander Thomson
Charles Rennie Mackintosh  George Bennie  Elizabeth Fish  Thomas McGrath
Ethel MacDonald  Patrick Miller  James McGrory  
Cliff Hanley  Donald Dewar

1. Who's who in Glasgow?

As well as looking for people by name, you can also search by place, for example:

(NB: You'll need to be logged into your library's subscription for these searches.)

2. How do I search?

The Oxford DNB includes the life stories of more than 60,000 men and women. Online you can search for where they were born, baptized, lived, died or were buried, by date range or location.

  • The advanced search ‘life event’ feature can be used to find people near you—be they men and women baptised in Edinburgh (189), those born in Whitby (28), or those buried in Exeter (133). Used in this way the ODNB is an excellent resource for school projects or family history.
  • Text searching across the Oxford DNB’s 68 million words, you can also make links between people and places: for example, we’ve 102 references to “Clapham Common”, 27 to the “River Trent”, and 51 to “Snowdonia”.

3. Who else would you like to meet?

  • the Oxford DNB online is freely available via public libraries across the UK. Libraries offer ‘remote access’ allowing members to log-on to the complete dictionary, for free, from home (or any other computer) twenty-four hours a day.
  • as well as over 60, 000 life stories, the ODNB offers a free, twice monthly biography podcast, with over 250 life stories now available.
  • you can also sign up for a Life of the Day: a topical biography delivered to your inbox.
  • or follow us on Twitter @ODNB for people in the news.

> Read the Oxford DNB, free and at home, using your library's subscription

> More about the Oxford DNB

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