The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford DNB) has tens of thousands of biographies about men and women who’ve shaped British history, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. Enjoy a sample of our content below, freely available on our open shelves.
For information about the Oxford DNB, including its history and how often it’s updated, please visit our About page.
Are you interested in the full scope of biographies by region or theme? Read our freely available content on the topics listed below for a sample of the Oxford DNB’s comprehensive national record.
The Oxford DNB includes all of the greatest figures from the past, including thousands of men and women of regional importance. Explore people by city and county from across the United Kingdom.
We’ve also biographies by place or topic —for students, teachers, and local and family historians.
- Brewers of Britain
- Lives at sea
- Local heroes
- London and Londoners
- Podcast by place
- Victoria Cross holders
- The Armistice, 1918
- Ashes cricket: England vs Australia
- Britain's greatest football team?
- Faces of Scotland
- Hogarth's people: civility and crime
- Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Listen to a Life: the ODNB podcast
We've recorded over 250 life stories from the Oxford DNB. You can download an individual life, or subscribe or subscribe to our fortnightly biography podcast. Listen to a life.