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.
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.
As well as looking for people by name, you can also search by place, for example:
- which notable people were born in Glasgow?
- which Glasgow solicitor successfully defended Hercules the bear in court?
- which radical architect helped design Britain's 'most hated building'?
- which Glasgow engineer invented the wind turbine?
- how many times is the Glasgow School of Art mentioned in the Oxford DNB?
- which Glasgow artist designed the Running Clock and the Monument to Maternity?
(NB: You'll need to be logged into your library's subscription for these searches.)
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”.
- 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.