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 ODNB currently includes the life stories of over 60,000 men and women who died in or before 2016.
Of these 60,000 people, more than 15,000 have ties to Oxford or Oxfordshire.
Below you’ll find some famous (and less-well-known) Oxfordshire faces, including car-maker William Morris (above) and Agatha Christie and John Betjeman (below). Click on an image to read more.
As well as looking for people by name, you can also search by place, for example:
- which famous people were born in Abingdon?
- How many times is Blenheim Palace mentioned in the Oxford DNB?
- how many people in the ODNB are buried in Banbury?
- which famous people have links to Bicester?
- who has ties to Wheatley's Waterperry?
- which Oxfordshire resident knew his oranges?
(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”.
- Our free, twice-monthly biography podcast—now with over 250 episodes. Download and listen to the stories of Roald Dahl, Eric & Ernie, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Margaret Thatcher, and many more.
- Follow us on Twitter for more historical figures in the news.
Plus, life stories of over 60,000 men and women, from the Romans to the 21st century. The Oxford DNB is available—free, online, and at home—via nearly all UK public libraries.
Don't forget: the ODNB online is available free—anywhere, anytime—via Oxfordshire libraries: just type L + your library membership number in the box here.