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English 4250: The Victorian Novel: Biographical Sources

Biographical Sources

The following sources give brief biographical information.


Use the following sources to locate obituaries.

Biographical materials can also be located using the standard library catalogs, MERLIN, MOBIUS, WorldCat.
Do a subject search on the person's name, last name first.
Useful subheadings include: autobiography, biography, correspondence, diaries.

Additional sources are listed in Victorian Periodicals: A Guide to Research, Chapter IV, pp. 64-80, Reference PN 5124 .P4 V5

Identifying Authors

"It has been estimated that between 1824 and 1900 close to seventy-five percent of the articles and stories published in monthlies and quarterlies were anonymous or pseudonymous..." (Mary Ruth Hiller, "The Identification of Authors: The Great Victorian Enigma," in Victorian Periodicals: A Guide to Research, p. 124, which see for a fascinating overview of researching authorship and attributions.)

Identifying anonymous and pseudonymous authors can be challenging. Start with these resources:

  • Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900
    This is the main source for identifying authors. Search by contributor or pseudonym to list contributions by that author. Open any of these records to "view contributor information" to see the identity and sources from which the identity is derived. The Curran Index of corrections and revisions to Wellesley has been integrated into the online Wellesley Index, except for some notes on periodicals not included in the original Wellesley.
  • Cumulative Author Index for Poole's Index, 1802-1906
    Reference AI3 .W3
    Use with caution! Attributions are not always correct.
  • Reader's Guide Retrospective, 1890-1982
    Provides author attributions for late 19th century works.
  • Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature
    Reference Z1065 .H17 1926
  • Initials and Pseudonyms: A Dictionary of Literary Disguises (1885, 1888)

Studies of individual periodicals may identify authors:

  • The Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press in Britain: A Bibliography of Modern Studies 1901 to 1971
    lists studies of individual periodicals that may contain useful information.
    Z6956.G6 M3, stacks 1 West
  • Victorian Periodicals Newsletter (1968-1978) and Victorian Periodicals Review (1979-present) provide updates.

Identify the editors, publishers, and others associated with a periodical and search for biographical and manuscript sources related to them.

  • WorldCat
    Search the name of the publisher as a "named corporation" to find business records or archives.
  • National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC)
  • British Book Trade Archives 1830-1939 : a Location Register
    Special Collections, Rare Reference Z325 .W444 1996
    An abbreviated list is available online.
  • A Guide to Archives and Manuscripts in the United States
    CD3022 .A45 1961, stacks 3 East
  • National Archives (UK)
  • Index of English Literary Manuscripts
    Vol. 4: 1800-1900
    Special Collections Rare Reference PR83 .I52 1980
  • Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts and Letters: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
    Special Collections Rare Reference PR441 .L6 1995
  • Primary Sources for Victorian Studies: A Guide to the Location and Use of Unpublished Materials  
    Depository Z2019 .S86

Course Links

Prof. Elizabeth Chang

362 McReynolds
Office Hours: Tuesday 9-12 and by appointment

Class Bibliography