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Biography Resources

by Ron Kurtus (updated 2 February 2022)

The following consists of websites and books on biographies.

Topic list

Use these resources to help your understanding of the various biographies.

General biography - Extensive listing of short biographies.

PBS Biographies - Biographies of wide range of historical figures, from the Public Broadcasting System.

Info Please: Biography - Facts on over 30,000 personalities.

Programs on Famous Women in History - From

Topic Guides for Students - Quotes and facts from

Individual biographies

Winston Churchill

Winston S. Churchill site - Maintained by the Churchill Society in Washington D.C.

Text of Winston Churchill's First Speech as Prime Minister: "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat" in 1940

Text of Winston Churchill's "Never Give In" Speech of 1941


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Winston Churchill by John Keegan; Viking Press (2002) $19.95 - A short but thorough book on the life of Churchiill by an eminent military historian

Churchill: A Biography by Roy Jenkins, Publisher; Plume (2002) $18.00 - A large book (1024 pages) ranks as one of the best single-volume biography of Churchill in recent years

The Wit and Wisdom of Winston Churchill: A Treasury of More Than 1,000 Quotations and Anecdotes by James C. Humes, Richard M. Nixon; Perennial (1995) $12.95 - Entertaining compendium of witticisms, anecdotes, and trivia about Winston Churchill by a former Nixon speechwriter

Never Give In: The Best of Winston Churchill's Speeches by Winston S. Churchill; Hyperion (2003) $27.95

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Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison Website - Biography and other information.

Inventing Entertainment - Library of Congress information on Edison.

Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum - Gives short history and lists inventions.

Thomas A. Edison Papers - Research site with database of Edison's papers and materials.


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Thomas Alva Edison: Inventing the Electric Age by Gene Adiar; Oxford Univ. Children's Books (1997) $9.56 - Goes through the life of Edison from a boy starting up businesses to becoming one of the world's greatest inventors; Scientific principles of Edison's inventions also explained and some of Edison's sketches and patent drawing are included; Focuses more on his work than his personal life

Thomas A. Edison: A Streak of Luck by Robert Conot; (1986) $13.95 - Book contends that much of Edison's success came from luck and clever public relations

Thomas Alva Edison: Young Inventor by Louis Sabin and George Ulrich; Troll Communications (1990) $2.80 - Focuses on Edison's early years and how he got started as an inventor

Edison: A Life of Invention by Paul Israel; John Wiley & Sons (1998) $21.00 - Gives attention to Edison's early career, then shows the relationship of his life to the Industrial Revolution. The book looks into Edison's technical work and business dealings and includes copies of Edison's original drawings

Edison: Inventing the Century by Neil Baldwin; Hyperion Press (1996) $11.96 - Explains Edison's personal life and work habits. More of a biography of his life and personality than a study of his inventions

The Story of Thomas Alva Edison by Margaret Cousins; Random House Publishing (1997) $4.79 - Story of Edison's life, inventions, and personality; Written for readers from 9 to 12 years old

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Benjamin Franklin

The World of Benjamin Franklin - from the Franklin Institute Science Museum

Benjamin Franklin - from Spectrum Magazine

Benjamin Franklin - Wikipedia

Benjamin Franklin biography -

Benjamin Franklin's Inventions, Discoveries, and Improvements -


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Benjamin Franklin by Carl Van Doren; Penguin Press (1991) $15.16 - Classic biography by a respected author.

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, MacMillan Publishing (1997) $4.80 - Written as a letter to his son, this autobiography of Franklin is a great book that gives insight on his thought processes and methods.

Benjamin Franklin Wit and Wisdom, Peter Pauper Press, (1998) $3.96 - Famous and not-so-famous sayings by Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin's Adventures with Electricity by Beverly Birch; Barrons Juveniles (1996) $4.76 - Facts and pictures about Franklin's early electrical experiments (Ages 9 to 12).

Benjamin Franklin's Science by I. Bernard Choen; Harvard Univ. Press (1990) $44.00 - Examines the theoretical side of Franklin's scientific work.

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King Camp Gillette

Engines of Our Ingenuity - King Gillette

King C. Gillette - Wikipedia


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The Razor's Edge by Richard Martin, The Industry Standard magazine, August 6-13, 2001 (Magazine no longer in print)

The Human Drift by K.C. Gillette, Boston: New Era Publishing Co. (1894) - Gillette's first book. Rare; out of print

The People's Corporation by K.C. Gillette, New York: Boni and Liveright Publishers (1924) - Rare; out of print

White House Cookbook, Revised and Updated Centennial Edition by Hugo Ziemann and F. L. Gillette; John Wiley & Sons (1996) $18.95 - Book by Gillette's mother

King C. Gillette: The Man and His Wonderful Shaving Device, by Russell B. Adams; Little Brown & Company (1978) - Biography; out of print

Cutting Edge: Gillette's Journey to Global Leadership by Gordon McKibben; Harvard Business School Press (1998) - History of Gillette and his company

Movers and Shakers: The 100 Most Influential Figures in Modern Business by Basic books Basic Books (2003) $17.95 - Short chapter on Gillette

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Nikola Tesla

Tesla - Master of Lightning - Excellent site from the U.S. Public Broadcasting System (PBS)

Tesla Memorial Society of New York - Good background of Tesla, including information on his inventions


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The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla by Nikola Tesla and David H. Childress; Adventures Unlimited Press (1993) $13.56 - Information on Tesla's patents and especially on his high energy electricity experiments, as well as some of his far-out theories

In Search of Nikola Tesla by F. David Peat; Ashgrove Press (1998) $9.56 - Scientific information on Tesla's wireless power transmission theories plus speculation on his thought processes

My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla by Ben Johnston (Editor); Hart Brothers Publishing (1982) $7.95 - The primary source for all Tesla biographers, tracing his career through a maze of sensationalism and controversy

Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius by Marc J. Seifer; Citadel Press (1998) $15.96 - An excellent non-technical book detailing the life, inventions, personality and tribulations of this great scientist

Nikola Tesla's Earthquake Machine by Pond, Daumgartner and Baumgartner; Message Company (1995) $16.95 - Details and plans for building a working model of the Tesla Oscillator, intended to create artificial earthquakes; A somewhat technical book

Nikola Tesla: A Spark of Genius by C. Dommersmuth; Lerner Pub. (1994) $25.26 - The life and career of an eccentric but brilliant inventor and pioneer in the field of electricity;
For grades 5 to 9

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Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Official Website of Mark Twain

Mark Twain - Wikipedia

Mark Twain Biography


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Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography by Geoffrey C. Ward, Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns, and Russell Banks, Knopf Publishing (2001) $40.00

The Autobiography of Mark Twain by Charles Neider, Perennial Publishing (2000) $15.00

Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: a Biography by Justin Kaplan, Touchstone Books (1991) $18.00


Mark Twain: Four Complete Novels by Mark Twain, Grammercy Publsihing (1993) $13.99 - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Penguin USA (Paper) (2003) $6.00

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Illustrated Library for Children) by Mark Twain, Troy Howell (Illustrator), True W. Williams (Illustrator), Gramercy (2002) $16.99

Mark Twain: Mississippi Writings by Mark Twain, Guy Cardwell (Editor), Library of America (1982) $30.00 - Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, Huckleberry Finn, Pudd'nhead Wilson

The War Prayer by Mark Twain HarperCollins (2002) $9.95

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George Westinghouse

George Westinghouse website

George Westinghouse - Wikipedia

Top 5 George Westinghouse Inventions -



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Winston Churchill

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Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Edison

Lee Harvey Oswald

Nikola Tesla

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