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JFK Jr.’s Final Days: Exclusive Excerpt from Revealing New Book JFK Jr.: An Intimate Oral Biography

Close friends share never-before-told stories about the life and tragic death of John F. Kennedy's only son, who died at age 38

Liz McNeil is an Editor at Large at PEOPLE, where she's worked for over 30 years.

On Nov. 25, 1963, three-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. saluted his assassinated father’s casket in a televised funeral procession. That heartbreaking image came to symbolize the nation's loss.

The world never stopped watching as the little boy grew into a movie-star-handsome magazine editor, married Carolyn Bessette and then died at age 38 on July 16, 1999, when the plane he was piloting crashed off Martha’s Vineyard, also killing Carolyn, 33, and her sister Lauren, 34. 

For more on JFK Jr., pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe  here .

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Before her husband’s funeral, Mrs. Kennedy asked military personnel to teach John how to salute his casket.

Philip M. Hannan, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington

"I saw John Jr. salute [that day]. I was standing by him. I thought, This is the picture that will live. I saw the reaction of the people across the street. It was an instantaneous reaction; they broke down, especially the women ... I had heard Mrs. Kennedy say, 'John, salute.' I knew then that this was probably the most poignant picture of the century."

John grew up in New York City, where his mom moved with him and Caroline in 1964. She enrolled him at the private Collegiate School. 

David Clarke, schoolmate

"He had this big mop of hair. You’d see him wandering around the halls, shirttails hanging out, his tie ripped off to one side, his hair a mess. He was known for losing blazers." 

He transferred to elite Andover in 1976 and had to repeat his senior year when he failed math before starting at Brown University in 1979. He was easily distractable but his name and charm brought advantages — and fun.

William Cohan, schoolmate

"One weekend, he invites me down to [the family’s apartment at] 1040 Fifth Avenue. I walk in and it’s mind-boggling. And his mother’s there. And then John goes into his room and decides he wants to get high, takes out the bong, smokes a bowl, pours the bong water out onto Fifth Avenue from his bathroom."

Gary Ginsberg, college friend

"I met John in the second-to-last row of a history class. One day ... neither of us had any clue what was really going on. John had to give an answer, and it was so inane. But after he finished his two-minute response, the professor’s nodding vigorously. 'John, that was so insightful.' That’s when I realized it was what John always referred to as 'the JK Factor.'

"There’s no table in a restaurant? Then one appears. He’d always look at me with that sh---eating grin and go, 'JK Factor.' "

Anne Marie Fox

He got his law degree from NYU in 1989 and passed the bar exam on his third try. He dated actress Daryl Hannah off and on but met and fell for Calvin Klein publicist Carolyn Bessette in 1992 before formally ending things with Hannah.

Robbie Littell, best friend

"[Carolyn] intrigued him more than anyone he’d ever met. A force of nature. He said he wanted to marry her. He was adamant." 

They wed on Sept 21, 1996 on Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia.

George Kyriakos, wedding guest and Carolyn’s hairdresser

"John slept in my then-wife Jackie’s and my room the night before the wedding. Which is crazy — there was this huge mansion where everybody had rooms, and John was sleeping on a cot in our room. It was the whole don’t-sleep-with-the-bride-the-night-before-the-wedding thing."

Gogo Ferguson, who hosted their wedding

"We lit the church with all the candles and flashlights we had because by the time we got her in her dress and I drove her down the road in my truck, it was getting dark. There was no electricity. John and Carolyn stayed at our house that night. Someone had the great idea of putting rose petals all the way up our driveway and into our bedroom, which ended up a complete mess. That was gonna be the honeymoon suite."

The press attention intensified — and while John was used to it, Carolyn was overwhelmed.

Sasha Chermayeff, college friend

"She genuinely felt she was in danger. The paranoia set in when she kind of let her mind spin off: 'What if somebody wants to kidnap me?' After they got married, it just escalated and escalated and escalated. John was five years older. And being followed, it’s very different for a 200-lb. man than for a woman alone. By then she was thinking, 'They’re spying on me. They’re stalking me. Now my life is being afraid.' "

John got his pilot’s license in 1998 and found an escape in the skies.

Robbie Littell 

"That was some of the happiest times he ever had. Floating around with the buzzards in his Buckeye [plane]. It was the freedom. But most of all, it was getting away.  Flying made him super happy. Free spirit, in control, doing something, you know ... a James Bondian endeavor. Playing James Bond."

Gary Ginsberg

"He said, 'It’s the only place I can go where no one is bothering me. I have complete silence, and no one can get to me except the air traffic controllers.' Maybe that gives you insight into what he was really dealing with on the ground." 

RoseMarie Terenzio, friend and assistant

"When he got his plane, the Cessna, you have to have a tail number, and he wanted 529 because that was his dad’s birthday — May 29. When he went to reserve that number to register it with the FAA, that one was taken. He ended up buying the number from the person who had it. The tail number on both of John’s planes was N529JK."

John was trying to keep George magazine afloat, fighting with Carolyn and  worried about the looming death from cancer of his cousin Anthony Radziwill. In May 1999, he broke his ankle  paragliding. John and Carolyn’s relationship hit a low point the week of July 12. Though accounts vary, John spent at least one night at the Stanhope Hotel.

Sasha Chermayeff

"They were spiting each other. Maybe Carolyn was trying to make him worry [by not coming home]. So then he did it the next night. He was not with her those last two nights. The Stanhope thing was tricky. I think he went there to meet [former girlfriend] Julie Baker. Everybody always asks me, 'What do I think would’ve happened?' Anything was possible." 

Julie Baker

"I spoke to John for the last time the night before he passed. There is a rumor going around that I was with him at the Stanhope [that night]. This is not true. He was at a baseball game and wanted me to meet up with him and his friend after to grab a drink. I was away, so I couldn’t. I did however grab a quick lunch with him (which we often did) at the Stanhope a few days before the accident."

On July 16, he spent the day at the office. The plan was to fly to Martha’s Vineyard to drop off Carolyn’s sister Lauren, 34, and then fly to Hyannis, Mass., for his cousin Rory Kennedy’s wedding. But they ended up leaving later than planned. 

RoseMarie Terenzio

"I got to John and Carolyn’s apartment, where I was staying until my air conditioning got fixed, at 9:30 or 10:00. They had two phones — one in the kitchen, and then a fax machine. Only three or four people had that number. I picked up the fax phone and it was Carole [Radziwill, Anthony’s wife]. She said, 'Oh thank God you’re there.' I said, 'Carole? It’s Rose.' She said, 'Where are they? They didn’t land in the Vineyard.' No one knew where John was. [RoseMarie spoke to John’s flight instructor Bob Marena.] He  said the flight took off at 8:39. That’s when I panicked.

"Then Ann Freeman, Carolyn and Lauren’s mom, called . . . She was panic-stricken. She said something like, 'I told him never to take two of my girls up at the same time.' She was angry. Crying. It was panic, shock. Disbelief."

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the cause of the accident as the “pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane, which was a result of spatial disorientation. Factors in the accident were haze and the dark night."

Jeff Guzzetti, NTSB investigator, Office of Aviation Safety

"His flight path into the water is consistent with what is known as a graveyard spiral. The airplane makes a spiral nose-down . . . kind of like going down a drain. The plane went into one final turn and it stayed in that turn pretty much all the way down to the ocean. He went in seven miles from Martha’s Vineyard.

"I don’t think the passengers knew what was happening to them. They might’ve felt a little G-force pushing them down in their seats, like, 'This feels a little bit weird.' You would’ve heard the rush of air over the fuselage accelerate or get louder, during the final fatal plunge. Perhaps feel yourself accelerating a little bit. And then they hit the surface of the water and it’s over. Now, the pilot is different. I would expect that the pilot would be very confused and perhaps a little frightened because the instruments may have not been matching up with how he was feeling. The impact forces were tremendous."

"A week later, I got a big brown box from the mail room. I think it was from the NTSB. There was his wallet. It was all water-damaged and warped. And one crutch. I sent it to [John’s sister] Caroline [Kennedy]. I just cried."

On July 22, the USS Briscoe brought members of the Kennedy and Bessette families to scatter the ashes for a burial at sea.

Barry C. Black, Navy chaplain

"Caroline clutched the urn . . . I calmed her, and we went down. Contorted with grief is not even an adequate description. She put the ashes in. As the ashes were pouring, she reached her hand into the water to put some water back on her [as if she thought], 'I’m not going to let go of his hand.' They dropped flowers as the ship was sailing. They embraced one another as if that human closeness would somehow mitigate the ache.

Robbie Littell

"I’ve heard they cut a tree down in Irish culture when someone dies young because they only lived half of their life. And I like to say, here’s a guy who lived twice as hard as anyone else. Twice as well as anyone else . . . I think of the loss, not so much my loss, but his loss — of not being able to experience life which he loved so much. The loss was going to come when the stories faded — and I didn’t want to lose the stories."

From JFK JR.: An Intimate Oral Biography by RoseMarie Terenzio and Liz McNeil. Copyright © 2024 by RoseMarie Terenzio and Liz McNeil. Reprinted by permission of Gallery Books, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, LLC

JFK Jr.: An Intimate Oral Biography by RoseMarie Terenzio and Liz McNeil is on sale July 16, and available for preorder now, wherever books are sold.

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Who Was Harriet Tubman? A Historian Sifts the Clues.

A brisk new biography by the National Book Award-winning historian Tiya Miles aims to restore the iconic freedom fighter to human scale.

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This sepia-toned photograph depicts a Black woman of middle age wearing a floor-length dark dress, a dark shawl and a head scarf. Her hands are clasped at her waist and she gazes directly into the camera.

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NIGHT FLYER: Harriet Tubman and the Faith Dreams of a Free People , by Tiya Miles

Harriet Tubman led such an eventful life — so filled with hardship, extreme peril and close calls — that even an atheist might find it hard to deny that her nine decades of survival on this Earth were nothing short of miraculous.

Tubman herself credited God with guiding her dangerous work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad during the 1850s; she made an estimated 13 trips below the Mason-Dixon line and spirited as many as 80 souls north, often all the way to Canada. Tubman’s own escape in 1849 was legendary. After a first attempt with her brothers, who were so frightened that they insisted on turning back to their enslaver’s estate near the Chesapeake Bay, an undaunted Tubman made the treacherous 90-mile journey from Maryland to Pennsylvania on her own.

“Where others saw shut doors and unscalable brick walls, she dreamed into being tunnels and ladders,” the historian Tiya Miles writes in “Night Flyer,” a short biography of Tubman that is the first in a new series, called Significations and edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr., about notable Black figures. For decades after her death in 1913, Tubman’s extraordinary life was mostly relegated to books for children and young adults. Thorough, probing biographies by the historians Catherine Clinton and Kate Clifford Larson were published two decades ago. More recently, Tubman was the subject of a Hollywood biopic and “She Came to Slay,” an illustrated volume by the historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar, featuring a drawing of a pistol-toting Tubman on the cover.

Perhaps inevitably, all the pop-cultural attention has been double-edged, commemorating Tubman’s formidable accomplishments while also making it harder to discern who she actually was. Miles admits that before she started this project, Tubman “had become a stock figure in my imagination, a known hero in the cast of characters that we might call the abolitionist avengers.” Recognizing Tubman’s idiosyncrasies and physical ailments “resizes Tubman the cultural icon to human scale.”

Miles calls “Night Flyer” a “faith biography,” emphasizing Tubman’s spirituality along with her ecological awareness, expressed as a profound attentiveness to the natural world. Miles also draws on the life stories of “similar women,” such as the preachers Jarena Lee and Zilpha Elaw , to try to illuminate some of the more interior experiences that Tubman took care to keep hidden.

Such gaps in the historical record are familiar to Miles. Having written about Indigenous people and African Americans, including in the National Book Award-winning “All That She Carried,” she frequently faces what she has called “the conundrum of the archives.” Tubman did not read or write; she dictated her life story to “typically white, middle-class, antislavery women,” like her first biographer, Sarah Bradford. Although usually “well-meaning,” Tubman’s amanuenses sometimes “demeaned” her, casting her as an exotic, almost otherworldly figure.

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What to know about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the guilty plea that freed him

Julian Assange has pleaded guilty to a single felony charge for publishing U.S. military secrets in a deal with Justice Department prosecutors that secures his freedom and concludes a drawn-out legal saga that raised divisive questions about press freedom and national security.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents.


FILE - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen with his ankle security tag at the house where he is required to stay, near Bungay, England, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

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FILE - Protesters hold placards in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside the High Court in London, Monday, May 20, 2024. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)


WASHINGTON (AP) — The guilty plea by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange brings a stunning conclusion to an international saga of the quixotic hacker who exposed government secrets.

The deal reached with the U.S. Justice Department came after Assange spent 12 years either in self-exile or a British prison.

He pleaded guilty to conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified information relating to the national defense of the United States. The deal required him to admit guilt but also permitted him to return to Australia without any time in an American prison.

A look at Assange, the case and the latest developments:

Who is Julian Assange?


Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, on May 19, 2017.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

An Australian editor and publisher, he is best known for having founded the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, which gained massive attention — and notoriety — for the 2010 release of almost half a million documents relating to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His activism made him a cause célèbre among press freedom advocates who said his work in exposing U.S. military misconduct in foreign countries made his activities indistinguishable from what traditional journalists are expected to do as part of their jobs.

But those same actions put him in the crosshairs of American prosecutors, who released an indictment in 2019 that accused Assange — holed up at the time in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London — of conspiring with an Army private to illegally obtain and publish sensitive government records.


“Julian Assange is no journalist,” John Demers, the then-top Justice Department national security official, said at the time. “No responsible actor, journalist or otherwise, would purposely publish the names of individuals he or she knew to be confidential human sources in war zones, exposing them to the gravest of dangers.”

What is WikiLeaks?

Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006 as a place to post confidential documents exposing corruption and revealing secret government workings behind warfare and spying.

It has gone well beyond that, though, in publishing everything from Church of Scientology records to Sarah Palin’s emails to a membership list of the far-right British National Party.

It released more than 570,000 pages of messages sent on Sept. 11, 2001, that showed users frantically trying to reach loved ones near the World Trade Center or warning them not to go downtown after hijacked jets struck the towers.


Protesters hold placards outside the High Court in London, Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

In 2008, a federal judge in San Francisco briefly shuttered the site after a Swiss bank accused it of posting stolen account information. The judge reversed the decision just over a week later after protests by free-speech advocates and news media organizations.

The site — and Assange — became best known in 2010 with the release of the classified U.S. military information, including chilling footage from an Apache helicopter showing people being gunned down in Baghdad as American airmen can be heard laughing about the “dead bastards.” Two Reuters journalists were among the dead and the wounded included children.

What is Assange accused of?

The Trump administration’s Justice Department accused Assange of directing former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.

The charges relate to WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of leaked military and diplomatic documents, with prosecutors accusing Assange of helping Manning steal classified diplomatic cables that they say endangered national security and of conspiring together to crack a Defense Department password.

Reports from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq published by Assange included the names of Afghans and Iraqis who provided information to American and coalition forces, prosecutors said, while the diplomatic cables he released exposed journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates and dissidents in repressive countries.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted of violating the Espionage Act and other offenses for leaking classified government and military documents to WikiLeaks. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017, allowing her release after about seven years behind bars.

Why wasn’t he already in U.S. custody?

Assange has spent the last five years in a British high-security prison, fighting to avoid extradition to the U.S. and winning favorable court rulings that have delayed any transfer across the Atlantic.

He was evicted in April 2019 from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought refuge seven years earlier amid an investigation by Swedish authorities into claims of sexual misconduct that he has long denied and that was later dropped. The South American nation revoked the political asylum following the charges by the U.S. government.

Despite his arrest and imprisonment by British authorities, extradition efforts by the U.S. had stalled before the plea deal.

A U.K. judge rejected the U.S. extradition request in 2021 because Assange was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions. Higher courts overturned that decision after getting assurances from the U.S. about his treatment. The British government signed an extradition order in June 2022.

Then, last month, two High Court judges ruled that Assange can mount a new appeal based on arguments about whether he will receive free-speech protections or be at a disadvantage because he is not a U.S. citizen.

What will the deal require?

Assange’s guilty plea involved a felony charge under the Espionage Act of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified information relating to the national defense of the United States, according to a Justice Department letter filed in federal court.

The hearing took place Wednesday morning in a U.S. district court in Saipan, the largest island in the Northern Mariana Islands. The U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific is relatively close to Assange’s native Australia and accommodated his desire to avoid entering the continental United States.

The judge sentenced him to the five years he’d already spent behind bars in the United Kingdom fighting extradition and avoids a lengthy prison sentence in the event of a conviction.

Assange signaled a begrudging contentment with the resolution, saying in court that though he believed the Espionage Act contradicted the First Amendment, he accepted the consequences of soliciting classified information from sources for publication.

Is the case connected to the 2016 presidential election?

It’s not, but beyond his interactions with Manning, Assange is well-known for the role WikiLeaks played in the 2016 presidential election, when it released a massive tranche of Democratic emails that federal prosecutors say were stolen by Russian intelligence operatives.

The goal, officials have said, was to harm the electoral effort of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and boost her Republican challenger Donald Trump, who famously said during the campaign : “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.”

Assange was not charged as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. But the investigation nonetheless painted an unflattering role of WikiLeaks in advancing what prosecutors say was a brazen campaign of Russian election interference.

Assange denied in a Fox News interview that aired in January 2017 that Russians were the source of the hacked emails, though those denials are challenged by a 2018 indictment by Mueller of 12 Russian military intelligence officers.

AP reporter Brian Melley in London contributed to this report.


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Doug Sheehan, Knots Landing and General Hospital Actor, Dead at 75

Rebecca iannucci, managing editor.

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Actor Doug Sheehan , best known to TV fans for his work on soap operas General Hospital and Knots Landing , has died. He was 75.

News of Sheehan’s death was made public by the Wyoming-based Kane Funeral Home, where memorial services are being arranged. Per the announcement , Sheehan passed away “peacefully at his home on Saturday morning, June 29, 2024, with his loving wife at his side.” A cause of death was not disclosed.

The actor also held memorable roles on NBC’s short-lived sitcom Day by Day (where he starred as stockbroker Brian Harper) and ABC/UPN’s series adaptation of Clueless (where he took over the role of Cher’s father, Mel Horowitz, from Michael Lerner after Season 1).

Other TV credits included episodes of Cheers , the original MacGyver , Columbo , Diagnosis Murder, What I Like About You and Sabrina the Teenage Witch .

TV Stars Who Died in 2024

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So terribly sorry to hear this news. I was fortunate to work with Doug on his NorCal market ABC PR tours when he was with GH. What a lovely person as is his wife, Kate. We attended their magical wedding and will always be grateful for his professionalism and kindness.

Rename bobbies back to Kelly’s

Are you kidding with this?? A comment like this on a death announcement is in pretty poor taste.

One of my favorites….love him

Doug you were a great thespian and Friend may you RIP now on the sets of heaven

Always a joy to watch on TV. Was so authentic in his acting.

Yes. Doug was a real gentleman. He grew up in my hometown, and was very friendly and outgoing in person. Prayers for his family

I enjoyed Day By Day. And his bit on Cheers was the date of Diane’s who would instantly count how many words someone just spoke.

Sorry to hear this. I remember him from the sitcom “Day By Day.’ I don’t watch General Hospital.

Sorry to hear this.

In my mind he still looks like he did on Knots Landing. So sad and deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.🕊

I loved him on GH way back in the day. I have hoped for awhile that they would bring Kellys back to Port Charles. The place could use some regular nice people instead of the mobsters, hit men, gangsters molls and crazy people.

He made some noise.So sorry for his family .

I found it interesting that he went by Douglas instead of Doug on KL (checked my memory on imdb)… I wonder why???

A filler character for Val until she went crazy…

He was great as Joe Kelly on General Hospital.

Loved him on both GH and KL. Very talented actor. RIP!

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The 7 Best Biography Sites for Famous and Inspirational People


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Famous people, both living and dead, can help to inspire us to greater things and teach us about missing gaps in our own knowledge. Indeed, by studying the lives of some of the most famous people throughout history, you can turn yourself into a better person. And who doesn’t want that?

Thanks to the internet, you don’t need to spend a fortune on physical biographies in your local bookstore. Here are the best websites for biographies of renowned people who have ever lived.

1. Biography


Biography has been online for many years and has become one of the most well-known sites out there for memoirs, interviews, and life stories.

The People section has grown to thousands of entries and covers everyone from actors to scientists. When you click on a person's profile, you'll get a brief overview of their life, a list of “quick facts”, and information on their education, career, and personal life.

Biography also has entire sections dedicated to nostalgia, celebrities, history and culture, and crime and scandal. Most of the content in these sections takes a long-form article approach.

If you enjoy the content on the main site, make sure you also check out Biography's YouTube channel. Most of the videos are a couple of minutes long and focus on a single person.


S9 is like a Wikipedia of biographies . The content is editable by the users, and they also can contribute to the existing biographies on the site.

Every day, there is a selection of featured biographies, with many of the selections being for people you might not have heard of but who have achieved wonderful things in their lives. The site also has a birthday section and a latest biographies section, allowing you to delve into the lives of different fascinating people every time you log on.

S9 even has a biographical game in the form of a quiz. The questions are, predictably, based on people's lives. Fair warning—to get a good score, you need to have a serious deep amount of knowledge.

3. Notable Biographies

world encyclopedia biography

The simply organized encyclopedia on famous and historical personalities is very readable with an alphabetically arranged Wikipedia-like presentation. You can also add your own information through a form.

It lacks the large number of entries that you will find on some of the other sites on this list, but don't let that put you off. If you're looking for a who's-who of various global luminaries rather than endless lists of people you have never heard of, this is the site for you.

4. Women's History Month

womens history month

Women's History Month is an official site produced by the US government. Of course, the month of the celebration itself is March, but you can visit and enjoy the site and its massive amount of content throughout the year.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

Overall, the site is an exhaustive resource on women who have impacted history through the ages. It pays tribute to some of the greatest women in history with multimedia content and other exhibits.

5. Wikipedia

wikipedia biography

If you want information on famous people, you can never go too far wrong with the ubiquitous Wikipedia. If anyone has achieved something globally noteworthy in their lives, you can be almost certain that they will have an entry on the site.

Of course, for the true giants of history, the entries can run to tens of thousands of words. But even for slightly less-famous people, you will still be able to find plenty of information.

Wikipedia is also one of the few biography sites that is available in multiple languages. For regionally famous people, you might find their local entry has far more information than the English-language entry. You can use Google Translate if you cannot understand the language in question.

And hey, if no article exists about the person in question, you can always try and make one yourself!

6. Academy of Achievement

academy of achievement

The Academy of Achievement aims to provide readers with insight into the visionaries and pioneers who have shaped the modern world around us. The academy has existed for more than six decades, thus making inclusion in its hall of fame an honor in its own right.

For all the people who have made it onto the hallowed list over the years, you can access complete biographies, samples of their work, images, interviews, video content, and more.

7. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

directory of us congress

If you're a politics fanatic, you will love the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. It features a biography for all 12,877 people who have served in the House of Representatives and Congress since the forming of the United States.

For each person, you will be able to find information about the congresses they served, the years they served, the state/territory they represented, their position, and their party. Of course, there is also a text article dedicated to each person, with information on their personal life, background, and career.

We've also covered some of the best sites for unbiased fact-checking if this isn't enough for your politics fix.

8. Academy of American Poets

academy of poets

If literature is more your thing, head to the Academy of American Poets. It offers more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classical poets from the US.

The site also offers non-biographical content. For example, there are thousands of poems for you to read, a poem-a-day feature, a library containing books, texts, and more, and even materials for teachers and links to poetry events near your location.

Learn About People to Become a Better Person

No matter what hobbies and interests you have, there is always something to be learned by studying the lives of other people.

Whether they help you find an answer to a moral question, inspire you to start a new project, or simply helps you pass some time on your commute, these sites will all help to keep you entertained and engaged for hours.

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Biographies (how to find)

  • Websites for Biography

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If you have questions or need help with your research, don't hesitate to ask.

Call our Research Help Desk at 909.869.3084


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Websites for Biographical Information

Thanks to Daniel Hanne, Websites by Subject editor, for supplying most of these links and annotations.

  • bio. Biography.com This is the site for the A&E television show Biography.
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 - Present Search for the member by name, state, party, and other fields if necessary.
  • Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments Produced by the CIA.
  • Distinguished Women of Past and Present Biographies of women who contributed to our culture in different ways -- writers, educators, scientists, heads of state, politicians, civil rights leaders, artists, and entertainers.
  • IPL2 Biographies IPL2 presents detailed annotated sites for biographies.
  • Nobelprize.org The Nobel Foundation site includes the Nobel Prize winners from 1901 to date.
  • POTUS Presidents of the United States From the IPL (Internet Public Library). Background information, election results, cabinet members, notable events, and some points of interest on each of the presidents. Links to biographies, historical documents, audio and video files, and other presidential sites are also included.
  • s9.com Biographical Dictionary A Wikipedia type system -- anyone can edit biographies or create their own. Claims to be one of the largest biography sites on the planet.
  • The National Portrait Gallery (United States) This is a searchable site that contains photographs, portraits, and biographical information on thousands of prominent Americans.
  • This is Your Life: A Collection of Online Biographical Resources Published in C&RL News, July/August 2014. Sites for general biography plus African-Americans; Arts, music, entertainment, sports; Authors; Inventors, scientists, mathematicians; US and world leaders; Women.
  • Wikipedia Biography Portal Many professors discourage or forbid the use of Wikipedia, but it can be a very useful resource. You can often find information in Wikipedia not available elsewhere - just use your critical thinking skills with Wikipedia.
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  • Last Updated: Jun 5, 2024 8:28 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.library.cpp.edu/biography

Biography Online


Biographies of the famous, influential, and inspirational.


People throughout history who influenced and changed the world, from Socrates and Plato to Sir Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy.


Over 50 influential women who helped to shape the world in which we live. Including; Sappho, Malala Yousafzai, Indira Gandhi, Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, Princess Diana, Joan d’Arc, Greta Thunberg and Mother Teresa.


A selection of inspirational people who have helped create a better world. Includes Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Albert Einstein.

biography.com site

Famous men and women who have campaigned for, and promoted human and civil rights. Includes Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.


Great artists such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso. Greatest works of art :  Mona Lisa , Statue of David


The great scientists who have changed our world from Archimedes to Albert Einstein and Marie Curie. Also; list of famous inventors .


Famous poets and authors. Great writers including J. R. R. Tolkien, George Orwell, Ernst Hemingway, J.K.Rowling and C.S. Lewis


Saints and sages from different religious and spiritual traditions. Including The Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammed and the Dalai Lama.


100 great sporting personalities from the fields of football, athletics, tennis, gymnastics, boxing and more.


A list of famous Africans, including Nelson Mandela, Haile Selassie, Kofi Annan, Tegla Laroupe, and Wangari Maathai.


Famous military leaders from Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Napoleon to modern military commanders.

Featured biographies


Recently added pages

  • Tenzing Norgay – (1914 – 1986) Nepalese-Indian climber who was first to climb Mount Everest.
  • Herbert Hoover (1874 – 1964) the 31st US president during the Great Depression
  • Sir Edmund Hillary (1919 – 2008) New Zealand climber who became first to climb Mount Everest.
  • Simone Weil –  Philosopher, mystic and member of French Resistance.
  • James Joyce – Irish contemporary writer.
  • George R.R. Martin (1948 – )- Best selling fantasy author of “Game of Thrones”
  • Sadhguru (1957 – ) Indian Guru and founder of Isha yoga foundation
  • Charles Lindbergh (1902 – 1974) US air pilot who flew from NY to Paris.
  • Simon Bolivar (1783–1830) Venezuelan military and political leader who was instrumental in helping Latin American countries achieve independence.
  • Diego Maradona (1960 – ) Argentinian footballer. Voted greatest player of 20th Century.
  • Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828) Austrian composer of the late classical period.
  • Prophet Muhammad (570–632) Founder of Islam.
  • Anne Frank (1929-45) Diarist and writer who perished in the Holocaust.
  • Karl Marx (1818-1883) Political philosopher and founder of Marxism
  • James Watt – inventor of a more powerful steam engine
  • 100 most influential people – Influential figures of world history.
  • Sappho Biography – The enigmatic poet of Lesbos.
  • Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883) Civil rights campaigner
  • Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913) Escaped slave who helped others to escape on the Underground Railroad.
  • Grace Kelly (1929–1982) American film actress and Princess of Monaco.
  • Meister Eckhart – (1260–1327) German mystic, philosopher and religious administrator.
  • People who promoted religious tolerance – Timeline of religious tolerance.
  • People who changed their minds – Some of the greatest u-turns in beliefs and opinions.
  • Martin Niemöller (1893–1984) German pastor, imprisoned for opposing Hitler.
  • Germans who resisted Hitler – Including: Dietrich Bonhoffer, Claus von Stauffenberg.
  • Mozart (1756 – 1791) – Classical composer and musical genius
  • Famous historical figures – from the age of the Ramayana to the present day.
  • Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) African American, anti-slavery campaigner.

biography.com site

Deposit Photos – I use some photos from this source of stock images.

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