Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Understanding history through biography

At the April 2013 Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians, Susan Ware, General Editor of the American National Biography, discussed her first year in charge of the site and her vision for its future. Ware argues that one of the best ways to understand history is through the lives of history’s major and minor players — and this means being as inclusive as possible about who is included. This mission also means frequent updates as our interpretations of history change. Fortunately, with 17,000 entries on the site covering every aspect of American history, there’s a thriving online community to support the project and find new writers.

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