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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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The landmark American National Biography (ANB Online) offers portraits of more than 18,700 men & women — from all eras and walks of life — whose lives have shaped the nation. The wealth of biographies are supplemented with over 900 articles from The Oxford Companion to United States History and over 2,500 illustrations and photographs providing depth and context to the portraits. It is updated twice a year with new biographies, illustrations, and articles. Find out more about the latest update by visiting the Highlights page. American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) sponsors the American National Biography (ANB Online), which is published by Oxford University Press.

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