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Marquis Who's Who

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Marquis Who's Who
FounderAlbert Nelson Marquis
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationBerkeley Heights, New Jersey
Key peopleErica Lee,
CEO and editor-in-chief
Nonfiction topicsBiographies
Official websitewww.marquiswhoswho.com

Marquis Who's Who, also known as A.N. Marquis Company, (/ˈmɑːrkwɪs/ or /mɑːrˈk/) is an American publisher of a number of directories containing short biographies. The books usually are entitled Who's Who in... followed by some subject, such as Who's Who in America, Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Asia, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, Who's Who in American Politics, etc. Often, Marquis Who's Who books are found in the reference section of local libraries, at corporate libraries, and are also used for research by universities.[1][2]

In 2005, while Marquis was owned by News Communications, Inc., publishers of The Hill; The New York Times referred to the sixtieth edition of Who's Who in America as "a librarian's Vanity Fair".[3]

Marquis states in its preface that Who's Who in America "endeavors to profile the leaders of American society; those men and women who are influencing their nation's development".[4]

Entries in Marquis Who's Who books list career and personal data for each biography, including birth date and place, names of parents and family members, education, writings and creative works, civic activities, awards, political affiliation, religion, and addresses.[5] The content also is provided online to libraries and other paid subscribers.


Founded in 1898 by Albert Nelson Marquis as an American counterpoint to the UK-oriented publication of the same name (published by A.C. Black since 1849 and, notably, including substantial biographies since 1897), the first edition of the publication contained concise biographies of more than 8,500 "distinguished Americans". Albert Marquis wrote that the book's objective was to "chronicle the lives of individuals whose achievements and contributions to society make them subjects of widespread reference interest and inquiry."[4][6]

Originally independent, it was acquired by the conglomerate ITT. Macmillan bought ITT's publishing division in 1985. Reed Publishing bought Marquis and National Register from Macmillan in 1991.[7] Reed Elsevier sold Marquis and National Register to Commonwealth Business Media in 2001.[8] News Communications, Inc., which owns The Hill, bought Marquis in 2003.[9][10][11]

In 2016, the company's assets, including all the trademarks were transferred to Marquis Who's Who Ventures LLC, which is privately owned.[12]

Erica Lee is the first woman CEO since the founding of Marquis Who’s Who. According to Forbes, she was selected as one of the 10 leaders In Innovation by The CEO Forum Group in 2021.[13]


General publications[edit]

Marquis publications include:

  • Who's Who in America (ISSN 0083-9396)
  • Who's Who in the World (ISSN 0083-9825)
  • Who's Who in American Art (ISSN 0000-0191)
  • Who's Who in American Politics
  • Who's Who in the East
  • Who's Who in the West
  • Who's Who in the Midwest
  • Who's Who in the South / Southwest
  • Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare
  • Who's Who in Asia
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Who's Who in Corporate America (ISSN 2159-9955)
  • Who's Who in Science and Engineering
  • Who's Who of American Women

Historical series[edit]

  • Who Was Who in America ISSN 0146-8081)
  • Who's Who in 20th Century America

Selection process[edit]

Marquis Who's Who states that selection of individuals for listing in its publications "is based on reference value. Individuals become eligible for listing by virtue of their positions and/or noteworthy achievements that have proved to be of significant value to society. An individual's desire to be listed is not sufficient reason for inclusion. Similarly, wealth or social position are not criteria. Purchase of the book is never a factor in the selection of biographees".[4][14]

A 2005 New York Times feature describes some aspects of the selection process: "An editorial team of 70, including 12 researchers, make the call on who's notable and who's not".

Marquis calls its selection criteria "stringent" and claims that biographical data on candidates for listing are reviewed by its editors to confirm that its requirements are met. Their chief executive, Gene M. McGovern, told The New York Times that "the fundamental standards here are position and accomplishment".[3] Once selected, a biographical draft is sent to biographees for pre-publication checking. In cases where notable individuals decline to submit biographical data, Marquis proceeds to compile all of the information to be published.[4]


In 1999, Forbes magazine published an article by Tucker Carlson, in which he reported that the selection process was neither rigorous nor meaningful. Self-nominators and many people who are not particularly notable were included; and that Marquis profited by selling subscriber addresses to direct mail marketers.[15][obsolete source]

As reference source[edit]

Forbes adopted Who's Who in America as a source for compiling information on post-graduate success when it began ranking America's most prestigious colleges in 2007.[16] Forbes stopped referencing Marquis Who's Who in 2013, replacing it with various of its own lists, such as Power Women, 30 Under 30, CEOs on the Global 2000, Nobel and Pulitzer prize winners, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellows, those elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and winners of major Arts awards.[17]

Two statisticians with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company used inclusion in Who's Who in America in a study conducted 1950–1961, which concluded that people listed in the publication lived longer than their unlisted peers.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Marquis Biographies Online".
  2. ^ Bates College Library Recommended Resources Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Hamilton, William L. (November 13, 2005). "Who Are You? Why Are You Here?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  4. ^ a b c d Marquis Who's Who. Who's Who in America 1994. Chicago, Ill: Marquis Who's Who. pp. vi. ISBN 0-8379-0151-0.
  5. ^ "Marquis Who's Who Bluesheet". Thomson Reuters. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  6. ^ Leonard, John. W., ed. (1900). WHO'S IN AMERICA; A Biographical Dictionary of Living Men and Women of the United States 1899-1900 (1 ed.). Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Company. Retrieved September 14, 2016 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ "Macmillan directories go to Reed for $146 million". Publishers Weekly. 1991-10-18. Retrieved 2019-12-22.
  8. ^ "Commonwealth to pick up Reed titles". Dayton Business Journal. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  9. ^ "Trademark Assignment Cover Sheet". USPTO. 2016-05-03.
  10. ^ "Entity Filing Details". 2016-04-25.
  11. ^ "Who's Who Of Who's Who Scams".
  12. ^ "About the Database". www.marquisbiographiesonline.com. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  13. ^ Reiss, Robert (27 Sep 2021). "10 Leaders Selected As Transformative CEOs In Innovation". Forbes. Retrieved 2 Mar 2024.
  14. ^ "Compiling the Forbes/CCAP Rankings" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  15. ^ Tucker Carlson (March 8, 1999). "The Hall of Lame". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
  16. ^ Center for College Affordability and Productivity staff (11 August 2010). "Methodology". Forbes.
  17. ^ Caroline Howard, “Ranking America's Top Colleges 2013", Forbes, July 24, 2013
  18. ^ Lawrence K. Altman, "Who's Who [in America] linked to longer lives. Listed American Men Are Found to Outlast Others," The New York Times, July 26, 1970, p. 60.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]