A collection of the General Collections & Humanities Center
The public's fascination with the lives of others has been reflected in the collections of the San Francisco Public Library since its founding in the mid-19th century, when Anglo-Americans and Western Europeans were credited with shaping the world. Since then, people from all continents, communities and colors are acknowledged to have made their own marks on the world. This collection highlights the lives, careers and accomplishments of those of the past as well as the present, including notable women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, people with disabilities, Native Americans and people of African, Asian and Latino/Hispanic heritage, in a true reflection of the diversity found in San Francisco. Users of the collection include the general public and students from the high school through undergraduate levels searching for references to particular people or interested in the history of science and technology. The collection is weeded based on significance of title, usage and maintaining existing collection strengths.

Collective Biography: Current and retrospective biographies of notables associated with the United States and, to a lesser extent, other countries; emphasis is on a diverse and inclusive collection; see Art, Music & Recreation Center for collective biography of artists, musicians and sports figures; see Business, Science & Technology Center for collective biography of scientists and businesspeople; see Government Information Center for collective biography of political figures.

Individual Biography: Historical and contemporary biographies covering famous or infamous individuals in every field of endeavor (the exception being that biographies of performing and visual artists are found in the Art, Music & Recreation Center); memoirs of great literary merit or local interest; collected letters and journals; autobiography and biography.

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