Marquis Who's Who

Marquis Who's Who
Marquis logo.png
Founded 1898
Founder Albert Nelson Marquis
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Berkeley Heights, New Jersey[1]
Distribution Worldwide
Key people Erica Lee,
CEO and editor-in-chief[2] [3]
Publication types Reference directories; press releases
Nonfiction topics Biographies
Official website

Marquis Who's Who (/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 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.[4][5]

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".[6]

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".[7]

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.[8] 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."[7][9]

Today, the company publishes more than a dozen different series and offers an online database with information on 1.4 million individuals; Who's Who in America contains more than 90,000 entries.[10]

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.[11] Reed Elsevier sold Marquis and National Register to Commonwealth Business Media in 2001.[12] News Communications, Inc., which owns The Hill,[13] bought Marquis in 2003.[14][15][16]

In 2016, the company's assets, including all the trademarks were transferred to Marquis Who's Who Ventures LLC, which is privately owned.[17]


General publications

Marquis publications include:[18]

  • 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

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

Selection process

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".[7][19]

Some insight into the selection process can be obtained from William L Hamilton's article entitled "Who Are You? Why Are You Here?" that appeared in The New York Times in 2005. He writes about new owners acquiring Marquis in 2003, "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".[6] 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.[7]

Marquis Who's Who states that it requires no fees from those selected as biographees on its website's 2019 FAQ page, which also states that those listed may have online access, and may edit their own online listings,[20] by using the company's connected "Marquis Biographies Online" subscription service.[21]

As reference source

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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24]


  1. ^ "Contact Us - Marquis Who's Who". Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  2. ^ "Marquis Who's Who LLC: Private Company Information".
  3. ^ "Marquis Who's Who LLC: Private Company Information".
  4. ^ "Marquis Biographies Online".
  5. ^ Bates College Library Recommended Resources Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b Hamilton, William, L., "Who Are You? Why Are You Here?", The New York Times, November 13, 2005 Available online
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Marquis Who's Who Bluesheet". Thomson Reuters. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ About us Archived 2006-12-09 at the Wayback Machine,
  11. ^ "Macmillan directories go to Reed for $146 million". Publishers Weekly. 1991-10-18. Retrieved 2019-12-22.
  12. ^ "Commonwealth to pick up Reed titles". Dayton Business Journal. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  13. ^ "Marquis Who's Who Launches Artists' Gallery Web Site (news release)". PR Newswire. 2008-03-19. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  14. ^ "Trademark Assignment Cover Sheet". USPTO. 2016-05-03.
  15. ^ "Entity Filing Details". 2016-04-25.
  16. ^ "Who's Who Of Who's Who Scams".
  17. ^ "About the Database". Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  18. ^ "Marquis Who's Who Publications". Marquis Who's Who. 2016-06-30. Archived from the original on 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  19. ^ "Compiling the Forbes/CCAP Rankings" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  20. ^ "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) : Marquis Who's Who". Marquis Who's Who. Archived from the original on 22 April 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Marquis Who's Who Online PRO VERSION 1.2", Marquis Who's Who. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  22. ^ Center for College Affordability and Productivity staff (11 August 2010). "Methodology". Forbes.
  23. ^ Caroline Howard, “Ranking America's Top Colleges 2013", Forbes, July 24, 2013
  24. ^ 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.

External links