Marquis Who's Who
, a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.
, is the American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
publisher of a number of directories containing short biographies. The books are usually titled 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. Marquis Who's Who books are often found in the reference section of local libraries, at corporate libraries, and are also used for research by universities. Subsidiary National Register Publishing publishes directories of business reference information.
Who's Who in America
, its flagship publication, is a registered trademark of News Communications, Inc. The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...
referred to the 60th edition of Who's Who in America
as "a librarian's Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...
Marquis states in the 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".
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. The content is also now provided online to libraries and other paid subscribers.
Marquis requires no publication or processing fees from the persons selected as biographees.
Founded in 1899 by Albert Nelson Marquis , 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. "
Today, the company publishes over a dozen different series and offers an online database with information on 1.4 million individuals; Who's Who in America
contains over 90,000 entries.
Originally independent, it was acquired by the conglomerate ITT
ITT Corporation is a global diversified manufacturing company based in the United States. ITT participates in global markets including water and fluids management, defense and security, and motion and flow control...
Macmillan Publishers USA, also known as Macmillan Publishing, is a privately held American publishing company owned by the Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. It has offices in 41 countries worldwide and operates in more than 30 others....
bought ITT's publishing division in 1985. Reed Publishing
Reed Elsevier is a publisher and information provider operating in the science, medical, legal, risk and business sectors. It is listed on several of the world's major stock exchanges. It is a FTSE 100 and FT500 Global company...
bought Marquis and National Register from Macmillan in 1991. News Communications, Inc., which owns The Hill
The Hill, a subsidiary of News Communications Inc., is a newspaper published in Washington, D.C. since 1994.Its first editor was Martin Tolchin, a veteran correspondent in the Washington bureau of The New York Times....
, bought Marquis in 2003.
- Who's Who in America
- Who's Who in the World
- Who's Who of American Women
- Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare
- Who's Who in Science and Engineering
- Who's Who in Finance and Business
- Who's Who in American Law
- Who's Who in American Politics
- Who's Who in American Art
- Who's Who in American Education
- Who's Who in Corporate America
- Who's Who in the South and Southwest
- Who's Who in the East
- Who's Who in the Midwest
- Who's Who in the West
- Who's Who in Asia
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".
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," a book sales based business model. "A total of 25,000 copies have been sold for shipment for 2006."
Marquis calls its selection criteria "stringent" and says that biographical data on candidates for listing are reviewed by its editors to confirm that its requirements are met. Once selected, a biographical draft is sent to biographees for prepublication checking. In cases where notable individuals decline to submit biographical data, Marquis compiles information itself.
In popular culture
On June 16, 2006, the television quiz show Jeopardy!
Griffin's first conception of the game used a board comprising ten categories with ten clues each, but after finding that this board could not be shown on camera easily, he reduced it to two rounds of thirty clues each, with five clues in each of six categories...
included a Who's Who in America
category that "featured a series of answers and questions taken from the 107-year history of the book." Later that year, the December 19 episode included a Who's Who in the World
In 2007, referring to the International Biographical Centre, the American Bibliographical Institute and Marquis Who's Who, Jan Margosian, consumer information coordinator for the Oregon Department of Justice, warned consumers to be wary and called the companies "pretty tacky", adding "I don't know why they would put you in there if they weren't hoping to get you to buy the book. You truly have to look at how they are marketing and what the spin is. It's something you might want to watch out for."
Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson is an American political news correspondent and conservative commentator for the Fox News Channel...
, in an article entitled "The Hall of Lame" that appeared in Forbes
magazine in 1999, wrote that the selection process is neither rigorous nor meaningful, and self nominators and thousands of people not particularly notable are included, such as bowling coaches and landscape architects. Carlson also wrote that Marquis makes money selling addresses to direct mail marketers
Direct marketing is a channel-agnostic form of advertising that allows businesses and nonprofits to communicate straight to the customer, with advertising techniques such as mobile messaging, email, interactive consumer websites, online display ads, fliers, catalog distribution, promotional...
. However, Forbes
currently bases 10% of the methodology for its America's Best Colleges list on alumni listings in Who's Who in America