Biography for Historical Analysis

A Chinese Biographical Database


  • Marilyn Levine Central Washington University



Chinese Biographical Database, Chinese Communist Party, Chinese Nationalist Party, Quantitative History


Biography is a common approach to examining history as event and process. Whether leaders or followers, extraordinary or average individuals, together they are a part of the historical process. The Chinese Biographical Database (CBD), originally created in 1997-98, was made available online through 2006 and was intended as a research tool to aid in understanding biography and history. The CBD originated in the study of Chinese politics in Europe during the 1920s and included information on more than 1,100 Chinese who went to France, Germany, and Belgium, and later expanded the inclusion of other Chinese individuals creating a diverse array of individuals in politics, academics, military, and other spheres. Data attributes included basic biographical information such as name, gender, birthplace, birth and death dates, main career, affiliations, education, positions, youth activities, historical events, family members, alternate names, sources, locator data, and multimedia. Since 2018, the CBD has been transformed into an analytical resource with updated information for 2,109 individuals and 840 attributes. This article will introduce the CBD and then discuss the historical context, documentation, composition, and future of the CBD and present two examples of its utilization for historical network analysis.




How to Cite

Levine, M. (2021) “Biography for Historical Analysis: A Chinese Biographical Database”, Journal of Historical Network Research. Luxembourg, 5(1). doi: 10.25517/jhnr.v5i1.124.