Biography research can be an exciting adventure — if your students investigate a person they find interesting. Before starting them on the project, have your kids do preliminary research to find people who share their interests or accomplished something that they find really fascinating.

Have an aspiring artist? Get some quick facts about the life of Georgia O'Keefe. Interested in learning what it's like to be a Nobel Prize winning genius?  Meet Steven Chu. Check out the links below for more brief introductions to notable leaders, athletes, writers, and trailblazers.

Nellie Bly
Elizabeth Cochran, better known by her pen-name, Nelly Bly, was a pioneer of investigative journalism.

William Bradford
This Pilgrim leader established Plymouth Colony and served as its governor for more than 30 years.

This fifth-century B.C. sage founded an Asian philosophical movement and is famous for his inspirational sayings such as: "A heart set on love will do no wrong."

Jacques Cousteau
The most famous explorer of the ocean's depths, this former French naval officer brought to life many secrets and wonders of the sea and made significant contributions to the science of oceanography

Amelia Earhart
The pioneering aviator tested the boundaries of flight and the role of women in early 20th century America.

Betty Ford
Find out why the wife of President Gerald Ford was one of the most popular — and most controversial — first ladies of all time.

Thomas Jefferson
The third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence was also a diplomat, architect, a scientist, and much more.

Sir Edmund Hillary
As a member of the New Zealand climbing team, this adventurer became the first man to reach Mt. Everest's 29,028 foot summit.

Dr. Feng Shan Ho
This Chinese diplomat rescued thousands of Jews in Nazi occupied Austria in the 1930s, yet he was completed unknown, even by the people whom he saved.

Dr. Mae Jemison
The first female African American astronaut says, "The biggest challenge we all face is to learn about ourselves and to understand our strengths and weaknesses."

Martin Luther King, Jr.
The legendary leader who was assassinated in 1968 devoted his life to the fight for full rights of the poor, disadvantaged, and racially oppressed.

Michelle Kwan 
The most decorated figure skater in U.S. history has won 42 championships, including five World Championships and two Olympic medals.

Ann Martin
The author of the Baby-sitter Club books also penned a Newbery Honor book, the Flashlight Readers Club pick, A Dog's Life.

Mario Molina
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, this scientist made a monumental discovery about Earth's atmosphere and believes scientists need to work hard to save our environment.

Rosa Parks
This "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement" refused to give up her seat on a bus in an act fueled African Americans' fight for equality.

Melba Patillo
At 16, Melba became a heroine of the Civil Rights Movement by daring to demand that blacks receive the same quality of education as whites.

Dav Pilkey
The Captain Underpants author was always a class clown — and now he makes a living out of it!

Junípero Serra
A 18th century Franciscan priest, Father Serra worked as a Catholic missionary among Native Americans in Mexico. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

Myles Standish
Originally hired as a military advisor by the Pilgrims, this professional soldier eventually became a valued leader of the Plymouth Colony in America.

Browse More Biographies by Topic

Latinos in History
Learn about 25 influential and groundbreaking people, from Civil War Admiral David G. Farragut, to baseball great Roberto Clemente, to Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic women to become an astronaut.

African American Inventors
Meet  Lonnie G. Johnson (who designed the Supersoaker watergun), George Washington Carter (the father of peanut butter), and eight other fascinating and creative inventors.

Authors & Illustrators
From Tony Abbot (Secrets of Droon) to Markus Zusak (Fighting Ruben Wolfe), learn more about 430+ children's books writers and collaborators.

People Who Shaped the History of Flight
Use the interactive timeline to learn about more than 30 people who dared to dream of flying higher, farther, and faster.

Women Who Changed History
Discover more than three dozen influential women from and nominate your favorite for our Honor Roll of Notable Women.