- Air & Space (6)
- Artists & Writers (5)
- Civil Rights in World (4)
- Criminals (7)
- Entertainers (12)
- Scientists & Inventors (10)
- U.S. Presidents (45)
- World Leaders & Revoluton (61)
Sigmund Freud is best known as the father of psychoanalysis. Freud believed that patients could talk via free association to reveal the innermost thoughts of their unconscious mind. Learn more about Freud and his work through this biography.
A to Z List of Famous People of the 20th Century
Looking for someone in particular? Browse through this alphabetical listing of people who shaped the twentieth century.
100 Famous African-American Men and Women of the 20th Century
African-American men and women have made great contributions to American society throughout the 20th century. In this article, you will find a listing of 100 African Americans who truly achieved greatness by either advancing civil rights or making major impacts in science, government, sports, or entertainment.
Muhammad Ali is one of the most famous boxers of all time. His conversion to Islam and draft evasion conviction surrounded him with controversy and even exile from boxing for three years. Despite the hiatus, his quick reflexes and strong punches helped Muhammad Ali become the first person in history to win the heavyweight champion title three...
Babe Ruth is often referred to as the greatest baseball player who ever lived. In 22 seasons, Babe Ruth hit a record 714 home runs. Many of Babe Ruth's numerous records for both pitching and hitting lasted for decades. Learn more about one of the most famous athletes of all time.
Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington was born a slave and yet managed, through education and hard work, to become one of the most well-known African Americans of his time. After founding the Tuskegee Institute in 1881, Washington became really famous after his Atlanta Compromise Speech in 1895, in which he proposed that education, and not legislation, would bring equality between whites and blacks.
Emmeline Pankhurst was a leader in the women's suffrage movement in Great Britain. Using methods such as rock throwing and arson, Pankhurst and other "suffragettes" drew attention to their cause.
He went to war, fished, drank, and womanized; oh, and he wrote books. Known for his simple prose, which differed greatly from 19th century writings, Ernest Hemingway lived a life worth writing about. Find out about the life and sudden death of Hemingway.
Eva Peron, the young wife of Argentine president Juan Peron, was known around the world for her work with the poor and her support of women's suffrage. Although the masses adored her, there were others who thought her motives were not so noble. Learn more about the short but fascinating life of Eva Peron.
A collection of history quotes made by famous or influential people of the 20th century.
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson made history by becoming the very first African American to play in a Major League Baseball team. Find out more about Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier.
John D. Rockefeller
Although he started with humble beginnings, John D. Rockefeller used his keen business sense to found Standard Oil Company, in turn making him one of the wealthiest men in the world. Later in life, Rockefeller gave away much of his wealth by creating foundations and funding charities. Learn more about the life of oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller.
TIME's Man of the Year List
Since 1927, TIME Magazine has chosen a man, woman, or idea that for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year. View the listing of TIME's picks over the decades.
Who Is Your Favorite Historical Figure to Dress Up as for a Halloween Costume?
Some people dress up as current political figures, others as movie stars or mass murderers. Who is your favorite historical figure to dress up for as a Halloween costume?
Malcolm X was a controversial figure during the Civil Rights era. While he advocated for black pride, he also believed in the inherent evil of the white man. Malcolm X didn't believe in integration, which was the goal of the mainstream Civil Rights Movement; instead, he advocated for a separate black community. Find out more about the life of...
Eleanor Roosevelt was a beloved figure of the 20th century. She fought tirelessly for the rights of the underprivileged throughout her lifetime, especially during her tenure as First Lady of the United States and while serving as a delegate to the United Nations.
Helen Keller was just like any other young child until she came down with a nearly fatal disease at the age of 19 months. Although she survived the illness, it left her both deaf and blind. She was able to escape a life of loneliness and despair only because her teacher, Annie Sullivan, taught her how to communicate. Learn more about the life of...
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was the most famous architect of the 20th century. He believed in organic architecture, creating its ultimate example by designing a house that hovered over a waterfall (Fallingwater). His life, however, was full of turmoil, including affairs and murder. Learn more about Frank Lloyd Wright's very interesting life.
Golda Meir was a devoted Zionist from an early age, who went on to become one of the signers of Israel's declaration of independence and later the first female prime minister of Israel (1969 to 1974). Learn more about Gold Meir, the Iron Lady of Israel.
From 1975 to 1979, Pol Pot, as the leader of the Khmer Rouge, was the dictator of Cambodia. During these five years, Pol Pot attempted to transform Cambodia into an agrarian utopia; however, in attempting to do this, Pol Pot was responsible for creating the Cambodian Genocide, which saw the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million people.
On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride made history when she became the first American woman in space. She helped investigate two space shuttle disasters and then, after retiring from NASA, dedicated herself to making science interesting to kids.
Jane Addams founded the settlement house called Hull House in 1889 in order to help the underprivileged in Chicago. Addams went on to became a model social reformer, advocating for peace, civil rights, and women's suffrage. Learn more about her life in this biography of Jane Addams.
Audrey Hepburn is considered one of the most exquisite and elegant women of the 20th century. Not only was Hepburn an Academy-Award winning actress, she also became a fashion icon. Hepburn is perhaps best remembered for her roles in the movies My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany's, but she made many great films.
Nicholas II was the last czar of Russia. Thrust into the position of czar with no real training, Nicholas made mistake after mistake. Nicholas' inflexibility and seeming disinterest in his own people, pushed Russia into both a revolution and a civil war. In the end, Nicholas was forced to abdicate, ending the monarchy in Russia.
Jackie Kennedy, as wife of John F. Kennedy, was the First Lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963. She is remembered for her style, grace, and efforts to restore the White House.
Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most famous inventors in history, is best known as the inventor of the light bulb, the phonograph, and motion pictures. Learn more about Thomas Edison's life as well as a few of his 1,093 patents.
The suave and debonaire Cary Grant was one of the most famous actors of the 20th century. However, despite his charmed on-screen appearance, his home life was troubled after his mom went missing, LSD therapy sessions, and five marriages. Learn more about famous actor Cary Grant in this short biography.
Young, blonde, beautiful Grace Kelly mesmerized audiences with her performances in eleven films in five years. However, she left all that behind when she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco and became a princess.
Jim Thorpe was one of the greatest athletes of all time. He could pretty much pick up any sport and master it, but is best known for receiving Olympic gold medals in the pentathlon and the decathlon as well as playing both professional baseball and football.
Walt Disney was a cartoonist, innovator, and an entrepreneur who created some of the most beloved characters of the 20th century, the world's first theme park, and one of the largest entertainment companies in the world.
Author Agatha Christie, known as the Queen of Crime, wrote 82 detective novels, a series of six romance novels, 19 plays, and an autobiography. Read more about the life of this amazing author and her mysterious disappearance.
Every year, people watch Jimmy Stewart in the movie, It's a Wonderful Life when it appears on TV near the holidays. He still makes people smile and feel good. In his many films, Jimmy Stewart often fought for justice. Off the screen, Jimmy Stewart proved he truly was a hero. Stewart was not only the first famous film actor to serve in World...
Joe DiMaggio is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He played in the major leagues for the Yankees and in 1941 set an all time, yet-to-be-beat, hitting streak that lasted 56 games. Learn more about the life of baseball player Joe DiMaggio, including his marriage to actress Marilyn Monroe.
President Warren Harding
Warren G. Harding is considered one of the worst U.S. Presidents in history. Harding tried to be the good guy, loved playing poker, and avoided confrontation, yet his extramarital affairs and the political scandals that were discovered after Harding's death have severely tarnished Harding's presidency. Find out more about the life of President...
Louis Armstrong is one of the most loved jazz musicians of all time. Born to a poor, teenage mother, Armstrong overcame his beginnings to become a masterful trumpeter, who played a key role in the development of jazz music.
John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (a Great Depression-era tale about the Joad family, who moved from Oklahoma to California) has become his most famous book. Yet besides The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck wrote a number of other valuable novels, including The Pearl, Tortilla Flat, and Travels With Charley. Learn more about Steinbeck (and his three wives) in this biography about author John Steinbeck.
As a young adult, Che Guevara went on a motorcycle journey through South America, awakening a passion for the lower classes. Determined to make a difference, Guevara turned into a revolutionary and played a central role in the Cuban Revolution. Guevara then dedicated the rest of his life to instigating revolutions. Che Guevara, the iconic...
Frank Sinatra was an extremely famous singer and movie star. He began singing with the big bands of the 1940s but soon started on an amazing solo career. Learn more about the man, his songs, and his personal life thorugh this Frank Sinatra biography.
Benito Mussolini was the fascist dictator of Italy from his March on Rome in 1922 until his own demise at the end of World War II. Find out how the son of a blacksmith turned into the leader of Italy.
Gerald Ford became the 38th President of the United States when Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. Since Ford had been appointed (not elected) vice president after the resignation of Spiro Agnew, Ford became the only U.S. president to not have been elected. Find out more about Gerald Ford's life, presidency, pardon of Nixon, and later years in this short biography of President Gerald Ford.
Jane Goodall has spent over five decades studying chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream Reserve in what is now Tanzania. She has made several important discoveries about chimpanzees and has become famous world-wide for her research and her activism. Learn more about the life of Jane Goodall.
Thurgood Marshall was an impressive civil rights lawyer who won 29 out of 32 cases he brought to the U.S. Supreme Court while working for the NAACP. Then, in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was appointed a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first African American to do so. Find out more about Thurgood Marshall, a man who escaped a lynching but kept his sense of humor.
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson detested war and yet was forced to bring the United States into World War I. After the war, Wilson tried to create the League of Nations, whose job was to try to keep the world out of another war. Find out more about Woodrow Wilson, considered by many to be one of American's top ten best presidents.