This guide is designed for anyone who is looking for quotations or their sources. Both print-based and Web-based sources are included.

Print Sources

There are a great many books of quotations. Some are general, overarching collections of quotations; some have a specific focus. Some are indexed by the “author” of the quotation; some by subject. The best way to determine which book will best serve your purpose is to browse through a few of them. The following are some of the basic collections, and can likely be found in your public library:

Columbia Dictionary of Quotations
Columbia University Press, 1993.

Arranged by subject of quotation.

Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
Oxford University Press, 1992.

Arranged alphabetically by “author” of quotation.

Stevenson’s Book of Home Quotations
Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1962.

Arranged by subject of quotation.

Macmillan Dictionary of Quotations
Bloomsbury Publishing, 1989.

Arranged by subject of quotation.

The following sources are focused on specific types of quotations:

Columbia Granger’s Dictionary of Poetry Quotations
Columbia University Press, 1992.

Arranged alphabetically by poet’s name.

Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations
Oxford University Press, 1996.

Arranged alphabetically by “author” of quote.

Occasionally, what you are looking for may not be a quotation, but a proverb. Here are some sources in which proverbs can be looked up:

Oxford Dictionary of American Proverbs

Oxford University Press, 1992.
Arranged alphabetically by key word in proverb.

Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs
Oxford University Press, 1970

Also arranged alphabetically by key word in proverb.

If you wish to simply browse through these titles, they can be found under the Dewey number 001.182 in a public library, and the Library of Congress number PN 6081 in most university libraries. If you wish to look up similar titles in either a card catalog or an on-line library catalog, the official Library of Congress Subject Headings under which they can be found are:

Quotations, English

Internet Sources

There are a great many sites on the World Wide Web devoted to quotations. However, it must be noted that many of these are merely personal collections, and may not be accurate. Here are some of the most reputable and most useful of these:

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 1919 Edition
Bartlett’s is one of the best-known sources for quotations. The web-based version, from, is searchable by key word; it is also indexed alphabetically by author.

Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations, 1988 Edition
Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations is a useful source for notable quotes from 1950-1988. Like Bartlett’s, this web-based version comes from the site and is searchable by keyword. It also includes a browsable author index and a subject index.

The Quotations Page
This is also searchable by key word; in addition, it features a page about the site, an index of frequently asked questions (FAQs), and a link by which one can provide feedback.

Quotations Center
Another thorough, well-researched site; this is organized by subject, and alphabetically by author within each subject. The creators of the site specifically ask for feedback and corrections.

A good site to check if you’re looking for a humorous quote or a quote relevant to a particular speech topic, as it collects mainly modern quotes. It is searchable by keyword, and browsable by author and topic.

If you wish to browse through a number of quotations sites, you can find a sizeable list of them at
Yahoo’s Quotations Index

If you wish to search for quotation sites on your own, it is best to use a search engine which allows you to exclude certain words from your search, such as HotBot ( Search on either “quotes” or “quotations”, and exclude the words “stocks”, “insurance”, and “business”; this will prevent you from coming up with sites about stock and insurance prices.

Want to check and see if your quote might really be a proverb? Famous Quotations Network at is a searchable, online database of common proverbs by category, author, alphabetic, and by country!

This pathfinder created by Deb DeGeorge. Updated by Sena Roth.