This guide is designed for anyone who is looking for quotations or their sources. Both print-based and Web-based sources are included.
Print SourcesThere 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
Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
Stevenson's Book of Home Quotations
Macmillan Dictionary of Quotations
The following sources are focused on specific types of quotations:
Columbia Granger's Dictionary of Poetry Quotations
Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations
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 Dictionary of English Proverbs
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:
Internet SourcesThere 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
Simpson's Contemporary Quotations, 1988 Edition
The Quotations Page
If you wish to browse through a number of quotations sites, you can find a sizeable list of them at
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 (http://www.hotbot.com/). 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 http://www.famous-quotations.com/asp/origins.asp 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.