The following reference databases might be useful for your biographical research (the more world famous the figure, the more useful they will be).
These resources can be accessed through My New School under the “Library” tab, or through the Search Electronic Resources and Databases link on the library’s website. Electronic Resources, otherwise known as Databases, are listed by title and by subject. Note that databases can only be accessed through "My New School" when off campus.
In BobCat, you can find reference books by pulling down the subject menu and typing in a general keyword, along with either the word "encyclopedia" or "dictionary." For instance, if I am interested in doing a portrait of a jazz figure, I would type this phrase into the subject field: encyclopedia and jazz. That would yield the following results