There are many pre-copyright (1922 and earlier) books that have been fully digitized and are available through Google Books. Searching Google Books isn't always easy because of the sheer amount of information that hasn't been really "curated" by humans, unlike in library catalogs. Try these tips for more effective searching.
- Go directly to Advanced Book Search (Google hides this for some reason)
- Limit Publication Date to times around when your person was alive and active, with 1922 as a cutoff date if you want to be assured of full text access
- Limit Content to Books unless you think there could be a primary source in Magazines
- If you're getting too many results, try putting your person in as Author.