Famous 19th Century Biographers

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 1 
Richard Wagner
(Known for His Operas and Music Dramas ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’ and ‘Tristan und Isolde’)
Richard Wagner
4
Birthdate: May 22, 1813
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: February 13, 1883
German composer and conductor Richard Wagner is best remembered for his operas and music dramas. He explored the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, which combined many forms of art, including the visual, poetic, and musical. He also established the opera house Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which hosted his works The Ring and Parsifal.
 2 
Anne Lister
(English Diarist)
Anne Lister
4
Birthdate: April 3, 1791
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Halifax, West Yorkshire, England
Died: September 22, 1840

Apart from being a traveler and a mountaineer, Anne Lister was also known as the world’s "first modern lesbian". Nicknamed Gentleman Jack for her androgynous fashion, which almost always included the color black, she penned diaries that contained many secret codes that were deciphered much after her death.

 3 
Carl Sandburg
(Writer & Editor)
Carl Sandburg
3
Birthdate: January 6, 1878
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Galesburg, Illinois, United States
Died: July 22, 1967

Carl Sandburg had begun working since age 11 and been employed in various odd jobs, such as a truck driver, a harvester, and a brickyard hand, before being part of the Illinois Infantry. The two-time Pulitzer-winning poet and biographer late also won a Grammy for his recording of Lincoln Portrait.

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 4 
Anna Leonowens
(British Travel Writer, Educator, and Social Activist)
Anna Leonowens
4
Birthdate: November 5, 1834
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ahmednagar, India
Died: January 19, 1915

Indian-born British author Anna Leonowens is best remembered for her memoir The English Governess at the Siamese Court, which related her experience as a governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam. The musical The King and I and the novel Anna and the King of Siam were inspired by her life.

 5 
Ruth Benedict
(Anthropologist, Folklorist, University teacher, Poet, Sociologist, Biographer)
Ruth Benedict
3
Birthdate: June 5, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City
Died: September 17, 1948

Ruth Benedict was an American folklorist and anthropologist. Benedict, who played an important role in the American Folklore Society, also served as the American Anthropological Association's president; the association gives away an annual prize named after Ruth Benedict. In 2005, she was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 6 
Karl Pearson
(Mathematician, Historian of mathematics, Statistician, Historian, Philosopher, Biographer)
Karl Pearson
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: April 27, 1936

One of the greatest statisticians of all time, Karl Pearson established the first university-level statistics department at UCL and also launched the statistics-oriented journal Biometrika. He was also well-versed in law and believed in eugenics. His The Grammar of Science later inspired Albert Einstein and other scientists.

 7 
Kathleen O'Meara
3
Birthdate: 1839 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 10, 1888
 8 
Samuel Smiles
(British Author and Government Reformer)
Samuel Smiles
3
Birthdate: December 23, 1812
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland
Died: April 16, 1904

Though a qualified doctor, Samuel Smiles later never practiced and switched to journalism instead, working for Leeds Times. His best-known work remains Self-Help, a motivational self-improvement guide for the youth, which denounced materialism and advocated thrift. His other significant work was the 5-volume Lives of the Engineers.

 9 
E.F. Benson
(British Writer and Archaeologist Best Known for His Collection of Novels 'Mapp and Lucia')
E.F. Benson
3
Birthdate: July 24, 1867
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wellington College, Berkshire, England
Died: February 29, 1940

Chiefly known as a novelist, biographer, and memoirist, Edward Frederic Benson began his career with the British School of Archaeology in Athens, publishing his first successful novel, Dodo: A Detail of the Day, during this period. Its popularity encouraged him to continue publishing, the most significant works among them being Mapp and Lucia series, and the biography of Queen Victoria.

 10 
James Truslow Adams
(Historian of the modern age, Historian, Biographer)
James Truslow Adams
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1878
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: May 18, 1949
 11 
Leslie Stephen
(British Author, Critic, Historian, Biographer, and Mountaineer)
Leslie Stephen
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kensington Gore, London, England
Died: February 22, 1904

Sir Leslie Stephen was an English historian, biographer, author, critic, and mountaineer. Leslie Stephen also took an active part in the organized humanist movement, serving as the president of the West London Ethical Society on multiple occasions. He was the father of famous author, Virginia Woolf, and painter, Vanessa Bell.

 12 
Jeanne Modigliani
3
Birthdate: November 29, 1918
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: July 27, 1984

Jeanne Modigliani was an Italian-French Jewish art historian. She was the daughter of artists Amedeo Modigliani and Jeanne Hébuterne. She lost both her parents as a small child and was adopted by her aunt. She conducted extensive biographical research on her father years after his death and published the book Modigliani: Man and Myth.   

 13 
Maud Gonne
(English-born Irish Republican Revolutionary, Suffragette & Actress)
Maud Gonne
0
Birthdate: December 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tongham, England
Died: April 27, 1953

Maud Gonne not just co-founded the Sinn Féin party but also participated in the theater movement of W.B Yeats, who made her his muse and proposed to her many times, only to be rejected. An Irish nationalist, she also formed the Daughters of Ireland and acted in Yeats’s first play Cathleen ni Houlihan.

 14 
Leon Leonwood Bean
3
Birthdate: October 13, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Greenwood, Maine, United States
Died: February 5, 1967
 15 
Ethel Smyth
(The First Female Composer to be Granted a Damehood.)
Ethel Smyth
3
Birthdate: April 22, 1858
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sidcup, England
Died: May 8, 1944

Ethel Smyth was an English composer whose compositions include songs, chamber music, works for piano, orchestral works, operas, and choral works. She was the first female composer to be granted a damehood. Ethel Smyth was also involved in the women's suffrage movement and is credited with composing The March of the Women, which became the anthem of the movement.

 16 
James Farley
(Politician)
James Farley
3
Birthdate: May 30, 1888
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Grassy Point, New York, United States
Died: June 9, 1976
 17 
Anna Dostoevskaya
2
Birthdate: September 12, 1846
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: June 9, 1918
 18 
Georgios Grivas
(Cypriot leader)
Georgios Grivas
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Trikomo, Cyprus
Died: January 27, 1974
 19 
William Allen White
3
Birthdate: February 10, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Emporia, Kansas, United States
Died: January 29, 1944
 20 
Louis Untermeyer
2
Birthdate: October 1, 1885
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: December 18, 1977
 21 
Regine Olsen
(Writer)
Regine Olsen
2
Birthdate: January 23, 1822
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: March 18, 1904
 22 
John George Nicolay
2
Birthdate: February 26, 1832
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Essingen, Rhineland-Palatinate
Died: September 26, 1901
 23 
Léon Werth
(Writer)
Léon Werth
2
Birthdate: February 17, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Remiremont, France
Died: December 13, 1955
 24 
Douglas Southall Freeman
2
Birthdate: May 16, 1886
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lynchburg, Virginia, United States
Died: June 13, 1953
 25 
Nirad C. Chaudhuri
(Indian writer)
Nirad C. Chaudhuri
3
Birthdate: November 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, British India (now Bangladesh)
Died: August 1, 1999
 26 
Clarence Day
(Author)
Clarence Day
2
Birthdate: November 18, 1874
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: December 28, 1935
 27 
Teresa, Contessa Guiccioli
2
Birthdate: 1800 AD
Birthplace: Ravenna, Italy
Died: March 27, 1873
 28 
Cornelia Otis Skinner
2
Birthdate: May 30, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: July 9, 1979
 29 
Edward Bok
(American Editor and Author)
Edward Bok
2
Birthdate: October 9, 1863
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Den Helder, Netherlands
Died: January 9, 1930

In spite of being the editor of the Ladies' Home Journal for 3 decades, Dutch-born American editor Edward Bok was strongly anti-women’s rights and believed women’s liberation and education would lead to higher divorce rates. His memoir, The Americanization of Edward Bok, won him a Pulitzer Prize.

 30 
James Anthony Froude
(British Historian, Novelist, Biographer, and Editor of Fraser’s Magazine)
James Anthony Froude
2
Birthdate: April 23, 1818
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dartington Rectory, Devon, England
Died: October 20, 1894

James Anthony Froude was an English novelist, biographer, and historian. He also contributed as an editor for Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country. Froude was often counted among the best-known historians of his time. A controversial personality, Froude's writings were often polemical which earned him many outspoken opponents.

 31 
Emily Ruete
(Writer, Princess)
Emily Ruete
0
Birthdate: August 30, 1844
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Zanzibar, Tanzania
Died: February 29, 1924
 32 
Mason Locke Weems
2
Birthdate: October 11, 1759
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States
Died: May 23, 1825
 33 
Edward John Trelawny
(British Biographer and Novelist Known for His Friendship With the Romantic Poets 'Percy Bysshe Shelley' and 'Lord Byron')
Edward John Trelawny
2
Birthdate: November 13, 1792
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 13, 1881

Edward John Trelawny was a British biographer, novelist and adventurer. He is famous for his friendship with Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Handsome and dashing, he joined the Royal Navy at the age of thirteen, later writing about his experiences in Adventures of a Younger Son. His other well-known work is Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron.

 34 
Mary Anne Clarke
2
Birthdate: April 3, 1776
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 21, 1852

Mary Anne Clarke was Prince Frederick's mistress. Her memoirs, which documented her relationship with Prince Frederick, were published in 1809. Her life and career inspired the famous novel Mary Anne which was written by her great-great granddaughter Daphne du Maurier.

 35 
Padraic Colum
2
Birthdate: December 8, 1881
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Longford, Ireland
Died: January 11, 1972
 36 
Francis H. Underwood
2
Birthdate: January 12, 1825
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Enfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 7, 1894
 37 
Mari Sandoz
(Novelist)
Mari Sandoz
2
Birthdate: May 11, 1896
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hay Springs, Nebraska, United States
Died: March 10, 1966
 38 
Paul Cottin
(Writer)
Paul Cottin
2
Birthdate: June 5, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boussy-Saint-Antoine, France
Died: February 22, 1932
Clifford Whittingham Beers
2
Birthdate: March 30, 1876
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: July 9, 1943
 40 
Alice Stone Blackwell
(Journalist, Poet, Biographer, Feminist)
Alice Stone Blackwell
2
Birthdate: September 14, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Jersey
Died: March 15, 1950
 41 
Hartley Coleridge
(British Poet, Biographer and Essayist Best Known for His Sonnets and for a Lyrical Play Entitled Prometheus)
Hartley Coleridge
2
Birthdate: September 19, 1796
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Clevedon, Somerset, England
Died: January 6, 1849

The eldest son of Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hartley Coleridge grew up spending most of his time reading and was closely associated with poets Robert Southey and William Wordworth. Though he gained a fellowship at Oriel, he later lost it due to his alcoholism and his inconsistency.

 42 
Johanna Schopenhauer
2
Birthdate: July 9, 1766
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gdańsk, Poland
Died: April 17, 1838
 43 
Maurice-Georges Paléologue
(French diplomat and writer)
Maurice-Georges Paléologue
2
Birthdate: January 13, 1859
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 21, 1944

Maurice-Georges Paléologue was a French diplomat and historian. He was also an essayist of great caliber. He played a pivotal role in the French entry into the First World War. At that time, he was the French ambassador to Russia and was in support of the Russian mobilization against Germany. He was also a published author of novels and essays. 

 44 
Marcel Schwob
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1867
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chaville, France
Died: February 26, 1905

French symbolist author Marcel Schwob is best known for his works such as The King In The Gold Mask and Imaginary Lives. His writings exhibit a strong influence of authors such as Edgar Allan Poe. He was also a qualified journalist and had traveled to places such as Asia and Australia.

 45 
John Forster
(Biographer)
John Forster
2
Birthdate: April 2, 1812
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Died: February 2, 1876

John Forster was an English critic and biographer who contributed to prominent publications like The Examiner, The Morning Chronicle, and The True Sun. He also contributed as an editor for the Foreign Quarterly Review and the Examiner. As he was a close friend of Charles Dickens, Forster's life is often covered extensively in the biographies of Charles Dickens.

 46 
Maxwell Fry
(Architect)
Maxwell Fry
2
Birthdate: August 2, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Liscard, England, United Kingdom
Died: September 3, 1987
 47 
Carl Van Doren
2
Birthdate: September 10, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hope, Illinois, United States
Died: July 18, 1950
 48 
W. N. P. Barbellion
2
Birthdate: September 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Barnstaple, England
Died: October 22, 1919
 49 
Amelia Opie
(Novelist and poet)
Amelia Opie
1
Birthdate: November 12, 1769
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Norwich, England
Died: December 2, 1853
 50 
Van Wyck Brooks
1
Birthdate: February 16, 1886
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Plainfield, New Jersey, United States
Died: May 2, 1963