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
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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 
Carl Sandburg
(Writer & Editor)
Carl Sandburg
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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.

 3 
Ruth Benedict
(Anthropologist, Folklorist, University teacher, Poet, Sociologist, Biographer)
Ruth Benedict
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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.

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Charles Francis Adams Sr.
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Birthdate: August 18, 1807
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: November 21, 1886

Charles Francis Adams Sr. was an American writer, historical editor, diplomat, and politician. He played a key role during the American Civil War, serving as the US Minister to the UK under Abraham Lincoln; he used his diplomacy to not recognize the Confederacy and keep the British government neutral. He is credited with building Adams National Historical Park.

 5 
Karl Pearson
(Mathematician, Historian of mathematics, Statistician, Historian, Philosopher, Biographer)
Karl Pearson
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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.

 6 
Kathleen O'Meara
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Birthdate: 1839 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 10, 1888
 7 
E.F. Benson
(British Writer and Archaeologist Best Known for His Collection of Novels 'Mapp and Lucia')
E.F. Benson
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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.

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 8 
Leslie Stephen
(British Author, Critic, Historian, Biographer, and Mountaineer)
Leslie Stephen
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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.

 9 
James Truslow Adams
(Historian of the modern age, Historian, Biographer)
James Truslow Adams
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Birthdate: October 18, 1878
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: May 18, 1949
 10 
Jeanne Modigliani
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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.   

 11 
Maud Gonne
(English-born Irish Republican Revolutionary, Suffragette & Actress)
Maud Gonne
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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.

 12 
Leon Leonwood Bean
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Birthdate: October 13, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Greenwood, Maine, United States
Died: February 5, 1967
 13 
James Farley
(Politician)
James Farley
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Birthdate: May 30, 1888
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Grassy Point, New York, United States
Died: June 9, 1976
 14 
Ethel Smyth
(The First Female Composer to be Granted a Damehood.)
Ethel Smyth
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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.

 15 
Georgios Grivas
(Cypriot leader)
Georgios Grivas
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Birthdate: June 6, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Trikomo, Cyprus
Died: January 27, 1974
 16 
Anna Dostoevskaya
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Birthdate: September 12, 1846
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: June 9, 1918
 17 
Louis Untermeyer
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Birthdate: October 1, 1885
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: December 18, 1977
 18 
Richard Aldington
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Birthdate: July 8, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hampshire, England
Died: July 27, 1962

Associated with early Imagist movement, Richard Aldington was an English writer and poet, known for his fierce attack on the hypocrisy prevalent in the modern industrial civilization. Among his best known novels are Death of a Hero and The Colonel’s Daughter. His best-known long poems are Dream in the Luxembourg and A Fool i’ the Forest.

 19 
William Allen White
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Birthdate: February 10, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Emporia, Kansas, United States
Died: January 29, 1944
 20 
John George Nicolay
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Birthdate: February 26, 1832
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Essingen, Rhineland-Palatinate
Died: September 26, 1901
 21 
Regine Olsen
(Writer)
Regine Olsen
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Birthdate: January 23, 1822
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: March 18, 1904
 22 
Edmund Gosse
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Birthdate: September 21, 1849
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 16, 1928

Edmund Gosse was an English author, poet, and critic. His book Father and Son inspired the popular TV play Where Adam Stood as well as Peter Carey's novel Oscar and Lucinda. Gosse also helped promote the works of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in England. He is also credited with helping James Joyce and W. B. Yeats establish themselves as writers.

 23 
Léon Werth
(Writer)
Léon Werth
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Birthdate: February 17, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Remiremont, France
Died: December 13, 1955
 24 
Douglas Southall Freeman
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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
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Birthdate: November 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, British India (now Bangladesh)
Died: August 1, 1999
 26 
Teresa, Contessa Guiccioli
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Birthdate: 1800 AD
Birthplace: Ravenna, Italy
Died: March 27, 1873
 27 
Clarence Day
(Author)
Clarence Day
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Birthdate: November 18, 1874
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: December 28, 1935
 28 
Cornelia Otis Skinner
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Birthdate: May 30, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: July 9, 1979
 29 
James Anthony Froude
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Birthdate: April 23, 1818
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dartington, 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.

 30 
Emily Ruete
(Writer, Princess)
Emily Ruete
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Birthdate: August 30, 1844
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Zanzibar, Tanzania
Died: February 29, 1924
 31 
Mason Locke Weems
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Birthdate: October 11, 1759
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States
Died: May 23, 1825
 32 
Edward John Trelawny
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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.

 33 
Padraic Colum
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Birthdate: December 8, 1881
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Longford, Ireland
Died: January 11, 1972
 34 
Francis H. Underwood
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Birthdate: January 12, 1825
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Enfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 7, 1894
 35 
Mary Anne Clarke
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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.

Clifford Whittingham Beers
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Birthdate: March 30, 1876
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: July 9, 1943
 37 
Paul Cottin
(Writer)
Paul Cottin
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Birthdate: June 5, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boussy-Saint-Antoine, France
Died: February 22, 1932
 38 
Mari Sandoz
(Novelist)
Mari Sandoz
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Birthdate: May 11, 1896
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hay Springs, Nebraska, United States
Died: March 10, 1966
 39 
Alice Stone Blackwell
(Journalist, Poet, Biographer, Feminist)
Alice Stone Blackwell
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Birthdate: September 14, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Jersey
Died: March 15, 1950
 40 
Emil Ludwig
(Writer)
Emil Ludwig
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Birthdate: January 25, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Poland
Died: September 17, 1948

Though he initially studied law, German-Swiss author Emil Ludwig later devoted himself to writing biographies, mostly of historical personalities, such as Cleopatra, Hitler, and Napoleon. He had also been a journalist in Germany. He later theorized that Hitler may have survived by having someone else killed in his place.

 41 
Thomas Jefferson Hogg
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Birthdate: May 24, 1792
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norton, England
Died: August 27, 1862

Thomas Jefferson Hogg was a British writer and barrister. He is remembered for his friendship and numerous collaborations with Percy Bysshe Shelley. While studying at the University College, Oxford, Hogg and Shelley worked on a controversial essay called The Necessity of Atheism which ultimately resulted in their expulsion from Oxford.

 42 
Hartley Coleridge
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Birthdate: September 19, 1796
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kingsdown, 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.

 43 
Johanna Schopenhauer
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Birthdate: July 9, 1766
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gdańsk, Poland
Died: April 17, 1838
 44 
Josephine Shaw Lowell
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Birthdate: December 16, 1843
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 12, 1905

Best remembered for establishing the New York Consumers League, Josephine Shaw Lowell believed that charity shouldn’t just relieve people’s suffering but also help people in overcoming their misery by rehabilitating them. She was also the first female commissioner of the New York Charities Commission and campaigned for women’s rights.

 45 
Tom Taylor
(Dramatist)
Tom Taylor
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Birthdate: October 19, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland, England
Died: July 12, 1880

Tom Taylor was an English biographer, dramatist, critic, and public servant. He also contributed as an editor for the popular British weekly magazine, Punch. His best-known playwright work Our American Cousin has gained historical significance as Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 while watching this particular play.

 46 
Marcel Schwob
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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.

 47 
Franklin Benjamin Sanborn
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Birthdate: December 15, 1831
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, United States
Died: February 24, 1917

A renowned social scientist, journalist, and teacher, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn is remembered for establishing the American Social Science Association. The Harvard alumnus was a prominent abolitionist and was associated with many intellectuals and literary legends in Concord, Massachusetts. As part of the Secret Six, he funded John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry.

 48 
John Forster
(Biographer)
John Forster
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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.

 49 
Mariano Azuela
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Birthdate: January 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lagos de Moreno, Mexico
Died: March 1, 1952

Initially a physician, Mariano Azuela later devoted himself to writing some of the best chronicles of the Mexican Revolution. His Los de abajo, or The Under Dogs, remains his best-known work. He was a founder-member of Mexico’s National College and was awarded the Mexican National Prize for Literature.

 50 
Maurice-Georges Paléologue
(French diplomat and writer)
Maurice-Georges Paléologue
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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.