Famous 19th Century Non-Fiction Writers

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 1 Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin
4
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: February 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Mount House, Shrewsbury, England
Died: April 19, 1882

Widely regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the history of mankind, Charles Darwin was an English biologist, naturalist, and geologist. He is credited with publishing the Theory of Evolution, which explains the evolution of life from a unicellular organism to human beings. A prolific writer, Charles Darwin also wrote important books on plants and barnacles.

 2 Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
4
Famous As: American orator
Birthdate: February 1, 1818
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Talbot County, Maryland, U.S
Died: February 20, 1895

Social reformer and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass was a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York. Born into slavery, he had a difficult early life. Eventually, he managed to escape and dedicated the rest of his life to promoting the cause of abolition. He was a great orator and writer.

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 3 W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activists
Birthdate: February 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 27, 1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist. Du Bois played an instrumental role in fighting for full civil rights for people of color around the world. A co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Du Bois also played an important role as the leader of the Niagara Movement.

 4 Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau
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Famous As: Writer and Philosopher
Birthdate: July 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Concord, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 6, 1862

Henry David Thoreau was an American philosopher, essayist, poet, and naturalist. He is credited with popularizing transcendentalism and simple living. His philosophy of civil disobedience, which was detailed in his essay of the same name, later influenced world-renowned personalities like Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi.

 5 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Famous As: American Lecturer, Philosopher, Essayist & Poet
Birthdate: May 25, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 27, 1882

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American philosopher who led the transcendentalist movement that developed in the eastern United States in the 1820s and 1830s. He is credited with popularizing individualism through his numerous lectures and essays. Emerson influenced many thinkers and writers that followed him; he mentored Henry David Thoreau, who went on to become a leading transcendentalist.

 6 John Maynard Keynes

John Maynard Keynes
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: June 5, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cambridge ,England
Died: April 21, 1946

John Maynard Keynes was an English economist. His ideas are credited with changing the theory and practice of the economic policies and macroeconomics of governments at a fundamental level. Counted among the 20th century's most influential economists, Keynes' ideas are the basis for Keynesian economics. In 1999, he was named in Time magazine's Most Important People of the Century list.

 7 Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson
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Famous As: Novelist, Poet
Birthdate: November 13, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: December 3, 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish travel writer, poet, and novelist. A popular writer in his lifetime, Stevenson went about traveling widely and writing prolifically even as he suffered from bronchial trouble; his will power and love for writing won the hearts of many other writers. In 2018, he was ranked as the world's 26th-most-translated author.

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 8 John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill
4
Famous As: British Philosopher and Civil Servant.
Birthdate: May 20, 1806
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pentonville, London, England
Died: May 8, 1873
Nineteenth-century philosopher John Stuart Mill is best remembered for his work On Liberty, which spoke of personal freedom and "the harm principle.” His The Subjection of Women was one of the first works written by a male author that promoted women's rights. He supported Jeremy Bentham's ethical utilitarianism.

 9 Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 7, 1812
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Landport, Hampshire, England
Died: June 9, 1870

Widely considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens was an English writer famous for creating world-renowned fictional characters. Regarded by critics and scholars as a literary genius, most of his short stories and novels are read around the world even today. His distinctive style of writing is referred to as Dickensian.

 10 Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 15, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Röcken, Lützen, Germany
Died: August 25, 1900

German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, and poet Friedrich Nietzsche has had a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He held the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel. His work spanned philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction. He suffered from numerous health problems from a young age and died at the age of 55.

 11 Mary Seacole

Mary Seacole
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Famous As: Heroine of the Crimean War
Birthdate: November 23, 1805
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Died: May 14, 1881

Mary Seacole was a British-Jamaican nurse, businesswoman, and healer. She played a major role during the Crimean War, providing aid for wounded servicemen and nursing them back to health. In 1991, Seacole was posthumously honored with the Jamaican Order of Merit. In 2004, she was named the greatest black Briton for her contribution during the war.

 12 H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bromley, Kent, England
Died: August 13, 1946

H. G. Wells was an English writer. Although he was prolific in many genres, he is best remembered for his work on sci-fi novels, for which he is often referred to as the father of science fiction. His 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon became so influential that a lunar impact crater is named after him.

 13 Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 29, 1810
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chelsea
Died: November 12, 1865

 14 John Ruskin

John Ruskin
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Famous As: Art Critic and Painter
Birthdate: February 8, 1819
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England
Died: January 20, 1900

The leading English art critic of the Victorian era, John Ruskin was a hugely influential figure in the latter half of the 19th century. Also a philosopher and prominent social thinker, he wrote on varied subjects like geology, architecture, education, botany, myth, ornithology, literature, and political economy. He founded the charitable trust Guild of St George.

 15 William Morris

William Morris
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Famous As: Textile Designer, Poet
Birthdate: March 24, 1834
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walthamstow, England
Died: October 3, 1896

William Morris was a British poet, novelist, textile designer, translator, and socialist activist. He played a major role in reviving the traditional British textile arts and the various methods of production. As a novelist and poet, Morris helped establish the fantasy genre, which is prevalent today. He is counted among the most important cultural figures of the Victorian era.

 16 John Reed

John Reed
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Famous As: Journalist, Poet
Birthdate: October 22, 1887
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
Died: October 17, 1920

 17 Gertrude Bell

Gertrude Bell
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Famous As: Writer, Diplomat
Birthdate: July 14, 1868
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Washington, United Kingdom
Died: July 12, 1926

 18 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
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Famous As: Independence Activist, Reformer
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bhagur
Died: February 26, 1966

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.

 19 Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill
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Famous As: Writer of personal-success literature
Birthdate: October 26, 1883
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pound, Virginia
Died: November 8, 1970

 20 Robert Stroud

Robert Stroud
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 8, 1890
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, USA
Died: November 21, 1963

 21 Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
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Famous As: Founder of Aligarh Muslim University
Birthdate: October 17, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: March 27, 1898
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University. He is accredited as the father of Two-Nation Theory and is regarded as the originator of Muslim nationalism in India. A proponent of freedom of speech and democratic ideals, he propelled social and educational reforms.

 22 Stamford Raffles

Stamford Raffles
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Famous As: Former Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies
Birthdate: July 6, 1781
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Port Morant, Jamaica
Died: July 5, 1826

Stamford Raffles was a British statesman who served as the Lieutenant-Governor of the Dutch East Indies from 1811 to 1816. From 1818 to 1824, he served as the Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen. Raffles is best remembered for founding the Straits Settlements and modern Singapore. He also played a major role in the invasion of Java in 1811 during the Napoleonic Wars.

 23 Marcelo H. del Pilar

Marcelo H. del Pilar
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 30, 1850
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bulakan, Bulacan, Captaincy General of the Philippines
Died: July 4, 1896

Marcelo H. del Pilar was a Filipino lawyer, writer, freemason, and journalist. Along with Graciano López Jaena and José Rizal, Del Pilar became known in Spain as the leaders of the Reform Movement. He is considered the Father of Philippine Journalism for his 66 editorials and 150 essays. He is also regarded as the Father of Philippine Masonry.

 24 Will Durant

Will Durant
3
Famous As: Writer, Historian, Philosopher
Birthdate: November 5, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: North Adams, Massachusetts
Died: November 7, 1981

Will Durant was an American writer, philosopher, and historian. He is credited with writing The Story of Philosophy which helped popularize philosophy in the USA. Will is also remembered for co-writing an 11-volume set of books titled The Story of Civilization along with his wife Ariel. Will and Ariel were awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 25 James Glaisher

James Glaisher
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Famous As: Meteorologists
Birthdate: April 7, 1809
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rotherhithe, London, England
Died: February 7, 1903

Renowned meteorologist and aeronaut James Glaisher was a pioneer of balloon flights and had penned the iconic book Travels in the Air. He had also contributed to the formation of the Meteorological Society and the Aeronautical Society of Britain. The 2019 movie The Aeronauts depicts his exploits as a balloonist.

 26 Aldo Leopold

Aldo Leopold
3
Birthdate: January 11, 1887
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Burlington
Died: April 21, 1948

 27 Alfred Douglas

Alfred Douglas
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 22, 1870
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Powick, Worcestershire, England
Died: March 20, 1945

 28 Lewis Wallace

Lewis Wallace
3
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: April 10, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brookville, Indiana, United States
Died: February 15, 1905

 29 Vyvyan Holland

Vyvyan Holland
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 10, 1967

 30 David Unaipon

David Unaipon
3
Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: September 28, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: South Australia
Died: February 7, 1967

David Unaipon was an Aboriginal Australian preacher, author, and inventor. He is best remembered for his significant contribution to Australian society, which helped break several stereotypes about Aboriginal Australians. Apart from establishing a couple of awards in his honor, the Australian government has also featured Unaipon on the Australian fifty-dollar note.

 31 Gordon Allport

Gordon Allport
3
Famous As: Psychologist, Academic, University teacher, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: November 11, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montezuma
Died: October 9, 1967

 32 Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor
3
Famous As: Missionary
Birthdate: May 21, 1832
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Barnsley, Yorkshire, England
Died: June 3, 1905

Hudson Taylor was one of the most popular Christian missionaries in China. His 51-year stint in China witnessed him baptizing over 50,000 people. Apart from converting people, he also mingled with the Chinese at a personal level, adopting their clothing habits, contrary to what other missionaries practiced.

 33 John Wyndham

John Wyndham
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Famous As: Fiction Writer
Birthdate: July 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dorridge, United Kingdom
Died: March 11, 1969

John Wyndham was an English writer best remembered for writing science fiction stories set in post-apocalyptic landscapes, such as The Day of the Triffids. His books have inspired other works of art like movies and radio. John Wyndham’s 1957 science fiction novel The Midwich Cuckoos was filmed twice under the title Village of the Damned.

 34 Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll
3
Famous As: Horticulturist, Painter, Gardener, Non-fiction writer, Botanist, Architect
Birthdate: November 29, 1843
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: December 8, 1932

 35 Luther Burbank

Luther Burbank
3
Famous As: Horticulturist, Geneticist, Botanist, Gardener, Academic, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: March 7, 1849
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Santa Rosa
Died: April 11, 1926

Luther Burbank was an American horticulturist and botanist. A pioneer in agricultural science, Luther Burbank developed over 800 varieties of plants and strains in an illustrious career that spanned 55 years. He is also credited with developing a spineless cactus that served as cattle feed. In 1986, Luther Burbank was made an inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

 36 Ernest Thompson Seton

Ernest Thompson Seton
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 14, 1860
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: South Shields, United Kingdom
Died: October 23, 1946

 37 Isabella Beeton

Isabella Beeton
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 12, 1836
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London
Died: February 6, 1865

 38 Tanizaki Jun'ichirō

Tanizaki Jun'ichirō
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 24, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: July 30, 1965

Tanizaki Jun'ichirō was a Japanese author whose works made him a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964. Widely regarded as one of the most important personalities in modern Japanese literature, Tanizaki's work ranges from the depictions of erotic obsessions to the dynamics of family life in 20th-century Japan. Many of his works have been adapted into films.

 39 Alexander Berkman

Alexander Berkman
3
Famous As: Editor
Birthdate: November 21, 1870
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vilnius
Died: June 28, 1936

Alexander Berkman was a Russian-American anarchist and author. He was famous for both his political activism and his writing and was a leading member of the anarchist movement in the early 20th century. He served as the editor of fellow anarchist Emma Goldman's anarchist journal, Mother Earth. He suffered from ill-health in his later years and died by suicide. 

 40 Paul Langevin

Paul Langevin
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Famous As: Physicist, Professor, Chemist, Philosopher of science, Educationist, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: January 23, 1872
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris
Died: December 19, 1946

Best known for developing the Langevin dynamics and the Langevin equation, physicist Paul Langevin was also a staunch Communist. Having worked on his doctoral thesis under Pierre Curie, he had formed a connection with Curie’s wife, Marie Curie, which developed into a full-blown love affair after Pierre’s death.

 41 Henry Ossian Flipper

Henry Ossian Flipper
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: March 21, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thomasville, Georgia, United States
Died: April 26, 1940

 42 Jean-Baptiste Say

Jean-Baptiste Say
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: January 5, 1767
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: November 15, 1832

French economist Jean-Baptiste Say supported free trade and competition. Scholars of economics know him for his law of markets, which states that supply creates its own demand. He had experimented with many jobs, from being a journalist to owning a cotton mill, and eventually became an economics professor.

 43 Gilbert N. Lewis

Gilbert N. Lewis
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Famous As: Physical chemist
Birthdate: October 23, 1875
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Weymouth, Massachusetts, United States
Died: March 23, 1946

 44 Karl Haushofer

Karl Haushofer
3
Famous As: Geopolitician, Political scientist, Educationist, Officer, University teacher, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: August 27, 1869
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Munich
Died: March 10, 1946

 45 Leo Tolstoy bibliography

Leo Tolstoy bibliography
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1828 AD
Birthplace: Russia
Died: 1910 AD

Legendary Russian author Leo Tolstoy was one of the greatest novelists of the world. Best known for his realistic fiction and cult novels such as War and Peace and Anna Karenina, he had also penned plays such as The Power of Darkness and was nominated for the Nobel Prize multiple times.

 46 Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut

Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 31, 1823
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: near Stateburg, South Carolina, U.S.
Died: November 22, 1886

 47 Anna Julia Cooper

Anna Julia Cooper
2
Famous As: Author, Educator
Birthdate: August 10, 1858
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Died: February 27, 1964

 48 Alexander Herzen

Alexander Herzen
3
Famous As: Father of Russian socialism
Birthdate: April 6, 1812
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: January 21, 1870

Alexander Herzen was a Russian thinker and writer. Regarded as the father of Russian socialism, Herzen played an influential role in the political set up of the 19th and 20th century. He also influenced personalities like Isaiah Berlin, who regarded Herzen as his hero. Herzen's book My Past and Thoughts is considered one of the best autobiographies in Russian literature.

 49 Ezra Taft Benson

Ezra Taft Benson
3
Famous As: Religious Leader
Birthdate: August 4, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Whitney, Idaho, United States
Died: May 30, 1994

Ezra Taft Benson was the great-grandson of LDS leader Ezra Taft Benson. When his father left for his missionary activities, Benson took on the family's responsibilities by working on their farm. He later became the president of the LDS Church and also won accolades such as the Presidential Citizens Medal.

 50 Ōkawa Shūmei

Ōkawa Shūmei
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 6, 1886
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yamagata, Japan
Died: December 24, 1957