Women Historians

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Throughout history, there have been many women historians who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great female historians such as Anna Comnena, Hannah Arendt, Lisa Jardine, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Gertrude Himmelfarb.The women historians featured in this list are from United States, United Kingdom, Canada & Australia and many more countries.
Vote for Your Favourite Women Historians
 1 
Lucy Worsley
(British Historian Best Known as a Presenter of BBC Television Series on Historical Topics)
Lucy Worsley
6
Birthdate: December 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England

British historian and author Lucy Worsley is not just a curator at the charity Historic Royal Palaces, but is also a famed TV presenter, popular for her work on series such as A Very British Murder and If Walls Could Talk. Suffering from a speech disorder, she pronounces “r” in a peculiar way.

 2 
Sarah Vowell
(Author of Seven Nonfiction Books on American History and Culture)
Sarah Vowell
7
Birthdate: December 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Muskogee, Oklahoma, United States

Bestselling author and essayist Sarah Vowell is known for her expertise in American history and her books such as Assassination Vacation and Unfamiliar Fishes. She is also a regular on the radio program This American Life and has voiced Violet in the animated film The Incredibles.

 3 
Suzannah Lipscomb
5
Birthdate: December 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barnes, London, United Kingdom

Apart from being a historian and an award-winning professor, Suzannah Lipscomb is also a popular author and broadcaster. Known for presenting documentary series such as Walking Tudor England and Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder, she also pens columns for History Today and other publications and is a public speaker, too.

 4 
Romila Thapar
(Historian known for Authoring books about Indian history)
Romila Thapar
17
Birthdate: November 30, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Renowned history scholar and JNU professor Romila Thapar has also taught at Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania. She has previously been in the news for rejecting the Padma Bhushan twice, stating she didn’t accept state awards. She has also often opposed Hindutva and the “saffronization” of education.

 5 
Lola Van Wagenen
(Historian and Co-Founder of ‘Consumer Action Now’)
Lola Van Wagenen
9
Birthdate: 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Provo, Utah, United States

Lola Van Wagenen is an American historian who is credited with co-founding non-profit educational organizations like Consumer Action Now (CAN) and Clio Visualizing History, Inc. Consumer Action Now went on to establish several environmental education and consumer-oriented programs in an attempt to raise awareness about the effects of consumers' buying habits on the environment.

 6 
Bettany Hughes
(Historian)
Bettany Hughes
6
Birthdate: 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

The daughter of English actor Peter Hughes, art historian Bettany Hughes is also a popular TV personality and an author. Best known for presenting and writing documentaries and shows such as Ancient Discoveries and The Spartans, she also supports The Iris Project, which promotes Latin and Greek languages.

 7 
Doris Kearns Goodwin
(Historian, Writer known for her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II)
Doris Kearns Goodwin
13
Birthdate: January 4, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, United States

Doris Kearns Goodwin is an American historian, biographer, and former sports journalist. She is best known for writing presidential biographies, including Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga. In 1995, she won the Pulitzer Prize for History for her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

 8 
Anne Applebaum
(Polish-American Journalist and Historian Known for Writing on Former Soviet Union and Its Satellite Countries)
Anne Applebaum
7
Birthdate: July 25, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Anne Applebaum is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gulag, which described the Soviet concentration camps. The American historian and journalist has worked for The Economist and The Spectator and now writes for The Atlantic. The mother of two now lives in Poland with her politician husband, Radek Sikorski.

 9 
Gertrude Himmelfarb
3
Birthdate: August 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: December 30, 2019
 10 
Barbara W. Tuchman
(American Historian and Author)
Barbara W. Tuchman
5
Birthdate: January 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 1989

Barbara Tuchman was an American author and historian whose best-selling book The Guns of August (1962) earned her the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Tuchman won her second Pulitzer Prize for writing a biography of General Joseph Stilwell titled Stilwell and the American Experience in China (1971).

 11 
Emma Donoghue
(Novelist)
Emma Donoghue
4
Birthdate: October 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Alex Awards winning Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter Emma Donoghue is best known for authoring award winning novels like Room and Hood. Room, an international best-seller, was adapted into a film bearing same title that not only emerged as a critical and commercial success but also garnered four Oscar nominations at the 88th Academy Awards.

 12 
Germaine de Staël
(Philosopher)
Germaine de Staël
5
Birthdate: April 22, 1766
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 14, 1817

Germaine de Staël was a French political theorist and woman of letters. She is best remembered for her collaboration with the popular  Swiss-French political thinker Benjamin Constant. Germaine, who was way ahead of her time, is widely regarded as a precursor of feminism.

 13 
Jill Lepore
(Historian)
Jill Lepore
4
Birthdate: August 27, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Boylston, Massachusetts, United States

Jill Lepore is an American journalist and historian who is currently teaching American History at Harvard University. She has also been an important contributor to The New Yorker, writing about American history, literature, law, and politics since 2005. Over the years her work has earned her prestigious awards, such as the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award and American History Book Prize.

 14 
Anna Comnena
(Greek Princess & Scholar)
Anna Comnena
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1083
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Porphyra Chamber, Great Palace of Constantinople, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Died: 1153 AD
Daughter of Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus, Anna Komnene is best remembered for writing Alexiad, a genuine treatise of the life and times of her father. She had written the book while imprisoned at the Kecharitomene Monastery, after a failed attempt to depose her brother, John II Komnenos.
 15 
Emma Georgina Rothschild
(Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Economist)
Emma Georgina Rothschild
5
Birthdate: May 16, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

Apart from being one of the heiresses of the affluent Rothschild banking family, Emma Georgina Rothschild is also a famous economic historian, a Harvard professor, and a former United Nations Foundation board member. She has also worked at MIT and Cambridge and is married to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen.

 16 
Ban Zhao
(Chinese Historian, Philosopher, and Politician)
Ban Zhao
3
Birthdate: 0049 AD
Birthplace: Shaanxi, China
Died: 0120 AD

Ban Zhao was a Chinese historian, politician, and philosopher. Remembered for her immense contribution to the Book of Han, Ban Zhao was the first known female historian in the history of China. Widely regarded as China's most popular female scholar, Ban Zhao also had an interest in mathematics and astronomy. She also gained political influence by teaching Empress Deng Sui.

 17 
Aviva Chomsky
(Historian, University teacher)
Aviva Chomsky
6
Birthdate: April 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Boston

Born to linguists Noam and Carol Chomsky, Aviva Chomsky is equipped with degrees in Spanish and Portuguese and is an expert in labor and social movements. The author of books such as Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal, she teaches history and co-ordinates Latin American Studies at the Salem State University.

 18 
Heather Cox Richardson
4
Birthdate: 1962 AD
Birthplace: Maine, U.S.

Heather Cox Richardson is an American professor and historian who is currently teaching history at Boston College. She has also taught history at prestigious institutions like the University of Massachusetts Amherst and MIT. Richardson has written many books on politics and history and is credited with founding werehistory.org, which houses short articles.

 19 
Gitta Sereny
(Biographer and Investigative Journalist Known for Her Interviews and Profiles of Infamous Figures, Including 'Mary Bell')
Gitta Sereny
3
Birthdate: March 13, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: June 14, 2012

Known for her persistent researches on some of history’s most reviled characters, Gitta Sereny was an investigative journalist and author of five biographical works that attempted to make sense of their crimes. Notable among her works are Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth and The Case of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered.  

 20 
Zinovia Dushkova
4
Birthdate: July 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kongaz, Moldova

Zinovia Dushkova is a Russian poet, historian, philosopher, and author. A prominent writer, Dushkova's works have been translated into seven languages. In 2015, she was honored with the 20 Years of Gagauzia Medal. In 2017, Zinovia Dushkova’s book, The Call of the Heart, was honored at the Nautilus Book Awards with a silver medal in the United States of America.

 21 
Margaret MacMillan
(Historian and professor at the University of Oxford)
Margaret MacMillan
3
Birthdate: December 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Canadian historian and Oxford professor Margaret MacMillan is the great-granddaughter of former British prime minister David Lloyd George. Best known for her works such as Peacemakers and Women of the Raj, she is also a Royal Society of Literature fellow and has earned several honorary degrees.

 22 
Elaine Pagels
(American Historian of Religion Known for Her Extensive Research into Early Christianity and Gnosticism)
Elaine Pagels
3
Birthdate: February 13, 1943
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California, United States

Elaine Pagels is an American historian who serves as a professor at Princeton University. Pagels, who is credited with conducting extensive research into Gnosticism and early Christianity, came up with the influential book The Gnostic Gospels. The book has been named among the 100 best books of the 20th century by Modern Library.

 23 
Sylvana Tomaselli
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
 24 
Drew Gilpin Faust
(Historian, University teacher)
Drew Gilpin Faust
4
Birthdate: September 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City

American historian Drew Gilpin Faust made headlines when she became the first woman President of Harvard University. She was also the first Harvard president since the 17th century who didn’t have a degree from Harvard. She has also penned books such as Southern Stories and Mothers of Invention.

 25 
Ayesha Jalal
(Historian who serves as the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University)
Ayesha Jalal
3
Birthdate: 1956 AD
Birthplace: Lahore, Pakistan

Ayesha Jalal is a Pakistani-American historian. She currently serves as the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University. Born in Pakistan, she moved abroad as a young girl and received her doctorate in history from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge before beginning her career as an academic. She received the 1998 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.  

 26 
Alison Weir
(historian, biographer)
Alison Weir
4
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: Lambeth
 27 
Rose Valland
(Historian)
Rose Valland
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs, Isère, France
Died: September 18, 1980

Rose Valland was a French art historian and a captain in the French military. She secretly recorded the details of the Nazis destroying and plundering French art and helped to save thousands of works of art by working with the French Resistance. After the war, she began a relationship with Joyce Helen Heer and shared a home with her. 

 28 
Margaret Forster
(British Writer Novelist, Literary Critics, Biographer and Historian Best Known for the 1965 Novel 'Georgy Girl')
Margaret Forster
3
Birthdate: May 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Carlisle, England
Died: February 8, 2016

English author and freelance critic Margaret Forster is best remembered for her bestselling novel Georgy Girl, which was made into a film later. She also penned biographies and contributed to BBC Radio 4 programs. She had also been a Booker Prize judge but mostly remained away from book-signing events.

 29 
Joan Wallach Scott
(Historian, University teacher)
Joan Wallach Scott
3
Birthdate: December 18, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City

American historian Joan Wallach Scott is best known for his work on French history and feminist theory. Initially an academic at institutes such as Northwestern University and Brown University, she later became the second female professor at the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton University. Her works include Sex and Secularism.

 30 
Fred Vargas
(French Historian, Archaeologist and Novelist Known for Her Work on the 'Black Death')
Fred Vargas
3
Birthdate: June 7, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Fred Vargas is a French archaeologist, historian, and novelist. She is best known for her work on the bubonic plague, the Black Death. In 2009, she became the first author to win three International Dagger Awards for three consecutive novels, having won the award in 2006 and 2008. In 2018, she was honored with the prestigious Princess of Asturias Prize.

 31 
Lisa Jardine
(Historian, Professor, Non-fiction writer)
Lisa Jardine
3
Birthdate: April 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oxford
Died: October 25, 2015
 32 
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.   

 33 
Marie d'Agoult
(French author)
Marie d'Agoult
3
Birthdate: December 31, 1805
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Died: March 5, 1876
 34 
Stacy Schiff
(Historian, Author, Journalist, Writer, Biographer)
Stacy Schiff
3
Birthdate: October 26, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Massachusetts
 35 
Élisabeth Badinter
(Philosopher)
Élisabeth Badinter
3
Birthdate: March 5, 1945
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

An ardent advocate of liberal feminism and also of the rights of women migrant workers, Élisabeth Badinter is an eminent French philosopher. Also a prolific author, she has published several works including L'Amour en plus ear, L'un est l'autre and La fausse route, raising contentious questions through them. Also a staunch supporter of French secularism, she supported Islamic scarf ban  

 36 
Theda Skocpol
(Historian, Political scientist, Sociology, University teacher)
Theda Skocpol
3
Birthdate: May 4, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Detroit
 37 
Ariel Durant
(Researcher)
Ariel Durant
3
Birthdate: May 10, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine
Died: October 25, 1981
Julia Dent Cantacuzene Spiransky-Grant
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1876
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: The White House, Washington, D.C., United States
Died: October 4, 1975
 39 
Jean Ritchie
(Historian, Singer, Musicologist, Musician, Singer-songwriter)
Jean Ritchie
3
Birthdate: December 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Viper
Died: June 1, 2015
 40 
Anita Brookner
3
Birthdate: July 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 10, 2016
 41 
Frances Yates
(Historian)
Frances Yates
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1899
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Southsea, Hampshire, England
Died: September 29, 1981
 42 
Lyudmila Alexeyeva
(Historian, Human rights activist)
Lyudmila Alexeyeva
3
Birthdate: July 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yevpatoriya
Died: December 8, 2018

Lyudmila Alexeyeva was a Russian human-rights activist and historian. She is credited with co-founding the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group, which is currently one of the most prominent human rights organizations in Russia. She was also one of the most important members of the Soviet dissident movement in post-Soviet Russia. Alexeyeva received many prizes and awards for her human rights activities.

 43 
Mildred Harnack
(Literary historian)
Mildred Harnack
3
Birthdate: September 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 16, 1943
 44 
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
(Historian of the modern age, Historian, University teacher, Writer)
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
3
Birthdate: July 11, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Idaho
 45 
Seyla Benhabib
(Philosopher, Writer)
Seyla Benhabib
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
 46 
Gerda Lerner
(Historian)
Gerda Lerner
3
Birthdate: April 30, 1920
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: January 2, 2013
 47 
Linda Nochlin
(Art historian)
Linda Nochlin
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: October 29, 2017
 48 
Mary Frances Berry
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
 49 
Rosalind E. Krauss
(Art Critic)
Rosalind E. Krauss
3
Birthdate: November 30, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 50 
Lesley Blanch
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1904
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 6, 2007