Women Historians

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.

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

Vote for Your Favourite Women Historians

 1 Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley
4
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: December 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England, UK

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 Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Engels
5
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 28, 1820
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barmen, Germany
Died: August 4, 1895

Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, political scientist, and revolutionary socialist. Along with Karl Marx, Engels helped develop Marxism, which has had a profound impact on fields like philosophy and anthropology. Engels is credited with helping Marx publish Das Kapital, a foundational theoretical work in politics, economics, and materialist philosophy. He also co-authored influential political documents like The Communist Manifesto.

 3 Romila Thapar

Romila Thapar
13
Famous As: Historian known for Authoring books about Indian history
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.

 4 Sarah Vowell

Sarah Vowell
4
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: December 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA

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.

 5 Lola Van Wagenen

Lola Van Wagenen
4
Famous As: Historians
Birthdate: November 30, 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 Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin
9
Famous As: Historian, Writer known for her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
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.

 7 Suzannah Lipscomb

Suzannah Lipscomb
4
Famous As: historian
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.

You May Like

 8 Virginia Dare

Virginia Dare
4
Famous As: Colonist
Birthdate: August 18, 1587
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Roanoke Island, North Carolina, United States

Virginia Dare was born in a New World English colony and is believed to be the first English child to have taken birth in the colony. Although Virginia's disappearance along with other colonists remains a mystery, she has become a popular figure in American folklore over the last 400 years. She has also been featured as a character in films.

 9 Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: May 31, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine

Nobel Prize-winning Belarusian journalist and oral historian Svetlana Alexievich is known for her signature documentary-style novels, which mingle fiction and reporting. Her five-part Voices of Utopia mirrored the lives of people in the Soviet Union. With her writing, she often criticizes the governments of Belarus and the Soviet Union.

 10 Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair
6
Famous As: Barrister
Birthdate: September 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bury, England

Apart from being the wife of former UK prime minister Tony Blair, Cherie Blair is also a successful attorney in her own right. The daughter of actor Tony Booth, she is has also taught at the University of Westminster. She is associated with charitable campaigns on breast cancer and other causes, too.

 11 Anne Applebaum

Anne Applebaum
7
Famous As: Journalist
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.

 12 Bettany Hughes

Bettany Hughes
4
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: April 30, 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.

 13 Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue
4
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 14 Gertrude Himmelfarb

Gertrude Himmelfarb
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: August 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: December 30, 2019

 15 Barbara Tuchman

Barbara Tuchman
5
Famous As: Historian
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).

 16 Aviva Chomsky

Aviva Chomsky
6
Famous As: Historian, University teacher
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.

 17 Emma Georgina Rothschild

Emma Georgina Rothschild
4
Famous As: Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Economist
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.

 18 Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Known for her biographies of historical personalities, Antonia Fraser is the widow of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. She is also known as Lady Antonia, for being born to an earl. Her book Marie Antoinette: The Journey was made into a film by Sofia Coppola. She has been made a DBE.

 19 Ban Zhao

Ban Zhao
3
Famous As: Historian
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.

 20 Anna Comnena

Anna Comnena
3
Famous As: Greek Princess & Scholar
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.

 21 Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore
4
Famous As: Historian
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.

 22 Germaine de Staël

Germaine de Staël
5
Famous As: Philosopher
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.

 23 Margaret MacMillan

Margaret MacMillan
3
Famous As: Historian and professor at the University of Oxford
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.

 24 Heather Cox Richardson

Heather Cox Richardson
4
Famous As: Historian
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.

 25 Elaine Pagels

Elaine Pagels
3
Famous As: Historian
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.

 26 Gitta Sereny

Gitta Sereny
3
Famous As: Biographer
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.  

 27 Sylvana Tomaselli

Sylvana Tomaselli
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: May 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

 28 Drew Gilpin Faust

Drew Gilpin Faust
4
Famous As: Historian, University teacher
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.

 29 Ayesha Jalal

Ayesha Jalal
3
Famous As: Historian who serves as the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University
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.  

 30 Alison Weir

Alison Weir
4
Famous As: historian, biographer
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: Lambeth

 31 Rose Valland

Rose Valland
3
Famous As: Historian
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. 

 32 Margaret Forster

Margaret Forster
3
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 33 Fred Vargas

Fred Vargas
3
Famous As: Historian, Archaeologist and novelist
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.

 34 Jeanne Modigliani

Jeanne Modigliani
3
Famous As: Historian
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.   

 35 Mildred Harnack

Mildred Harnack
3
Famous As: Literary historian
Birthdate: September 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 16, 1943

 36 Lisa Jardine

Lisa Jardine
3
Famous As: Historian, Professor, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: April 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oxford
Died: October 25, 2015

 37 Stacy Schiff

Stacy Schiff
3
Famous As: Historian, Author, Journalist, Writer, Biographer
Birthdate: October 26, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Massachusetts

 38 Marie d'Agoult

Marie d'Agoult
3
Famous As: French author
Birthdate: December 31, 1805
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Died: March 5, 1876

 39 Zinovia Dushkova

Zinovia Dushkova
4
Famous As: Writer
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.

 40 Élisabeth Badinter

Élisabeth Badinter
3
Famous As: Philosopher
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  

 41 Theda Skocpol

Theda Skocpol
3
Famous As: Historian, Political scientist, Sociology, University teacher
Birthdate: May 4, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Detroit

 42 Joan Wallach Scott

Joan Wallach Scott
3
Famous As: Historian, University teacher
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.

 43 Jean Ritchie

Jean Ritchie
3
Famous As: Historian, Singer, Musicologist, Musician, Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Viper
Died: June 1, 2015

 44 Ariel Durant

Ariel Durant
3
Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: May 10, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine
Died: October 25, 1981

 45 Frances Yates

Frances Yates
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: November 28, 1899
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Southsea, Hampshire, England
Died: September 29, 1981

 46 Anita Brookner

Anita Brookner
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 10, 2016

 47 Hrosvitha

Hrosvitha
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 0935 AD
Birthplace: Saxony, Germany
Died: 1002 AD

Considered the first German female poet and historian Hrosvitha was a Benedictine nun for most of her life. Her writings provided a woman’s perspective of the history of her era. Her works include narrative poems on Christian legends and comedies with Christian themes written in Latin.

 48 Lyudmila Alexeyeva

Lyudmila Alexeyeva
3
Famous As: Historian, Human rights activist
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.

 49 Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
3
Famous As: Historian of the modern age, Historian, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: July 11, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Idaho

 50 Julia Dent Cantacuzene Spiransky-Grant

Julia Dent Cantacuzene Spiransky-Grant
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: June 6, 1876
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: The White House, Washington, D.C., United States
Died: October 4, 1975