Non-Fiction

Famous Biographers 

Walter Graves
Updated August 30, 2019 42.3k views 97 items
A list of famous biographers who have documented the lives of some of the most important people of all time. All types of biographers have been listed including presidential biographers, historic biographers, and those who write non-fiction about Hollywood celebrities. With the introduction of the Nook, Kindle, and iPad with iBooks, reading is hot again. The famous biographers on this list have written accounts of people's lives that are often even better than fiction. This list is intended to help long-time readers, as well as newcomers alike with discovering (and rediscovering) some of the best biographers of all time.
list ordered by
Plutarch is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 75 (45-120)

Works Written: Parallel Lives, L'esilio, Sur les délais de la justice divine dans la punition des coupables, The Fall of the Roman Republic, De fato, + more

Birthplace: Southeast Europe, Greece, Chaeronea

Birthdate: 45

Nationality: Greece, Roman Republic

Plutarch (; Greek: Πλούταρχος, Ploútarkhos, Koine Greek: [ˈplutarkʰos]; c. AD 46 – c. 120), later named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, (Λούκιος Μέστριος ...more
Samuel Johnson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 75 (1709-1784)

Works Written: A Dictionary of the English Language, Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, Irene, a tragedy, + more

Birthplace: Lichfield, United Kingdom

Birthdate: 1709-09-18

Nationality: Kingdom of Great Britain, England

Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709 [OS 7 September] – 13 December 1784), often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, ...more
Thomas Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 86 (1795-1881)

Works Written: On heroes, hero-worship, & the heroic in history, The French revolution, Past and present, + more

Birthplace: Ecclefechan, United Kingdom

Birthdate: 1795-12-04

Biographies written: John Sterling and Frederick the Great Thomas Carlyle (4 December 1795 – 5 February 1881) was a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, translator, historian, mathematician, and teacher. Considered one of the most important ...more
Cornelius Nepos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 76 (99 BC-23 BC)

Works Written: Cornelii Nepotis Vitae excellentium imperatorum : cum versione Anglica, in qua verbum de verbo, quantum fieri potuit, redditur, Leben ausgezeichneter Feldherren, + more

Birthplace: Ancient Rome

Birthdate: 836-06-14

Cornelius Nepos (; c. 110 BC – c. 25 BC) was a Roman biographer. He was born at Hostilia, a village in Cisalpine Gaul not far from Verona.
Martin Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Biographers
Age: 83

Works Written: The Boys, Sir Horace Rumbold; portrait of a diplomat, The Atlas of Jewish History, Auschwitz and the Allies, The Routledge Atlas of Russian History, + more

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

Birthdate: 1936-10-25

Nationality: United Kingdom

Biographies written: Winston Churchill Sir Martin John Gilbert (25 October 1936 – 3 February 2015) was a British historian and honorary Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford. He was the author of eighty-eight books, ...more
Norman Mailer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 84 (1923-2007)

Works Written: The Naked and the Dead, The Executioner's Song, Ancient Evenings, Of a Fire on the Moon, Barbary Shore, + more

Birthplace: Long Branch, New Jersey, United States of America

Birthdate: 1923-01-31

Nationality: United States of America

Biographies written: Marilyn Monroe, Lee Harvey Oswald, Gary Gilmore Norman Kingsley Mailer (January 31, 1923 – November 10, 2007) was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film-maker, actor, and liberal political activist. His novel The Naked ...more
Elizabeth Gaskell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 55 (1810-1865)

Works Written: Cranford, North and South, Mary Barton, A House to Let, Ruth, + more

Birthplace: Chelsea, London, United Kingdom

Birthdate: 1810-09-29

Nationality: England

Biographies written: Charlotte Brontë Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (née Stevenson; 29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865), often referred to as Mrs Gaskell, was an English novelist, biographer, and short story writer. Her novels ...more
Thomas Moore is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 73 (1779-1852)

Works Written: Lalla-Rookh, Poetical works, The poetical works of Thomas Moore, The Epicurean, The life and death of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, + more

Birthplace: Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Birthdate: 1779-05-28

Nationality: Republic of Ireland

Biographies written: Lord Byron, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Lord Edward Fitzgerald Thomas Moore (28 May 1779 – 25 February 1852) was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of "The Minstrel Boy" and "The Last Rose ...more
Leslie Stephen is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 72 (1832-1904)

Works Written: The English Utilitarians, Sir Leslie Stephen's Mausoleum book, Sketches from Cambridge, The life of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, bart., + more

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

Birthdate: 1832-11-28

Nationality: England

Biographies written: Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, Jonathan Swift George Eliot and Thomas Hobbes Sir Leslie Stephen (28 November 1832 – 22 February 1904) was an English author, critic, historian, biographer, and mountaineer, and father of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.
Carl Sandburg is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 89 (1878-1967)

Works Written: Rootabaga Stories, Complete poems, The letters of Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years, Henry Horner, + more

Birthplace: Galesburg, Illinois, United States of America

Birthdate: 1878-01-06

Nationality: United States of America

Biographies written: Abraham Lincoln Carl August Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American poet, biographer, journalist, and editor. He won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his biography of ...more
Kathleen Jones is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Biographers
Age: 97

Works Written: Women saints, A passionate sisterhood, Learning Not to Be First, Social welfare in Malaya, The making of social policy in Britain, + more

Birthdate: 1922

Biographies written: Katherine Mansfield Kathleen Jones (7 April 1922 – 13 October 2010 ) was a professor of social policy and Head of Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, 1965–87 and Emeritus Professor ...more
David McCullough is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Biographers
Age: 86

Works Written: Truman, The Great Bridge, John Adams, 1776, Brave Companions: Portraits in History, + more

Birthplace: Pittsburgh, USA, Pennsylvania

Birthdate: 1933-07-07

Nationality: United States of America

Biographies written: Harry Truman, John Adams, and Theodore Roosevelt David Gaub McCullough (; born July 7, 1933) is an American author, narrator, popular historian, and lecturer. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a ...more
Jenny Uglow is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Biographers
Age: 72

Works Written: Elizabeth Gaskell, Hogarth, The Northeastern Dictionary Of Women's Biography, The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World, Ghost Anthology, + more

Birthdate: 1947-01-01

Nationality: United Kingdom

Biographies written: William Hogarth, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Thomas Bewick Jennifer Sheila Uglow OBE (née Crowther, born 1947) is a British biographer, historian, critic and publisher. She was an editorial director of Chatto & Windus. She has written ...more
James Boswell is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 55 (1740-1795)

Works Written: The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., London Journal, The conversations of Dr. Johnson, The journals of James Boswell, + more

Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Birthdate: 1740-10-29

Nationality: Kingdom of Great Britain

Biographies written: Samuel Johnson James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck (; 29 October 1740 – 19 May 1795), was a Scottish biographer, diarist, and lawyer, born in Edinburgh. He is best known for his biography of his friend and ...more
Merle Miller is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 67 (1919-1986)

Works Written: Plain Speaking, That Winter, On being different, A gay and melancholy sound, The judges and the judged, + more

Birthplace: Montour, Iowa

Birthdate: 1919

Nationality: United States of America

Biographies written: Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson Merle Dale Miller (May 17, 1919 – June 10, 1986) was an American writer, novelist, and author who is perhaps best remembered for his best-selling biography of Harry S. Truman, and as a pioneer ...more
Kitty Kelley is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Biographers
Age: 77

Works Written: The Royals, Jackie Oh!, His Way, Nancy Reagan, Last Star/Audio Cassettes, + more

Birthplace: Spokane, Washington

Birthdate: 1942-04-04

Nationality: United States of America

Biographies written: Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Nancy Reagan Catherine "Kitty" Kelley (born April 4, 1942) is an American journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Rock Hudson, ...more
Jean Edward Smith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Biographers
Age: 87

Works Written: John Marshall: Definer of a Nation, George Bush's war, Grant, The defense of Berlin, Germany beyond the wall, + more

Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

Birthdate: 1931-10-13

Nationality: United States of America

Biographies written: Ulysses S. Grant, John Marshall, and Lucius D. Clay Jean Edward Smith (born October 13, 1932) is a biographer and the John Marshall Professor of Political Science at Marshall University. He is also professor emeritus at the University of Toronto ...more
Jeffrey Morgan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Biographers
Biographies written: Alice Cooper, The Stooges Jeffrey Morgan may refer to: Jeffrey Morgan (writer), Canadian writer Jeffrey Morgan (musician) (born 1954), American jazz musician and composer Jeffrey Dean Morgan (born 1966), American actor ...more
Lytton Strachey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 52 (1880-1932)

Works Written: Elizabeth and Essex, Eminent Victorians, Queen Victoria, The Letters of Lytton Strachey, Books and Characters, + more

Birthplace: Europe, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, England, + more

Birthdate: 1880

Nationality: England

Giles Lytton Strachey (; 1 March 1880 – 21 January 1932) was an English writer and critic. A founding member of the Bloomsbury Group and author of Eminent Victorians, he is best known for ...more
Roger Lewis is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Biographers

Works Written: How to find and adapt materials and select media, Examination English, How to tutor in an open-learning scheme, An overview, Tutoring in open learning, + more

Biographies written: Anthony Burgess
Romain Rolland is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 78 (1866-1944)

Works Written: La Vida de Ramakrishna, Le périple, Pierre et Luce, Clérambault, Péguy, + more

Birthplace: Clamecy, Nièvre, Nevers, France

Birthdate: 1866

Nationality: France

Biographies written: Gandhi, Michelangelo, Beethoven, and Leo Tolstoy Romain Rolland (French: [ʁɔlɑ̃]; 29 January 1866 – 30 December 1944) was a French dramatist, novelist, essayist, art historian and mystic who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915 ...more
Nick Tosches is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Biographers
Age: 70

Works Written: In the Hand of Dante, King of the Jews, Where Dead Voices Gather, The Devil and Sonny Liston, Country, + more

Birthplace: Area code 862, Area code 973, Area codes 862 and 973, Essex County, Contiguous United States, + more

Birthdate: 1949

Nationality: United States of America

Biographies written: Jerry Lee Lewis, Dean Martin, and Sonny Liston Nick Tosches (; born October 23, 1949) is an American journalist, novelist, biographer, and poet. His 1982 biography of Jerry Lee Lewis, Hellfire, was praised by Rolling Stone magazine as ...more
Thomas DiLorenzo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Biographers
Age: 65

Works Written: From Pathology to Politics: Public Health in America, The Real Lincoln, Lincoln Unmasked, How Capitalism Saved America

Birthdate: 1954-08-08

Nationality: Italy, United States of America

Biographies written: Abraham Lincoln Thomas James DiLorenzo (; born August 8, 1954) is an American economics professor at Loyola University Maryland Sellinger School of Business. He identifies as an adherent of the Austrian School ...more
A. N. Wilson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Biographers
Age: 69

Works Written: Dream Children, Stray, Dante in Love, Scandal, Who was Oswald Fish?, + more

Birthplace: England

Birthdate: 1950-10-27

Nationality: United Kingdom

Biographies written: Hilaire Belloc, John Milton, Leo Tolstoy, C. S. Lewis, Jesus Iris Murdoch, Sir Walter Scott, and John Betjeman Andrew Norman Wilson (born 27 October 1950) is an English writer and newspaper columnist known for his critical biographies, novels and works of popular history. He is an occasional columnist ...more
Virginia Spencer Carr is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Biographers
Dec. at 83 (1929-2012)

Works Written: Understanding Carson Mccullers, Paul Bowles, The lonely hunter, Dos Passos

Birthplace: West Palm Beach, Florida

Birthdate: 1929-07-21

Biographies written: Paul Bowles, Carson McCullers, and John Dos Passos Virginia Spencer Carr (July 21, 1929 – April 10, 2012) was a biographer of Carson McCullers, John Dos Passos and Paul Bowles. Carr was also a college professor for more than 25 years at Columbus ...more