Famous Female Historians

Listed here are over 50 of the most well-known and established female historians ever. Each woman on this list is a formidable expert in her chosen field and in many cases, has broken barriers in her path to becoming a famous female historian. The scope of the women historians on this list are immense, from experts on 19th century biology to Britain's Royal Families to medieval studies. 

You may recognize some of the famous female academics on this list such as the BBC's Lucy Worsley and Kate Williams, as beloved female historian tv presenters. Some modern historian authors have even gone on to write literature that inspired a television or film adaptation like Hallie Rubenhold, whose book The Covent Garden Ladies: Pimp General Jack and the Extraordinary Story of Harris's List inspired the Hulu show, Harlots.

  • Lucy Worsley
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    Lucy Worsley

    Lucy Worsley OBE is currently the Joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces but is best known for her various BBC historical series including A Very British Murder and American History's Biggest Fibs. She has also published a number of books.

    Lucy Worsley, OBE (born 18 December 1973) is an English historian, author, curator, and television presenter.Worsley is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces but is best known as a presenter of BBC Television series on historical topics, including Elegance and Decadence: The Age of the Regency (2011), Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls (2012), The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain (2014), A Very British Romance (2015), Lucy Worsley: Mozart’s London Odyssey (2016), and Six Wives with Lucy Worsley (2016).
    • Age: 49
    • Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, UK
  • Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum's expertise is Marxism–Leninism and the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe.  She is a staff writer for The Atlantic and has previously worked at The Economist and The Spectator.

    Anne Elizabeth Applebaum (born July 25, 1964) is an American journalist and historian who is also a citizen of Poland. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize, she has written extensively about Marxism-Leninism and the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe. She is a visiting Professor of Practice at the London School of Economics, where she runs Arena, a project on propaganda and disinformation. She has also been an editor at The Economist and The Spectator, and a member of the editorial board of The Washington Post (2002–06).
    • Age: 58
    • Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
  • Drew Gilpin Faust
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    Drew Gilpin Faust is most notably the first woman to serve as President of Harvard University, wherein she expanded grants and financial aid. Her academic specialty is the history of the South in the antebellum period and Civil War and she has written multiple books on the subject, receiving several prestigious awards in the process.

    Catharine Drew Gilpin Faust (born September 18, 1947) is an American historian and was the 28th President of Harvard University, the first woman to serve in that role. Faust is the former dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; she is Harvard's first president since 1672 without an undergraduate or graduate degree from Harvard and the first to have been raised in the South.In 2014, she was ranked by Forbes as the 33rd most powerful woman in the world. On February 11, 2018, it was officially announced that Lawrence Bacow would succeed her on July 1, 2018.
    • Age: 75
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
  • Barbara W. Tuchman
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    Barbara Tuchman's emphasis on writing popular history for widespread readership landed her two Pulitzer Prizes, one for her best-selling prelude to World War I and another for her biography on General Joseph Stilwell. She later became a lecturer at Harvard and was the recipient of a number of honorary degrees from leading American universities.

    Barbara Wertheim Tuchman (; January 30, 1912 – February 6, 1989) was an American historian and author. She won the Pulitzer Prize twice, for The Guns of August (1962), a best-selling history of the prelude to and the first month of World War I, and Stilwell and the American Experience in China (1971), a biography of General Joseph Stilwell.Tuchman focused on writing popular history.
    • Age: Dec. at 77 (1912-1989)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York
  • Romila Thapar
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    The pre-eminent scholar on the subject of ancient India, Romila Thapar is a professor currently at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. In 2008, she shared the US Library of Congress's Kluge Prize, for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

    Romila Thapar (born 30 November 1931) is an Indian historian as well as an emerita professor whose principal area of study is ancient India. She is the author of several books including the popular volume, A History of India, and is currently Professor Emerita at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. She has twice been offered the Padma Bhushan award, but has declined both times.
    • Age: 91
    • Birthplace: India
  • Specializing in early America and the history of women, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is best known for her Pulitzer Prize winner, A Midwife's Tale, which provides a vivid examination of ordinary life in the early American republic. She currently teaches at Harvard.

    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (born July 11, 1938) is an American historian of early America and the history of women, and a professor at Harvard University. Her approach to history has been described as a tribute to "the silent work of ordinary people"—an approach that, in her words, aims to "show the interconnection between public events and private experience."
    • Age: 84
    • Birthplace: Sugar City, Idaho