150 Memoirs and Biographies of Women, by Women

International Women’s Day was on Tuesday. To celebrate, the writer Rachel Syme did something amazing: in the thread linked above, she tweeted 150 memoirs and biographies of women, by women. We gathered all the titles together in the list below and linked them to their Booklist reviews.


ada blackjackAda Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic, by Jennifer Niven

 Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art, by Nancy Princenthal

Alice James, by Jean Strouse

 Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty, by Phoebe Hoban

Alice Walker, by Evelyn White

 All We Know: Three Lives, by Lisa Cohen

American Eve, by Paula Uruburu

American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood, by Marie Arana

Angela Davis: An Autobiography, by Angela Davis

 An Illuminated Life: Bella da Costa Greene’s Journey from Prejudice to Privilege, by Heidi Ardizzone

an illuminated lifeAnne Sexton, by Diane Middlebrook

Annie Oakley, by Shirl Kasper

 The Arrogant Years: One Girl’s Search for Her Lost Youth, from Cairo to Brooklyn, by Lucette Lagnado

Art and Madness: A Memoir of Love Without Reason, by Anne Roiphe

 Autobiography of a Face, by Lucy Grealy

Barbara Jordan, by Mary Beth Rogers

Beryl Markham, by Mary S. Lovell

Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman, by Margot Mifflin

 Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, by Jill Lepore

Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country, by Louise Erdrich

breaking cleanBreaking Clean, by Judy Blunt

The Bronte Myth, by Lucasta Miller

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times, by Jennifer Worth

Candy Darling, by Candy Darling

Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France, by Leonie Frieda

Christina Stead, by Hazel Rowley

Clementine, by Sonia Purnell

Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff

Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, by Natalie Dkystra

Confessions of an Art Addict, by Peggy Guggenheim

country girl Country Girl, by Edna O’Brien

 Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, by Janice P. Nimura

Dearest Friend, by Lynne Withey

Diana Vreeland, by Amanda McKenzie Stuart

 Diane Arbus: A Biography, by Patricia Bosworth

Dietrich and Riefenstahl, by Kristin Weiland

The Distance Between Us, by Reyna Grande

Dorothy Parker, by Marion Meade

 Edith Wharton, by Hermione Lee

Eleanor of Aquitane, by Alison Weir

ella bakerElla Baker, by Barbara Ransby

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China, by Jung Chang

Evita, by Eva Peron

The Extraordinary Life of Rebecca West, by Lorna Gibb

 The Firebrand and the First Lady: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice, by Patricia Bell Scott

The First Lady of Hollywood, by Samantha Barbas

 First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, by Loung Ung

Frida, by Hayden Herrera

Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London, by Lauren Elkin

Florynce Kennedy, by Sherie Randolph

gellhorn Gellhorn: A Twentieth-Century Life, by Caroline Moorhead

Genet: A Biography of Janet Flanner, by Brenda Wineapple

Georgia O’Keeffe, by Roxana Robinson

Girls Like Us, by Sheila Weller

 The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis, by Julie Kavanagh

Gold Digger: The Outrageous Life and Times of Peggy Hopkins Joyce, by Constance Rosenblum

 Great Catherine, by Carolly Erickson

Hannah Arendt, by Anne C. Heller

Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics during World War II, by Farah Jasmine Griffin

 Harriet Jacobs, by Jean Fagin Yellin

harriet tubmanHarriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom, by Catherine Clinton

Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly

 The Huntress: The Adventures, Escapades, and Triumphs of Alicia Patterson: Aviatrix, Sportswoman, Journalist, Publisher, by Alice Arlen

 Ida: A Sword among Lions; Ida B. Wells and the Campaign against Lynching, by Paula Giddings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

I Married Adventure, by Osa Johnson

 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs

Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi, by Katherine Frank

Intertwined Lives: Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Their Circle, by Lois Banner

i said yes to everything I Said Yes To Everything, by Lee Grant

 James Tiptree, Jr: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, by Julie Phillips

 Jane Austen, by Claire Tomalin

Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured, by Kathryn Harrison

Katherine Mansfield, by Claire Tomalin

Kiss Hollywood Goodbye, by Anita Loos

Lady Sings the Blues, by Billie Holiday

The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily, by Nancy Goldston

Lakota Woman, by Mary Crow Dog

 Lee Krasner, by Gail Levin

lee miller Lee Miller, by Carolyn Burke

Lena, by Lena Horne

The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They Inspired, by Francine Prose

Louise Bogan, by Elizabeth Frank

Madame du Pompadour, by Nancy Mitford

Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, by Helene Cooper

Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History, by Rhonda Garelick

The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, by Sarah Churchwell

Marie Curie, by Susan Quinn

Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy, by Elizabeth Winder

memoirs of a dutiful daughterMemoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, by Simone de Beauvoir

Men We Reaped, by Jessmyn Ward

Minor Characters, by Joyce Johnson

 Negroland, by Margo Jefferson

Not Just Jane: Rediscovering Seven Amazing Women Writers Who Transformed British Literature, by Shelley Dewees

On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, by A’Lelia Bundles

 Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull, by Barbara Goldsmith

Pain, Parties, Work, by Elizabeth Winder

Painted Shadow, by Carole Seymour-Jones

 The Paper Garden: An Artist (Begins Her Life’s Work) at 72, by Molly Peacock

paula Paula, by Isabel Allende

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi

Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood, by Eileen Whitfield

The Pope’s Daughter, by Carolyn Murphy

Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, by Caroline Weber

The Queen’s Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth’s Court, by Anna Whitelock

Radclyffe Hall: A Woman Called John, by Sally Cline

 Rage and Fire: A Life of Louise Colet, Pioneer Feminist, Literary Star, Flaubert’s Muse, by Francine Gray

Ranger Confidential, by Andrea Lankford

 Red Azalea, by Anchee Min

redefining realnessRedefining Realness, by Janet Mock

Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg, by Kate Evans

 Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams

 Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter, by Cathy Curtis

 Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars, by Nathalia Holt

 Romaine Brooks, by Cassandra Langer

The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, by Helen Rappoport

 Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley, by Charlotte Gordon

Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, by Brenda Maddox

 Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay, by Nancy Milford

searching for calamitySearching for Calamity, by Linda Jucovy

 Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, by Judith Thurman

Shadows, Fire, Snow: The Life of Tina Modotti, by Patricia Albers

She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England before Elizabeth, by Helen Castor

The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters, by Laura Thompson

Slow Days, Fast Company, by Eve Babitz

The Solitude of Self: Thinking About Elizabeth Cady Stanton, by Vivian Gornick

Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary, by Anita Anand

That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, by Anne Sebba

The Tigress of Forli: The Life of Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici, by Elizabeth Lev

to the riverTo the River, by Olivia Laing

Trans, by Juliet Jacques and Sheila Heti

Two Lives: Gertude and Alice, by Janet Malcolm

Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov): Portrait of a Marriage, by Stacy Schiff

 Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire, by Julia Baird

Virginia Woolf, by Hermione Lee

When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up under the Khmer Rouge, by Chanrithy Him

Where I Was From, by Joan Didion

 The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Secret Life of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience, by Kirstin Downey

The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston

working girl bluesWomen in Dark Times, by Jacqueline Rose

Working Girl Blues: The Life and Music of Hazel Dickens, by Hazel Dickins

Wilde’s Women, by Eleanor Fitzsimmons

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood, by Cari Beauchamp

Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston, by Valerie Boyd

Zelda, by Nancy Milfrode



About the Author:

Charlotte Chadwick is currently an intern for Booklist. A senior at Lake Forest College, she is studying creative writing and print and digital publishing. When she isn't writing short stories, there's nothing she enjoys more than drinking coffee and dodging questions about her post-grad plans.

1 Comment on "150 Memoirs and Biographies of Women, by Women"

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  1. Stephanie M. says:

    Where’s Helen Keller?

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