Marguerite Yourcenar was a French novelist and essayist. She was the first woman elected to the Académie française, in 1980.
Marguerite Cleenewerck de Crayencour was born on 8 June 1903 at 193, avenue Louise in Brussels, Belgium. Her parents were Michel Cleenewerck de Crayencour and Fernande de Cartier de Marchienne. Her mother died ten days after her birth. Marguerite was raised by her father and her paternal grandmother, Noémi Dufresne.
Marguerite adopted the surname Yourcenar (an almost anagram of Crayencour) as her pen name. She published her first novel, Alexis, in 1929.
In 1937 she translated Virginia Woolf's The Waves. Later that year she sailed to the United States and spent the winter with her companion Grace Frick.
In 1939, escaping the outbreak of World War II, she left Europe for the United States to live with Grace Frick. The two women would live together until Frick's death in 1979.
In 1951, she published, in France, her most famous novel Memoirs of Hadrian.
In 1980, Yourcenar was the first female member elected to the Académie française. An anecdote tells of how the bathroom labels were then changed in this male-dominated institution: "Messieurs|Marguerite Yourcenar" (Gents/Marguerite Yourcenar).
Marguerite Yourcenar died in Northeast Harbor, Maine on 17 December 1987. She is buried across the sound in Somesville, Maine, alongside Grace Frick and her last companion, Jerry Wilson, who died of AIDS on 8 February 1986.
↑ "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24KT-77Y : 2 October 2015), Marguerite Yourcenar De Crayencour, 1937; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
↑ "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24LN-YS2 : 2 October 2015), Margarete Yourcenar, 1939; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
↑ "Connecticut, District Court Naturalization Indexes, 1851-1992," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKYT-3486 : 20 November 2015), Marguerite Yourcenar, 1947; citing roll 28, NARA microfilm publication M2081 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 2,371,121.
↑ "Maine Death Index, 1960-1996," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KCVG-9NY : 27 November 2014), Marguerite Yourcenar, 17 Dec 1987; citing Death, Bar Harbor, city code 09030, certificate 8711081, Maine State Archives, Augusta.
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 13 February 2018), memorial page for Marguerite Yourcenar (8 juin, 1903–17 déc, 1987), Find A Grave: Memorial #6103463, citing Brookside Cemetery, Mount Desert, Hancock County, Maine, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .