Régine Pernoud was a pioneering French historian specializing in women of the Middle Ages. She grew up in a poor family and worked in various professions, such as teacher and archivist, while completing her university degrees. She's best known for her biography and other writings about Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc). She founded the Centre Jeanne d'Arc in Orléans in 1974 under the auspices of French Minister of Cultural Affairs André Malraux, and became its curator. She was elected to the Académie française in 1997.