Madeleine Saint-René Taillandier was born Louise-Marie-Madeleine Chevrillon in Ruelle-sur-Touvre in southwestern France. Her uncle was historian Hippolyte Taine. Her brother André Chevrillon also became a writer. She married Georges Saint-René Taillandier, a diplomat, with whom she had one child. She wrote some 16 biographies of prominent men and women from French history, including Madame de Maintenon, Henri IV, Madame de Sevigne, and her uncle Hippolyte Taine. In addition, she wrote for periodicals such as Le Figaro, Le Gaulois, and the Revue des Deux Mondes. She was an elected member of the Société des gens de lettres and the Académie racinienne. She chaired the jury for the Prix Femina from 1923 to 1945. She served as president of the Union des femmes de France (Women's Union of France), then part of the French Red Cross.