Margaret Schlauch earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College in 1918 and master's and doctoral degrees from Columbia University in 1919 and 1927. In 1923–24, she studied on a fellowship at the University of Munich. She became a noted scholar of medieval literature, with a specialty in German and Scandinavian literature. In 1924, she joined the faculty of the English Department of New York University, and rose through the ranks to become the first woman appointed as a full professor at the university in 1940. In 1951, after being subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, Prof. Schlauch left the USA for Poland, where she became a naturalized citizen. She taught at the University of Warsaw from 1951 until her retirement in 1965. She was elected a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1961.