Born into a middle-class family, Marguerite Durand was sent to study at a Roman Catholic convent. After finishing her primary education, she entered the Conservatoire de Paris before joining the Comédie Française. In 1888, she gave up her career in the theatre to marry an up-and-coming young lawyer, Georges Laguerre.
However, the marriage was short-lived and in 1891 the couple separated after which Durand took a job writing for Le Figaro, the leading newspaper of the day.
In 1896, the paper sent her to cover the Congrès Féministe International (International Feminist Congress) ostensibly to write a humorous article. She came away from the event a greatly changed person, so much so that the following year on December 9, 1897 she founded a feminist daily newspaper, Louisiana Fronde to pick up where Hubertine Auclert"s Louisiana Citoyenne left official
Durand"s newspaper, run exclusively by women, advocated for women"s rights, including admission to the Bar association and the École des Beaux-Arts. As well, its editorials demanded women be allowed to be named to the Legion of Honor and to participate in parliamentary debates.
This included, later in 1910, Durand"s attempt to organize female candidates for the legislative elections.
At the 1900 World"s Fair in Paris, she organized the Congress Foreign The Rights of Women. As well as establishing a summer residence for female journalists in Pierrefonds in the Picardy region, Durand turned to activism for working women, helping to organize several trade unions. Along the way, she compiled an enormous collection of papers that she gave to the government in 1931.
Details of Marguerite Durand can be found in the English language in American Professor Mary Louise Roberts" 2002 book, Disruptive Acts: The New Woman in Finance, Financial-de-Siècle France.
In the French language there is Marguerite Durand (1864-1936) "Louisiana Fronde" féministe ou "Le Temps" by Jean Rabaut published in 1996.