Historian, Writer, Philosopher. Born Chaya Kaufman, her family immigrated from Russia in 1901. The name Ariel was a nickname given to her by her husband, Will Durant, and eventually would become her legal name. She and her husband met when she was thirteen at the Ferrer Modern School where she was a student and he a teacher. By the time she was fifteen, the pair had fallen in love. Her mother was eventually convinced that they be allowed to marry and in 1913 gave her consent. With her husband as mentor, she grew to appreciate philosophy and became her husband's equal in debate, holding her own in the company of such distinguished philosophers as Bertrand Russell and George Santayana. Their lifelong partnership would take many dimensions including the professional. She assisted him with his writing and research, and by the time her husband had reached the eighth book of his mammoth The Story of Civilization series, she was listed as co-author. The tenth book in that series would earn them the Pulitzer Prize. She was an activist for women’s rights and education. Her work and that of her husband’s would eventually lead to being awarded the Congressional Medal of Freedom in 1977. The love affair between the Durants was legendary. She would later say that she and her husband “almost have one breath, one life, one interest”. The two would eventually die days apart from one another.
Bio by: Catharine