René Grousset (5 September 1885 – 12 September 1952) was a French historian, curator of both the Cernuschi and Guimet Museums in Paris, and a member of the prestigious Académie française. He wrote several major works on Asiatic and Oriental civilizations, with his two most important works being History of the Crusades (1934-1936) and The Empire of the Steppes, a History of Central Asia (1939), both of which were considered standard references on the subject.
Grousset was born in Aubais, Gard in 1885. Having graduated from the University of Montpellier with a degree in history, he began his distinguished career soon afterward. He served in the French army during World War I. In 1925, Grousset was appointed adjunct conservator of the Musée Guimet in Paris and secretary of the Journal asiatique. By 1930 he had published five major works on Asiatic and Oriental civilizations. In 1933 he was appointed director of the Cernuschi Museum in Paris and curator of its Asiatic art collections. He wrote a major work on the Chinese buddhist medieval pilgrim Xuanzang, particularly emphasising the importance of his visit to the northern Indian Buddhist university of Nalanda.
Before the outbreak of World War II, Grousset had published his two most important works, Histoire des Croisades (1934-1936) and L'Empire des Steppes (1939). Dismissed from his museum posts by the Vichy government, he continued his research privately and published three volumes on China and the Mongols during the war. Following the liberation of France, he resumed his curatorship of the Cernuschi Museum and in addition was appointed curator of the Guimet Museum. In 1946, Grousset was made a member of the Académie française. Between 1946 and 1949, he published four final works, concentrating on Asia Minor and the Near East.
In 1952, Grousset died at the age of 67 in Paris.