Collective biographies are made from biographies in the way that houses are made from bricks. Biographies vary in length, use of spatio-temporal scales and narrative type, to name just a few examples. This makes collective biographies more methodologically complex than has been considered. Before looking in more detail at modern collective biographies by women authors, or classical Chinese histories, it is important to say a little about the ethical theory that will be the focal point of this chapter: utilitarian ethics. Like virtue ethicists, utilitarian ethicists are interested in the actions of individuals and groups. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women’s collective biographies brought a novel twist to utilitarian ethics. They showed that the ‘most good’ could be thought of not only in terms of the measurement of acts but also in terms of the additive or subtractive power of those who performed them.