Born in Paris, Germaine Brée grew up in the English-speaking Channel Islands. After graduating from the University of Paris, she taught in Algeria from 1932 to 1936. Appointed to teach at Bryn Mawr in 1936, she returned to France to fight for the Free French when World War II broke out. She joined a volunteer ambulance unit, rising to the rank of lieutenant, and was assigned to the intelligence section of the Free French in Algiers. She received a Bronze Star and was named to the Legion of Honor. At this time Brée befriended Albert Camus.
In 1953 Brée was appointed chair of the French department at New York University College of Arts & Science, the second woman to be appointed a department chair at the university. From 1960 until 1973 she was Professor of French at the University of Wisconsin. From 1973 until 1984 she was Kenan professor of humanities at Wake Forest University. In 1975 she served as President of the Modern Language Association.
- Marcel Proust and Deliverance From Time, 1955
- Camus, 1959
- Gide, 1963
- Camus and Sartre: Crisis and Commitment, 1972
- Brée, Germaine, American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present, 2000. Republished online at encyclopedia.com
- Dinitia Smith, Germaine Brée, 93, a Scholar Of Modern French Literature, The New York Times, 26 September 2001.
- "Germaine Brée Lectures | Institute for Research in the Humanities". irh.wisc.edu. Retrieved 2019-06-09.