An American novelist and children's author, she is best known for her 1913 novel, Pollyanna. Her other works include Just David (1916), The Tangled Threads (1919), and numerous short stories.
She trained as a singer at the New England Conservatory.
Several of her novels, including Pollyanna, were United States bestselling books.
She grew up in New Hampshire. She married John Lyman Porter in 1892.
She and Michael Rosen both wrote children's books.