An American author and literary critic, she is known for novels such as The Walsh Girls and The Question of Gregory. Her later work, Daisy Kenyon, was adapted into a popular film.
She matriculated at Swarthmore College but was forced to end her education as a result of the Great Depression. She later received a degree from Barnard College.
A staunch feminist, she published the work, Man's World, Woman's Place: A Study of Social Mythology, in the early 1970s.
She married Eliot Janeway, a prominent economist. She signed the contract for her novel, The Walsh Girls, while on the way to the hospital to give birth to her younger son.
Her novel, Daisy Kenyon, was made into a film starring Joan Crawford.