An American author of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, she is most remembered for her first novel, The Coquette; or, The History of Eliza Wharton, which she published anonymously. In her second work, The Boarding School; or, Lessons of a Preceptress to Her Pupils, she expressed her support for women's education.
She was born into an affluent Massachusetts family and was educated at an all-girls academy.
She was one of the first women in America to assert herself as a feminist.
She married Rev. John Foster in 1785. Her daughters, Harriet Vaughan Cheney and Eliza Lanesford Cushing, both became writers.
Her husband was a graduate of Dartmouth College; football player Ed Healy also attended the Ivy League school.