Central figure of the Beat Generation who was most famous for her relationship with William S. Burroughs. Her son portrayed her in his 1973 novel, Kentucky Ham, as gentle, compassionate, and deferential.
She met Edie Parker while both were attending Barnard College. She was invited by Parker to live in her New York apartment. They often provided lodging for writers, hustlers, and drug addicts, many of whom would become prominent Beats in just a few years.
She had a passionate love affair with William S. Burroughs that ended in tragedy when Burroughs shot her to death during a drunken game of William Tell. Her death had a profound effect upon William's writing career. She had two children, her daughter Julie Adams with first husband Paul Adams and her son William S. Burroughs Jr. with Burroughs.