Phoebe Cary was born in Mount Healthy, near Cincinnati, Ohio. She was the younger sister of Alice Cary, who also became a poet. They were raised on a farm, in a Universalist household. Both sisters began writing as teenagers, and had verses published in local newspapers. Phoebe Cary became a champion of women's rights and was an assistant editor of The Revolution, the newspaper founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In 1848, her poetry was published in the influential anthology Female Poets of America, edited by Rufus Griswold. In 1849, the sisters co-published a volume called Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary, which made them well-known. They moved together to New York City, where they hosted a salon visited by prominent political, artistic and literary figures such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, P.T. Barnum, John Greenleaf Whittier, Robert Dale Owen, William Lloyd Garrison, and Mary E. Dodge. Phoebe published two volumes of her own work, Poems and Parodies (1854) and Poems of Faith, Hope, and Love (1867), and contributed to leading magazines such as Scribner's Monthly, Galaxy, and Putnam's Monthly. She also wrote the lyrics for many church hymns. She died, grief-stricken, five months after her sister in 1871 at age 46 of hepatitis.