Agnes Morley had a hardscrabble childhood on a cattle ranch in a remote region of New Mexico, and then many years of rigorous education. In 1899, she married Newton Cleaveland, with whom she had four children. The couple lived in Berkeley, California, where Agnes became a clubwoman and social activist. She was also a prolific writer. Agnes Morley Cleaveland achieved fame with her memoir, No Life for a Lady, published in 1941, which remains in print. Her son Norman Cleaveland grew up to be an athlete and writer.