Emily Holmes was born in Oakland, California. In 1920, she graduated from Wellesley College and in 1921 married Lloyd Ring Coleman, a psychologist. In 1926, she and her son moved to Paris, where she got a job as society editor for the Paris Tribune. Emily Holmes Coleman also worked for a year as Emma Goldman's secretary. Although Emily's papers reveal her to have been a prolific writer, her only published works were some articles for small magazines and her autobiographical novel, The Shutter of Snow (1930). However, historians and literary critics are still interested in the diaries she kept in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, and in England in the 1940s through the 1960s. They reveal her relationships with literary friends such as Djuna Barnes, who wrote much of her novel Nightwood while staying with Emily Coleman and others at Peggy Guggenheim's country house, Hayford Hall. Emily wrote about John Ferrar Holms, Antonia White, Dylan Thomas, Phyllis Jones, George Barker, and many other friends and acquaintances. In 1944, Emily Holmes Coleman converted to the Roman Catholic faith and her life became focused on religion. She developed friendships with Dorothy Day and philosopher Jacques Maritain, and lived in a number of Catholic communities.