Anna Erskine Crouse was born in New York City. Her father John Erskine was an educator, scholar, novelist, and composer.
She graduated from the Horace Mann School and enrolled at Barnard College, but dropped out to pursue an acting career. She appeared in a few small roles on Broadway, but eventually gave up performing to support the theater in other ways. She wrote profiles of actors for popular magazines of the day and served as a production assistant to director Joshua Logan before becoming a secretary to the team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. In 1945, she married Russel Crouse, with whom she had a daughter named Lindsay Crouse in honor of the partnership, and a son, Timothy Crouse. Together with her husband, she wrote two biographies for young readers, Peter Stuyvesant of Old New York (1954) and Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr (1958). Mrs. Crouse was an original board member and later chairwoman and acting executive director of the Theater Development Fund, founded in 1968 to help an ailing New York theater industry. She realized a long-held dream of making Broadway theater more accessible and affordable to young people by establishing the first discount TKTS booth, which opened in the Times Square area in 1973.