Lily Dougall was born in Montreal, Canada, to an evangelical Presbyterian family. Her father was a well-to-do merchant and founder of religious newspapers. She was educated in New York City and then in Scotland, where she attended the University of Edinburgh and St. Andrew’s University. She divided her time between England and Canada for years before settling in 1911 in Cumnor, near Oxford, where she became the center of an intellectual circle. She contributed short fiction to periodicals such as Temple Bar, Atlantic Monthly, Longman’s Magazine, and Chambers’s Journal. She published her debut novel, Beggars All, in 1892, followed by nine other novels, a volume of short stories, and eight books of religious philosophy. Many of her protagonists were strong, independent women drawn to the idea of egalitarian marriage.