Dora Black was born to an upper-class English family with progressive views on education for girls. She won scholarships to Sutton High School and Cambridge University, from which she graduated with a first-class honours degree in modern languages. In 1916, she met Bertrand Russell, who proposed marriage. As a feminist, she was willing to live with Russell outside of matrimony and they became a couple. They eventually married in 1921 because Russell wanted a legal heir, and had two children. Dora became involved in the birth control movement and with other activists, including Katharine Glasier, Susan Lawrence, Margaret Bonfield, Dorothy Jewson, John Maynard Keynes, and H. G. Wells, founded the Workers' Birth Control Group. With her husband, she wrote The Prospects of Industrial Civilization (1923) and two years later published her own book, Hypatia: Women and Knowledge. In 1927, Dora and Bertrand Russell opened a boarding school, Beacon Hill, in West Sussex, which encouraged democracy, freedom, and cooperation. She expressed this philosophy in her book In Defence of Children (1932). In 1931, Bertrand Russell became the 3rd Earl Russell, making Dora Countess Russell. She subsequently had two children with Griffin Barry, a journalist, and split with Russell in 1935. She ran Beacon Hill until World War II, when she served in the Ministry of Information. She was active in the peace movement after the war and in 1958 joined with Bertrand Russell, J. B. Priestley, Vera Brittain, Victor Gollancz, Michael Foot and others to establish the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Later that year, she organized the Women's Caravan of Peace and toured through Europe with it. After her retirement to Cornwall, she wrote Religion and the Machine Age (1982) and three volumes of autobiography.