Anya Seton was born Ann Seton in New York City, a daughter of Ernest Thompson Seton, the famous English-born author and co-founder of the Boy Scouts, and his American wife, travel writer and feminist Grace Gallatin. She had a privileged upbringing in Cos Cob, Connecticu, and traveled widely with her parents. She studied with private tutors and graduated from the Spence School. At age 18, she married Hamilton Cottier, with whom she had two children. After they divorced, she remarried to Hamilton Chase, with whom she had a daughter, before divorcing in 1968. Seton began her literary career by contributing short stories to newspapers. In the late 1930s, she became fascinated with the life story of Theodosia Burr, Aaron Burr's daughter, who died under mysterious circumstances. She wrote a fictionalized account and published it as her first historical novel, My Theodosia, in 1941. She went on to produce a total of 13 historical novels, although she preferred to use the term "biographical." Her works were noted for her extensive and meticulous research, and several of them became bestsellers. Dragonwyck (1944) and Foxfire (1950) were also adapted by Hollywood into films. Her books are considered classics of their genre and continue to be popular with readers today, including Katherine (1954), The Winthrop Woman (1958), and Green Darkness (1973). In 2003, Katherine was chosen as the 95th best British novel of all time in a nationwide poll conducted by the BBC.