Mary Dallas Street was born in Richmond, Virginia, the daughter of a wealthy railroad businessman and his wife. She attended St. Catherine's School in Richmond and Chestnut Hill in Pennsylvania. At age 36, she helped co-found a literary magazine called The Reviewer and contributed funds as well as book reviews, poems, and short stories. She hosted teas and entertained Richmond's literary circle at her parents' home until 1935, when she moved to New York City. The first of her two novels, Summer's End, was published in 1936, and Christopher Holt appeared in 1946. Near the end of her life she returned to Richmond.