Kathrine Kressmann was born in Portland, Oregon. She studied English literature and journalism at the University of Oregon, where she graduated in 1924. She moved to San Francisco, and in 1928, she married Elliott Taylor, an editor and owner of an advertising agency. During the Great Depression, the couple lived on a farm in Southern Oregon before moving to New York City. She and her family moved to a farm in Pennsylvania, where she taught at Gettysburg College. After retiring in 1966, she moved to Florence, Italy. In 1967, Taylor remarried to John Rood, a sculptor, and divided her time between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a villa near Florence.