Banning authored thirty-six novels and more than four hundred essays and short stories, usually concerned with the problems of religion, youth, women, and social change. As an advocate for women’s rights, her writings often featured women in non-traditional roles.
She is the first woman admitted to the Duluth Hall of Fame, and a member of the British Information Service in World War II. In 1914 she married Archibald Tanner Banning; they had four children before divorcing in 1930. In 1944 she married LeRoy Salsich, but kept the Banning name on her writings. Following World War II, she worked in refugee and displaced persons camps in Austria and Germany.