Rae Dalven was born to a Jewish family in Preveza, now in Greece, then a region of the Ottoman Empire. In 1909, she emigrated to the USA with her parents. She graduated from Hunter College and earned a Ph.D. in English at New York University. She became a professor of English literature and department chairman at Ladycliff College in Highland Falls, New York. She was known for her translations of Greek poetry, such as Modern Greek Poetry (1949), The Poems of Cavafy (1961), and The Fourth Dimension (1977). She wrote two play, including the successful A Season in Hell (1950), about the French poets Rimbaud and Verlaine, which was produced Off-Broadway. Prof. Dalven was also renowned as an historian of the Jews in Greece, particularly the northern Ioannina community, who traced their ancestry to ancient Palestinians and retained their unique customs and liturgy. She edited The Sephardic Scholar, an academic journal, and served as president of the American Society of Sephardic Studies. The annual Rae Dalven Prize for excellence in modern Greek studies at New York University was created in her honor.