Her non-musical play "Chicago, or, Play Ball" has become one of the most adapted plays in history. The play was a silent Cecil B. DeMille feature in 1927 (Chicago (1927)), a Ginger Rogers comedy in 1942 (Roxie Hart (1942)), a Bob Fosse Broadway musical ("Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville") and a 2002 Oscar-winning musical film (Chicago (2002)).
She studied playwriting workshop with George Pierce Baker who taught Eugene O'Neill and Philip Barry among his students.
She attended high school in Crawfordsville, Indiana. She studied at Butler University and at graduate school at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.