Sarah Chauncey Woolsey was born in 1835 into a wealthy and influential family in Cleveland, Ohio. She worked as a nurse during the American Civil War before establishing a career as a successful and prolific writer of novels, short stories and poems. Her most famous book, What Katy Did, published under her pseudonym Susan Coolidge, was inspired by her own childhood growing up with four younger siblings. Its publication in 1872 was followed by four sequels. She never married and lived most of her adult life in Rhode island where she died in 1905.