Léonie Adams was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and was educated at Barnard College where she graduated in 1922. As a teacher and lecturer in English, Adams held positions at several colleges and universities, including NYU and Columbia. In 1950 she was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the New Jersey College for Women where she was lecturing at the time. Between the years of 1948-49, Adams served as the Poetry Consultant for the Library of Congress (now the U.S. Poet Laureate). For her work Poems: A Selection (1954), she shared the Bollingen prize in 1954 with Louise Bogan. Adams died at the age of 88 in New Milford, Connecticut.
Léonie Adams’s literary archive is housed at the Beinecke Library; for a detailed description of the collection visit the Guide to the Léonie Adams and William Troy Papers, YCAL MSS 316.