Inez Haynes Irwin was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1873, the daughter of Gideon and Emma Jane (Hopkins) Haynes. Her first marriage to Rufus Hamilton Gilmore ended in divorce, and in 1916 she married writer Will Irwin, who died in 1948. She served as a correspondent for several magazines in France, England and Italy during World War I.
In addition to the Maida books, Irwin was a prolific writer of fiction, producing many novels and short stories for magazines. One of her stories, “The Spring Flight,” McCall’s, June 1924, won the O. Henry Award for 1924. Her fiction often dealt frankly with feminist concerns and women’s social issues, including divorce, single parenthood and workplace issues. She also wrote mystery stories, including one called “The Body Rolled Downstairs”, and a variety of other works, including an etiquette book for girls, a travel book about California, and “Angels and Amazons: A Hundred Years of American Women”, a collection of biographical sketches. Inez Haynes Irwin died in 1970.