She was born in Vicuna, where she attended primary and secondary school. She worked as a teacher's aide from age sixteen and later passed an examination in the Escuela Normal (for schoolteachers). She worked as a schoolteacher from 1906 to 1922 in several cities along the country.
Shorty after, she was invited to Mexico to work on a reform to the schools and libraries. She would return to Chile only two times after that.
She also taught at several US universities and colleges.
She died of cancer in New York.