She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, to the dentist George Edward Purnell and his wife Idella. She became a teacher in the primary schools of Guadalajara at a very early age, in 1915. In 1922, she received a B.A. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and took on the position of a secretary in the American Consulate in Guadalajara, continuing in that position through 1924. In 1923, she started the poetry magazine Palms, of which she also served as publisher and editor. In 1925, she served as the head of the foreign book department at the Los Angeles Public Library. She left that position to return to Mexico. In 1932, she served as the dean and organizer of the first summer session at the University of Guadalajara. She married in Remington Stone on September 10, 1932. She would eventually have two children with him, Marijane Stone and Remington P.S. Stone, and she brought up her niece Carrie Stone. Beginning in 1935, she opened a gold mine at Ameca, Mexico, remaining there through 1937. She also began writing at about this time. Beginning in 1938, she taught creative writing in Los Angeles. During World War II, she was a riveter for Douglas Aviation and Fletcher Aviation. In 1957, she became the director of the Dianetic Center for Dianetics and Scientology in Pasadena, California, remaining in that position through 1957. Beginning in that year, she became a practitioner of Scientology, and remained one through 1966. She died in Los Angeles in 1982.