Cowen, who descended from a family of Jewish-Irish scholars, emigrated to the United States when she was eleven months old. In 1887, she married Philip Cowen, who was the first publisher of the Jewish weekly newspaper The American Hebrew. She worked with him on publishing the paper until 1906, when he retired.
In 1904, she published the Cowen Haggadah, which was first American English adaptation of the haggadah to be published for a mass audience. It became the most popular haggadah in the United States in the first quarter of the twentieth century, with distribution of 295,000 copies by 1935. 
- Guber, Rafael. "Did you know? Little-known facts about Passover and Judaism to share at the seder table"The Jewish Journal, 2007-03-30. Accessed 2007-07-20.
- "Cowen Haggadah Sale Now Totals 295,000". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 7 April 1935. Retrieved from Jewish News Archive, 3 October 2012.
- Goldman, Yosef. Hebrew Printing in America, 1735-1926, A History and Annotated Bibliography (YGBooks 2006). ISBN 1-59975-685-4.
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