Born into an evangelical Presbyterian newspaper family, Dougall’s liberal views often conflicted with her religious upbringing. Although born in Montreal, Quebec, she was educated in New York City and at both the University of Edinburgh and St. Andrew’s University in Scotland. While in Edinburgh, she lived with her aunt. She lived in Montreal from 1897 to 1903 until she finally settled down in Cumnor, near Oxford, in 1911. While there, she lived her life with her lesbian partner, Sophie Earp. In Cumnor, she became the center of a group that was dedicated to thought and conversation. This was similar in its views to that of her first essay, Pro Christo et Ecclesia (1900).
Her debut novel, Beggars All, was published in 1892 followed by nine other novels. Her contemporaries thought her novels were "well-received" and they have "been widely read far from the shores of her native land". She also did write a novel prior to Beggars All, Lovereen, A Canadian Novel, that was published under a male pseudonym. She also published one volume of short stories and eight books of religious philosophy. Four of Dougall’s novels have Canadian settings spanning from western British Columbia to Eastern Quebec to Atlantic Prince Edward Island.What Necessity Knows, The Zeitgeist, The Mermaid: A Love Tale and The Madonna of a Day: A Study. Her fiction is characterized by twists of fate, disguise, hidden identity and disillusioned love. More noteworthy, however, her work is known for its exploration of religious and philosophical themes. Many of her protagonists are strong, independent females who are typically drawn to the idea of egalitarian marriage.
^ abMcEntyre, M. (2007). Religious Experience and the New Woman: The Life of Lily Dougall. Journal of American History, 94(3), 943-944. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.
^French, William. “A Pithy and Provacative Look and More than 200 Significant Canadian Novels. A Pundit’s source-book A READERS GUIDE TO THE CANADIAN NOVEL.” The Globe and Mail. 30 Jan. 1982, Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies, ProQuest. Web. 16 Sept. 2010.
^ abcdeMarilyn, Rose. “Dougall, Lily” The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. Eugene Benson and William Toye. Oxford University Press 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Douglas College. 16 September 2010 Link
^ abcdeStory, Norah. The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1967.
^ abcdeWilliam, Toye, ed. The Concise Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2001.
^Richardson, L. (2009). Religious Experience and the New Woman: The Life of Lily Dougall. Victorian Studies, 51(4), 729-732. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.