Vera Brittain was born on December 29, 1893, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. In 1914 she began studying English literature at Somerville College, Oxford. The following year, she left to serve as a nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment, in hospitals in London and France. She published her first poetry collection, Verses of a V.A.D (Erskine Macdonald), in 1918. After the war ended, she completed her studies at Somerville College. She went on to publish Poems of the War and After (Macmillan, 1934); several novels, including Honourable Estate (Macmillan, 1936); and several historical studies, including Lady into Woman: a History of Women from Victoria to Elizabeth II (Macmillan, 1953). A lifelong pacifist after her experiences in World War I, she served as chairman of the Peace Pledge Union. She was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1946. She died in London on March 29, 1970.