Ellen Maury Slayden was born at the Maury family home, Piedmont, in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1860; she received her education from tutors at home. On June 12, 1883, she married James Luther Slayden, a merchant and rancher in San Antonio; they had no children. Mrs. Slayden served for a time in 1889 as society editor of the San Antonio Express. Upon her husband's election to Congress in 1896, they moved to Washington, where they maintained a residence for the next twenty-one years. She continued her writing, contributing to various magazines and newspapers, and was a tireless record keeper and diarist. Her notebooks concerning observations of the social and political life in Washington from 1897 to 1919 were left to her nephew F. Maury Maverick. Maverick's widow, Terrell Webb, with her second husband, Walter Prescott Webb, had the journal published in 1962 as Washington Wife. Ellen Slayden died in San Antonio on April 20, 1926.