Ruth Augusta King was the daughter of a vicar in a Nottinghamshire mining village. After school in Yorkshire, she taught for five years, before marrying the journalist Kenneth Adam and moving with him first to Manchester and then to London. She travelled a great deal, pursuing her wide-ranging interests in education and social policy. Four children were born between 1937 and 1947, by which time the Adams had moved to a large house outside London to live communally with other families. During the war Ruth Adam worked, like many other writers of her generation, in the Ministry of Information; meanwhile her husband joined the BBC, where he later became Director of Television. Ruth Adam wrote twelve novels between 1937 and 1961, all of them concerned with social issues; she also co-authored, with Kitty Muggeridge, a biography of Beatrice Webb. A Woman's Place, a history of women's lives in the twentieth century, appeared in 1975.