Jeannette Augustus Marks was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on August 16, 1875. Her father, William Dennis Marks met and married her mother, Jeannette Colwell, while running a factory in Tennessee. He later went on to become professor of engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and president of the Philadelphia Edison Company. Jeannette Marks was educated at boarding schools in the United States and Europe and went on to attend Dana Hall and then Wellesley College where she received her B.A. in 1900.