Hilary Berger Ross was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1942. She attended Pembroke College after a year at Emory University, graduating from Pembroke in 1963 with a A.B. in English literature. Directly afterwards she began to earn a M.A.T. at Brown, studying the father-daughter relationship in the tragedies of Shakespeare. Ross moved on to pursue an M.S.W. from Rhode Island College. During her last year of her Master’s program at Brown, she married Steven Salk, and upon her graduation began working as a teacher in Boston.
In 1966, her first daughter was born, spurring her to become involved in childbirth education, and she began teaching classes to give women autonomy in their childbirth and childrearing decisions. In 1973, Ross moved back to Providence, where she founded the Rhode Island Women’s Health Collective as a feminist organization dealing with women’s health issues. She also ran for governor of Rhode Island within the Citizen’s Party, went into real estate to help single women get established economically, and was part of the Women for a Non-Nuclear Future and the Tough Love organizations. In 2016 Ross published a novel, Eavesdropping in Oberammergau, based on her experience as the only child of a Jewish American military family living in post-World War II Germany for a few years during her childhood. Ross has two adult children and five grandchildren.