Jacqueline de Sieyes Bernard was born on May 5, 1921, in Le Bourget du Lac, Savoie, France. She attended Vassar College from 1939 to 1941 and the University of Chicago from 1941 to 1942, then married Allen Bernard in 1943. They had one son and later divorced. She was found dead, apparently from strangulation, in her New York apartment on August 1, 1983.
Before her death, Bernard established credentials as a journalist, a social reformer, and an author. She worked as a journalist and in advertising for several employers from the late 1940s onward. In 1956 she co-founded Parents Without Partners, an organization for single parents and their children, and served as its vice president for over a year. Later she worked against the Vietnam War and for women's rights and minority rights. These last two interests unite in her most significant book, Journey Toward Freedom, published in 1967.