Jolas was born in Louisville, Kentucky,  but became closely associated with European culture.
A well-known figure at peace conferences, Maria Jolas was active in Europe in opposing the U.S. war in Vietnam 1965-75. Maria Jolas was the chair/president of the Paris American Committee to Stop-War (PACS, pronounced PACS) with several hundred members, formed in 1965 and banned by the French government in September 1968. She also translated many works, including Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space. She died, aged 94, in Paris, France.
Maria Jolas, Woman of Action - A Memoir and Other Writings was edited and introduced in 2004 by City University of New York professor Mary Ann Caws.
- Ojala, Jeanne A. (2000). "Jolas, Maria". Women in World History, Vol. 8: Jab-Kyt. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications. pp. 260–263. ISBN 0-7876-4067-0.
- Maria Jolas, 94, A translator and Paris Magazine Founder, Edwin McDowell, 7 March 1987, New York Times, Retrieved 2 August 2016