Born on September 10, 1886, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Hilda Doolittle was the daughter of an astronomer, and she was reared in the strict Moravian tradition of her mother's family. She entered Bryn Mawr College in 1904 and while a student there formed friendships with Marianne Moore, a fellow student, and with Ezra Pound (to whom she was briefly engaged) and William Carlos Williams, who were at the nearby University of Pennsylvania. Ill health forced her to leave college in 1906. Five years later she traveled to Europe for what was to have been a vacation but became a permanent stay, mainly in England and Switzerland. Her first published poems, sent to Poetry magazine by Pound, appeared under the initials H.D., which remained thereafter her nom de plume.