Terry Ramsaye was born in Toganoxie, Kansas, on November 2, 1885. He was educated at the University of Kansas and, in 1905, became a reporter for the Kansas City Star. He joined the Chicago Evening American in 1907 and the Chicago Tribune in 1909. At the Tribune, he first came into contact with the motion picture industry while arranging for publication of the serial stories on which motion picture serials were based. In 1915, he began work as publicity and advertising director for Mutual Film Corporation, and then founded Screen Telegram, a newsreel. He produced and edited short patriotic pieces for the US Government during World War I and, in 1919, started another newsreel, Kinograms. In 1920 he began work on A Million and One Nights, his history of the motion picture. It was published in 1926 by Simon and Schuster and only three hundred twenty-seven copies were originally printed, all autographed by Terry Ramsaye and Thomas Edison. His book was considered the definitive work on the history of the early motion picture industry. While working on the book, he also edited various films, including Grass, African Hunt, and Simba. In 1928 Ramsaye become editor-in-chief of Pathe News and Pathe Audio Review, where he produced features and contributed to the introduction of sound in films. In 1931, Ramsay married Helene Thompson and became editor of the Motion Picture Herals, a post he held until his retirement in 1949. After his retirement, Ramsaey continued to work and to write. He wrote an article for the American People's Encyclopedia on motion pictures in 1953 and worked on Shadow Play - The Pictures at Mid-Century for his contribution to the Library of Congress Series in American Civilization from 1951 - 1954. Terry Ramsaye was an independent, witty writer who probably sums up his own philosophy best in the following words he wrote to Emanie Arling:
"I have not, in fact, joined anything, as I never do...I am, may I egotistically observe, neither Left, Right, nor Center. I have been, man and boy, and at no little expense and travail these considerable years, just me."