Hebald was born in 1934, and her father died in 1938. Her own history included incest, promiscuity, suicide attempts, and an abortion. Her psychiatric history included two admissions to Gracie Square Hospital in New York City, the first from December 3, 1959, through February 27, 1960, and the second from November 2, 1962, through April 30, 1963. The second of these hospitalizations ended when Hebald was transferred to the Payne Whitney Clinic in New York City, where she spent almost a year—from April 30, 1963, to April 1, 1964. Her other psychiatric admissions in New York City were to Bellevue. Hebald's last psychiatric admission was to the Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa, during the winter of 1972.