Quinn was born in Morrilton, Arkansas on 17 January 1899 as the second of four daughters born to Joseph Leo Quinn and Henrietta D. (née Rankin) Quinn, both of whom lived into their 80s. Her three sisters – Anne, Grace, and Dorothy – all predeceased her.
Quinn grew up in Vian, Oklahoma (then Oklahoma Territory) while her father worked as the freight agent for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. She graduated high school in Vian in 1918, and was awarded a Life Certificate for Teaching from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in 1920.
After becoming a teacher, Quinn taught grammar school in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and Nampa, Idaho. In the mid 1920s, she and her sister Grace moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where they both resided and taught at various schools for over 40 years. They would drive to Arkansas every summer to visit family.
Quinn never married and had no children. She was a keen horsewoman and collector of Native American jewellery, especially Navajo silver and turquoise. she retired from teaching in the late 1960s, and moved back to Morrilton with her sister. They built a home and took great pride in their garden. Her sister Grace died in 1987 aged 86; Anne and Dorothy, her two remaining sisters, both died less than 18 months later.
During her nonagenarian years, Quinn moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas to be near her niece. On her 100th birthday, her great and great-great nieces and nephews celebrated with her, as well as some of her former students from Cheyenne. She was very proud of her Irish heritage throughout her life.
Quinn died in Barling, Arkansas on 17 January 2009, her 110th birthday. The two Arkansas residents older than her were Ruth Lincoln and Gertrude Weaver.
Quinn was not known to researchers until her obituary was published. Her age was verified by Stefan Gelow and Filipe Prista Lucas, and validated by the GRG on 25 February 2010.