Adolphine Marie Colban grew up in Christiania and Drammen, where her father was an attorney, later a tax bailiff. She came into contact with the “Intelligenskrets” (intelligentsia circle) of the 1840s, where she met her husband Nathaniell Angell, a translator and man of letters. She translated books under his name and as Mathildes Oversætter.
Upon becoming a widow, she settled in Paris in 1849, where she earned a living as a translator and writer for newspapers and magazines. She began moving in aristocratic circles and made a name for herself after publishing “Lettres d’une barbare”, addressed to a Frenchwoman. She spent her final years in Rome.
Marie Colban’s debut work was the story Lærerinden, 1868, and she later wrote Tre Noveller, 1873, and the story Jeg lever, 1877, which was considered to be autobiographical. She also wrote the story Thyra, 1882, while in Rome. She had a large following in Norway, but was criticised by Camilla Collett in her work Fra de Stummes Leir.