She was born in Massachusetts. In 1869, she became principal at the newly formed Boston School for Deaf-Mutes. In 1871, the school staff were trained in the skill of teaching deaf children how to speak by Alexander Graham Bell. Sarah became an advocate of this practice, as well as the promotion of education for deaf children starting at the earliest age possible.
She founded the Home for Little Deaf Children in 1902, and retired as a principal in 1910.