Dorothy Ruddick was born in Winnetaka, Illinois in 1925. As an undergraduate at Radcliffe, she studied art history at the Fogg Museum, and then transferred to Black Mountain College where she studied with Josef Albers. Upon graduation, she moved to New York where in the early 1950s she drew for Flair, the Fleur Cowles magazine, and Mademoiselle. She also designed textiles for the design firm Knoll, where her colleagues included Isamu Noguchi, Harry Bertoia, George Nakashima, and Eero Saarinen.
She has participated in many group exhibitions over the years including The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Her one-person exhibitions include Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania; Steven Harris Architects, New York; and the Richard York Gallery, New York. Her work is included in many museum collections, including The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of New York,; and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania.