The daughter of a minister, Herford spent her youth moving between England and the United States, following her father's changing jobs. In her twenties, she participated avidly in private theatricals, writing her own monologues. In 1895, she made her public debut at the Sallé Erard in London, receiving favorable reviews.
Two years later, she married Sidney Hayward, of Wayland, Massachusetts. She continued to deliver monologues both in public and private. Her monologues, generally comic in nature, lampooned popular figures and types. Representative titles are "The Shop Girl" and "The Sociable Seamstress." Her brother, Oliver Herford, was also a famous artist and humorist.
In 1904, Herford and her friends built a small theater on her husband's property in Wayland, Massachusetts. She named it Beatrice Herford's Vokes Theatre, after an English actress. In 1937, she gave use of the theater to the a group of actors organized as the Vokes Players. The group refurbished the theater and continue to perform in it.
Herford died in 1952.