Esther B. Kahn was born in Boston and lived her entire life in the Brookline area.

After attending the Brookline Public Schools, Esther earned an A.B. degree from Radcliffe College in 1935. Esther returned to school later in life, receiving a Master's degree from the Boston University School of Education in 1954. Esther taught at Bedford High School for many years, developing a reputation as a creative and innovative teacher.

Esther was an ardent feminist, civil libertarian and liberal democrat. In 1967, she was awarded a three-year federal grant to establish a curriculum to teach a Sex and Family Living Education Program.

In recognition of Esther's outstanding contributions to the field of education, Boston University awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 1986.