May had a twin sister Minnie Mabel. May's father Phineas was a surgeon during the Civil War. The family moved to Washington, D.C. in the early 1880s. She studied at the Martyn College of Elocution and Oratory, going on to teach elocution at Gallaudet University for the Deaf.
She had two bothers Charles and Clement who died as children.
Her mother Eugenia and sister Dottie died from Malaria in 1895 during the epidemic in Washington, D.C. Her father died in 1899. She became the guardian to her 10 year old brother Douglas. She married Ashton Lake in early 1900. He died five days later.
Her brother Douglas who had been studying entomology at the Smithsonian died in 1910.
May is said to have been a Flora Dora girl possibly in New York. She married Eugene in Chicago and gave birth to their son Douglas Eugene in 1920. Her husband Eugene died in 1922. Her last known job was as a film cutter in 1930. She died in 1933 when Douglas was 12 years old. He moved in with her twin sister Minnie and her husband Obie Johnson.