Amy Louise Daniels was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on July 26, 1875. In 1903 she graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which at that time primarily admitted male students. After graduation, she moved to Denver, Colorado, where she taught the science involved in cooking to a high school home economics class. In her biography Concerning Amy Louise Daniels, Ruth Anne Schlotfelt explained that this was in keeping with Dr. Daniels's scientific background: "[S]he refused to teach 'just cookin' and sewin', but organized her classes into an experimental laboratory and taught basic scientific facts of cooking instead of how to follow a recipe."
Dr. Daniels received her B.S. degree from Columbia University in 1906. In December 1908 she was one of a small group of women who established the Home Economics Association in Lake Placid, New York. In 1912 she became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from Yale in biological chemistry. Dr. Daniels was assistant professor at the University of Missouri from 1911 to 1914 and at University of Wisconsin from 1914 until 1918.
Dr. Daniels was recruited to the State University of Iowa by Dr. Bird Thomas Baldwin, first director of Iowa Child Welfare Research Station, which was established in September 1917. Daniels was professor of nutrition at the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station from 1918 until her retirement in 1941. She also worked with the Children's Hospital when it opened in March 1919. Her research focused on infant nutrition as a cure for illness, for which she became internationally known. In 1930 she was a member of the White House Conference on Child Development. She was the recipient of the first Borden Award in 1937 from the American Home Economics Association for her research paper, "Relation of Ingestion of Milk to Calcium Metabolism in Children." She published more than fifty research papers between 1914 and 1948. A bibliography of her work is included in Concerning Amy Louise Daniels. Dr. Amy L. Daniels died January 31, 1965, at age 89.