Barbara Berggren was born on October 8, 1911, in Swea City, Iowa. Moving to Lead, SD, in 1927, she attended Lead High School, graduating in 1929. While at Lead High School, she was editor of the school newspaper, Nugget.
Barbara attended USD from 1929 to 1933, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Arts & Sciences on July 14, 1933. While attending USD she served as president of Alpha Phi Sorority, a member of the Alpha Chi Alpha Journalism Society and was editor of The Volante, the Scribbler and the Wet Hen.
After graduation, Barbara taught for three years in the Lead, SD public schools. She married Robert Stewart on November 10, 1936, and they had two children. Barbara was active in school and civic affairs, and maintained her interest in journalism throughout her life.