She was of Asian descent ("almost pure Old Earth Oriental extraction") and of diminutive stature; she was "little more than two-thirds Honor’s own height" (126 centimeters). Having received second generation prolong treatments, her physical age was frozen in her thirties. (HH2)
Allison was a descendant of the Chou and Benton-Ramirez families, one of the oldest and most prestigious Beowulfan clans. She had three older brothers; The eldest Anthony, an unnamed second brother, and an older twin brother, Jacques. During her marriage to Alfred Harrington, she gave birth to five children, Honor, Faith, James, Howard, and Michael. (HH6,HH8,HH11,CS4)
Allison Benton-Ramirez y Chou was born as the daughter of Jennifer Chou on the planet Beowulf in the Solarian League in the year 1816 PD. She pursued a career as a geneticist, and earned a doctorate. While studying at Semmelweiss University, she met a young Manticoran Naval officer by the name of Alfred Harrington. They fell in love, and eventually married. (HH6) After moving to the planet Sphinx in the Manticore System, they had one daughter, whom they named Honor Stephanie.
It was not always easy for Sphinxian society to handle Allison Chou Harrington. As a Beowulfan, she had little of the sexual and social inhibitions that were common in the Star Kingdom. She doted on her husband, much to the amusement of others. When her daughter was young, Doctor Harrington marked down that her daughter would not take regeneration treatments. She pressured her daughter about how there were no men in Honor's life, even after Honor had joined the Royal Manticoran Navy.
In 1903 PD, Doctor Harrington and her husband attended the heavy cruiser HMS Fearless' recommissioning ceremony at HMSS Vulcan, as their daughter was in command of the vessel at the time. (HH2) In 1904 PD, she and her husband had an apartment in Duvalier City. (HH3)
Following her daughters adventures in the Yeltsin's Star System, Allison and her husband had to grow accustomed to being part of a noble family, a concept especially alien to Allison, who was brought up in a non-monarchal society. At Honor's request, she moved to Grayson and became director of the Doctor Jennifer Chou Genetic Clinic in Harrington Steading. (HH6)
Some time after her capture by the People's Navy, Honor was announced to have been executed for alleged crimes committed in the First Battle of Basilisk. The dismayed Harringtons had to somehow go on with their life, and, partly on the request of Protector Benjamin IX, decided to have another child that could continue the family line and serve as Steadholder Harrington. Allison eventually gave birth to fraternal twins Faith and James. Some time later, Honor, who was in fact still alive, managed to escape from the Havenite prison world of Hades and made her return to Manticore. (HH8) Her parents were overjoyed and welcomed her back on Grayson, where they also introduced her to her new siblings. (HH9)
She was also the one who came up with idea of teaching treecats sign language, who then suggested it to her daughter Honor. She later worked with Dr. Adelina Arif on the Crown Commission on Treecats. (HH11)
After Honor had become pregnant with Hamish Alexander's child, her mother became involved in the secret preparations for Honor's wedding with Hamish and his first wife, Emily. She was present at the wedding, and later convinced Lady Emily to have a child with Hamish as well, which of course had to be tubed due to Emily's paralysis. (HH11)