Ivy Low Litvinov, 87, an author and widow of Maxim Litvinov, Stalin's foreign minister and ambassador to the United States in World War II, died Friday in Brighton, England. She had lived in nearby Hove since 1972.

Mrs. Litvinov, who was born in London and grew up in Cambridge, England, met her Bolshevik husband in London in 1915. An enthusiastic reader since early childhood, she had published two novels by then. They were soon married.

After the Bolsheviks overthrew the czar of Russia in 1917, Litvinov was named peoples' plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James.' But the British refused to recognize the Communists and he was jailed.

Litvinov managed to leave and return to Moscow, but his wife and their two infant children, a daughter, Tanya, and a son, Misha, stayed behind in England.

Litvinov was named deputy commissar for foreign affairs and went on missions for Lenin, joining up with his family along the way. The family finally arrived in Moscow in 1923.

A skilled diplomat, Litvinov found that having an English wife was helpful, and he became commissar for foreign affairs for Stalin in 1930.

The Litvinov family, as privileged members of Soviet Society, lived in a house and later a large apartment in Moscow, and had a dacha outside the city.

While her husband labored at the foreign ministry, Mrs. Litvinov taught basic English and published a classic British textbook on the subject.

In 1939, Litvinov, a Jew and a staunch advocate of an alliance with Britain, was fired by Stalin who was then arranging a nonaggression pact with Hitler. But the family was allowed to live pretty much as before.

When the United States and the Soviet Union became allies against the Nazis in 1941, Litvinov was recalled to the foreign ministry and sent to Washington as ambassador, Mrs. Litvinov accompanied him here.

They were recalled two years later. Litvinov was fired in 1946, and allowed to keep his pension. He died on Dec. 31, 1951.

Mrs. Litvinov began to write again. She spent her time between Moscow and a retreat on the Black Sea. Nine of her autobiographical stories appeared in the New Yorker as recently as the late 1960s. They were later published as a collection under the title, "She Knew She Was Right."

In 1972, she left Moscow for good. She went to London and a short time later moved to Hove, a small town on the English Channel, where her daughter joined her in the early part of 1976 on an extended visit from Moscow.

Last January, in an interview with a reporter for The Washington Post, Mrs. Litvinov disclosed that she had gathered stacks of letters, pictures and notes and was working on a book of memoirs.

In addition to her children, she is survived by four grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.