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Cornelia Lynde Meigs (December 6, 1884 – September 10, 1973) was an American author and educator.

Daughter of civil engineer "Major" Montgomery "Monty" Meigs[1] and Grace Lynde Meigs, and granddaughter of Montgomery C. Meigs, she was born in Rock Island, Illinois. When she was a month old, her family moved to Keokuk, Iowa, where she was to live for a large part of her life. After graduating from Keokuk High School in 1901[2] she attended Bryn Mawr College, receiving an A.B. degree in 1908.

She began writing children's books while an English teacher at St. Katherine's School in Davenport, Iowa, where she worked between 1908 and 1913.[3] Her first book, The Kingdom of the Winding Road was published in 1915. Her book Trade Wind won the Little, Brown and Co., prize competition in 1927. She is best known for Invincible Louisa, a biography of author Louisa May Alcott, which won a Newbery Medal in 1934.[4]

In 1932, Meigs became a professor of English at Bryn Mawr,[5] where she remained until her retirement in 1950. Subsequently she taught writing at the New School of Social Research in New York City.

Most of her papers are at the Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College[5], but some of her papers may also be found in the libraries of the University of Iowa, and at the de Grummond Library at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. There are other small bits of correspondence stored with the collections of the persons or families to whom she sent them.

For a glimpse into her life, here is a 2005 estate-sale-find letter sent to an Albert Northrop, presumed husband to her niece Elizabeth (Betty):

January 29, 1950.

Dear Albert,

Your nice birthday letter should have had an answer long before this, but so many things do seem to come between me and writing even the letters that I want to much to write. The birthday was a very portentous one, my sixty-fifth, which means I am no longer eligible for Bryn Mawr after June; they have to keep me until then. By a singular chance they have given me more work to do than ever before, quite regardless of the fact that in six months I shall be considered totally unfit.

I have so many ideas about what it would be nice to do next that I find it hard to sort out those which are really practical, so for I have been basking in the idea that the world was mine - within certain reasonable limits - now I am to be my own mistress again. To tell the truth I had never thought I was going to stick it out to the end, I thought if I could stay until Timmy (her sister Emily Fales --ed) got well and the children were more or less grown up that would be all. But here I am hanging on to the last season and not feeling withered or aged at all.

Just before Christmas I had a visit from Florence Irwin[6] and felt that I had got very well up to date on all things having to do with Keokuk. It has changed so completely - except the climate - that I doubt whether I could ever consider going back there to stay though I had meant to when I went away. A few of the old feuds seem to survive, but even those cannot hold out forever.

You were so good to speak so kindly of Violent Men and Two Arrows. The former had been in hand for a very long time, quite the largest piece of work I had ever undertaken, but it has been the one that I most enjoyed. I have a real passion for history, which grows as the yars go by, and was whetted ever more by my seeing some of it being made first hand while I was doing a very humble job in Washington. I realized that if I did not finish it while I was at Bryn Mawr I never would, so I finally succeeded in gtting t finished and out of my hands. Te Macmillan Company had it for a long time before they published it, so, since I had promised a child's book as the very next thing, I wrote that last year and they came out rather embarrassingly close together. You were a very good friend to read them both. You always give such nice detailed comments, not like the reviewers, or sometimes even the writer of the blurb on the cover who have visibly not got much farther than Chapter six or so.

I do so hope that all your family are well, and the children flourishing. I have a namesake, Cornelia Brown, child of a young cousin who lives in Milton, who calls the baby Nina. One doesn't often hand on both one's names, formal and informal. It is hard that Ellen lives so far away, it is only lately that I have begun to see what delight my own generation gets out of its grandchildren. You should see Elisha (her brother in law --ed) hovering over his grandson and namesake, absolutely beaming all over.

Since Dr. Swaim retired I do not seem to have reason for coming to Boston, but I shall hope to get there and see all of you some way still. With best love to Betty and so many regards to you all,

Nina (signed in her hand)

A further, if brief biography may be found at http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Meigs__Cornelia.html .

Here is a partial list of titles written by, or edited by, Ms. Meigs during her lifetime:

A Critical History of Children's Literature. A Survey of Children's Books in English from Earliest Times to the Present.
Prepared in Four Parts Under the Editorship of Cornelia Meigs. 1953
As the Crow Flies 1927?
At the Sign of the Two Heroes (Written under the pseudonym Adair Aldon) 1920
Call of the Mountain 1940
Clearing Weather. Little, Brown & Co. Boston 1928
Crooked Apple Tree, The. Little Brown Boston 1938
Fair Wind To Virginia 1955
Glimpses of Louisa 1968
Invincible Louisa 1932
Jane Addams, Pioneer for Social Justice; A Biography 1970
Little Women, The Story of the Author of Little Women 1933
Louisa M. Alcott and the American family story 1970
Master Simon's Garden 1929
Mother Makes Christmas : A Story Parade Picture Book 1940
Mounted Messenger 1943
Mystery at the Red House 1961
Phonics We Use, Book A 1957
Railroad West. Little Brown Boston 1937
Rain on the Roof 1925
Scarlet Oak, The. Macmillan Co. Ny 1938
Steadfast Princess a play for young people 1916
Story of Louisa May Alcott 1935
Swift Rivers. Little Brown Boston 1932
The Covered Bridge 1936
The Dutch colt 1952
The Great Design: Men and events in the United Nations from 1945 to 1963 (1964)
The Great Wheel ?
The Hill of Adventure (written under the pseudonym Adair Aldon), Century, 1922
The Island of Appledore (written under the pseudonym Adair Aldon) 1917
The Kingdom of the Winding Road 1915
The New Moon 1929
The Pirate of Jasper Peak (written under the pseudonym Adair Aldon) 1918
The Pool of Stars 1920
The Scarlet Oak 1938
The Trade Wind 1927.
The Two Arrows 1949
The Willow Whistle 1931
The Wonderful Locomotive 1929
Vanished Island 1941
Violent Men a Study of Human Relations in the First American Congress 1949
What Makes a College?...a History of Bryn Mawr 1956
Wild Geese Flying 1957
Wind in the Chimney 1934
Young Americans 1936

Notes

References

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