Cornelia Lynde Meigs

Cornelia Meigs. Courtesy of the DeMoines Register.
Cornelia Meigs. Courtesy of the DeMoines Register.

Time Period

1910-1940

Subject Categories

Education, Writers

Notable Facts

Well-known author of books for children and adults;winner of several Newbery Medal Awards; an editor and professor of English at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Lived at "Green Pastures" in Brandon and Havre de Grace in Maryland.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

12/06/1884

Date of Death

09/10/1973

Primary Residence

Brandon

Ethnicity

Caucasian

Historical Significance

A summer resident of Vermont, Cornelia Lynde Meigs won the Newbery Medal Award for her book "Invincible Louisa." The author of books for both children and adults, Meigs was also an editor and professor of English at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.

Meigs was born in Rock Island, Illinois, and spent the majority of her childhood in Keokuk, Iowa, attending both elementary and secondary schools there. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in 1908. After college, she returned to Iowa where she taught English at St. Katherine's School in Davenport, Iowa. Through her teaching, Meigs recognized the need for children's books written at appropriate reading levels. She began writing herself; her first book, "The Kingdom of the Winding Road", a collection of fairy tales, was published in 1915. Meigs received the Drama League prize in 1916 for her first play, "Steadfast Princess", and won a $2,000 prize from Little, Brown and Co. for "Trade Winds", her most widely known children's book. She won three Newbury Honor Medals for "Windy Hill" (1922), "Clearing Weather" (1928) and "Swift Rivers" (1933).

In 1932, Meigs joined the faculty at Bryn Mawr College and taught English there until 1950. She won the Newbery Medal Award in 1934 for "Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women." Meigs purchased a home in Brandon, Vermont, which she named "Green Pastures", in 1936. Over the years, she began to spend more and more time at her Vermont home, alternating between Brandon and Havre de Grace, Maryland. During World War II, she served as a civilian employee for the U.S. War Department, while continuing to write. Her first adult book, "The Violent Men", was published in 1949. In addition to contributing her own work to the "Critical History of Children's Literature," Meigs served as an editor of the survey. Some of her other works include: "The Great Design: Men and Events in the United Nations 1945-1964", "Jane Addams: Pioneer For Social Justice", and "What Makes a College?: A History of Bryn Mawr." She was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Plano in Texas in 1967. Cornelia Meigs died on September 10, 1973 in Havre De Grace, Maryland.

Organizations or Movements

  • American Association of University Women
  • Member of the Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Connecticut Historical Societies

Occupations

  • Teacher at St. Katherine's School in Davenport, Iowa
  • Professor of English
  • Author
  • Civilian employee in the United States War Department

Education

  • A.B., Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, (1908).

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Cornelia Lynde Meigs Link

  • The Papers of Cornelia Meigs at Dartmouth College Link

  • Eisenring, Miriam. "Cornelia Lynde Meigs." In Those Indomitable Vermont Women. Williston, VT: Heritage Print & Copy, 2006.