Arthur Mee

Arthur Mee books and biography

Arthur Mee

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Arthur Mee (1875 - 1943) was a British writer, journalist and educator. He is best known for The Children's Encyclopedia and The King's England. He also produced other works, usually with a patriotic tone, especially on the subjects of history or the countryside. He came from a Baptist up-bringing, and supported the temperance movement.

He was born on July 21, 1875, at Stapleford near Nottingham, England, to a modest family. As a boy he earned money from reading the reports of Parliament to a local blind man. He left school at 14 to join a local newspaper, where he became an editor by age 20. He contributed many non-fiction articles to magazines and joined the staff of The Daily Mail in 1898. He was made Literary Editor five years later.

After publishing several books, in 1908 he began work on The Children's Encyclopedia, which came out as a fortnightly magazine. The series was published and bound in eight volumes soon afterwards, and later expanded to ten volumes. After the success of The Children's Encyclopedia, he came up with the first newspaper published for children, the weekly The Children's Newspaper, which was published until 1965.

Although he made money from these works, he did not receive a fair share, according to his biographer John Hammerton. He had a large house built overlooking the hills near Eynsford in Kent. Its development from design to the final building was depicted in The Children's Encyclopedia.

Mee had one child, but, despite his work, declared that he had no particular affinity with children. His works for them suggest that his interest was in trying to encourage the raising of a generation of patriotic and moral citizens.

He died in London and his books continued to be published after his death, most noticeably The King's England, a guide to the counties of England, which is being progressively republished. Mee's works were successful abroad. His Encyclopedia was translated into Chinese and sold well in the U.S..



Mee is mentioned in the Monty Python sketch, "The All-England Summarise Proust Competition".

See also

  • Children's Non-Fiction / Nonfiction Authors


  • John Hammerton (1946) Child of Wonder

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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