Author Spotlight – James Baldwin

James Baldwin (1841–1925) was born in Indiana, United States and made a career as an educator and administrator in that state starting at the age of 24. He served as the superintendent of Indiana’s school system for eighteen years and then went on to become a widely published textbook editor and children’s author in the subjects of legends, mythology, biography, and literature, among others.

Perhaps Baldwin's most well-known work today

Perhaps most well known for his books of retold famous stories, James Baldwin was a highly influential figure in American education in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries and one of the most prolific authors of books for children of his era.  From his fictionalized autobiography, In My Youth, we know that it was through the encounter with good literature and “good books” that he himself learned to read and became educated. As an educator, he loathed the idea of children wasting their time reading books that had no educational or literary value.

A self‐educated man, he became a school superintendent before working as an editor for Harper’s and later for the American Book Company. In addition to the Baldwin Readers (1897), he co‐authored the Harper Readers (1888) and the Expressive Readers (1911). He wrote over thirty books about famous people in history and retold classical stories.

Extract from a 1993 paper on the life of James Baldwin

James Baldwin @
The Baldwin Project
Project Gutenberg

Bibliography with links
1882 The Story of Siegfried
1882 An Introduction to the Study of English Literature and Literary Criticism
1886 Essential Studies in English and American Literature
1888 The Book-Lover (a guide to the best reading)
1888 The Story of Roland
1890-91 Harper’s School Speaker Book 1
1892 Six Centuries of English Poetry: from Tennyson to Chaucer
1893 The Book of Elegies
1893 The Famous Allegories
1894 Choice English Lyrics
1895 Fairy Stories and Fables
1895 The Horse Fair
1895 Old Greek Stories: third reader grade
1895 Old Stories of the East
1896 The Story of Daniel Webster for young readers
1896 The Story of Benjamin Franklin for young readers
1896 Fifty Famous Stories Retold
1897 Four Great Americans; Washington, Franklin, Webster, Lincoln
1897 School Reading by Grades: First; Second; Third; Fourth; Fifth; Sixth;
1899 Our New Possessions: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Philippines
1901 The Discovery of the Old Northwest and its Settlement by the French
1901 The Conquest of the Old Northwest and its Settlement by Americans
1902 A Story of the Golden Age
1902 A Guide to Systematic Readings in the Encyclopaedia Britannica
1903 Barnes’s Elementary History of the United States Told in Biographies
1903 The Wonder Book of Horses
1904 Hero Tales Told in School
1904 Abraham Lincoln, a True Life
1905 Thirty More Famous Stories Retold
1905 The Golden Fleece: More Old Greek Stories
1905 The Fairy Reader
1905 Robinson Crusoe, written anew for children
1906 Nine Choice Poems of Longfellow, Lowell, Macaulay, Byron, Browning, and Shelley
1907 An American Book of Golden Deeds
1907 Another Fairy Reader
1910 Stories of Don Quixote, written anew for young people
1912 Fifty Famous People
1912 The Sampo, a wonder tale of the North
1913 John Bunyan’s dream story ; the Pilgrim’s progress retold for children and adapted to school reading
1914 In My Youth (autobiography under name of Robert Dudley)
1916 Fifty Famous Rides and Riders
1919 The Story of Liberty
1920 Sailing the Seas, the Log of Tom Drake


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s