February 23, 1884: Writer Mary Meek Atkeson Born in Putnam County


Writer Mary Meek Atkeson was born at Buffalo in Putnam County on February 23, 1884. She earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from West Virginia University. Her master’s thesis catalogued the works of 87 writers in what is now West Virginia dating back to colonial times. She later earned a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and taught at WVU.

Atkeson was the daughter of Thomas Clark Atkeson, the first dean of WVU’s School of Agriculture. He passed along to her his love of agriculture and country life. The two coauthored the book Pioneering in West Virginia. Her love of farm life showed up in her own novels as well, including The Woman on the Farm and The Shining Hours. She also published four plays in a 1922 collection and wrote for a variety of publications, including Ladies’ Home Journal, McCall’s, The Country Gentleman, and Good Housekeeping.

In addition to her writing skills, Mary Meek Atkeson was well-respected throughout the region as an educator and an authority on country life and agriculture. She died in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1971 at age 87.