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Arthur Mee

Arthur Mee

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Arthur Henry Mee was a British writer, journalist and educator. He is best known for The Harmsworth Self-Educator, The Children's Encyclopaedia
The Children's Encyclopedia
The Children's Encyclopædia was an encyclopædia originated by Arthur Mee, and published by the Educational Book Company, a subsidiary of Amalgamated Press of London. It was published from 1908 to 1964. Walter M. Jackson's company Grolier acquired the rights to publish it in the U.S...

, The Children's Newspaper
The Children's Newspaper
The Children's Newspaper was a long-running newspaper published by the Amalgamated Press aimed at pre-teenage children founded by Arthur Mee in 1919...

, and The King's England. He produced other works, usually with a patriotic tone, especially on the subjects of history or the countryside.

Biography


He was born on 21 July 1875 at Stapleford
Stapleford, Nottinghamshire
-External links:***...

 near Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, the second of the ten children of Henry Mee (b. 1852), railway fireman, and his wife, Mary (née Fletcher). As a boy he earned money from reading the reports of Parliament
Hansard
Hansard is the name of the printed transcripts of parliamentary debates in the Westminster system of government. It is named after Thomas Curson Hansard, an early printer and publisher of these transcripts.-Origins:...

 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.

In 1903 he began working for publisher Alfred Harmsworth
Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe
Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe rose from childhood poverty to become a powerful British newspaper and publishing magnate, famed for buying stolid, unprofitable newspapers and transforming them to make them lively and entertaining for the mass market.His company...

's Amalgamated Press
Fleetway
Fleetway, also known as Fleetway Publications and Fleetway Editions, was a UK publishing company which mainly produced comic magazines. For a time owned by IPC Media, they are now a division of Egmont Publishing....

. He was appointed general editor of The Harmsworth Self-Educator (1905–1907), in collaboration with John Hammerton.

In 1908 he began work on The Children's Encyclopaedia
The Children's Encyclopedia
The Children's Encyclopædia was an encyclopædia originated by Arthur Mee, and published by the Educational Book Company, a subsidiary of Amalgamated Press of London. It was published from 1908 to 1964. Walter M. Jackson's company Grolier acquired the rights to publish it in the U.S...

, 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 Encyclopaedia
The Children's Encyclopedia
The Children's Encyclopædia was an encyclopædia originated by Arthur Mee, and published by the Educational Book Company, a subsidiary of Amalgamated Press of London. It was published from 1908 to 1964. Walter M. Jackson's company Grolier acquired the rights to publish it in the U.S...

, he started the first newspaper published for children, the weekly The Children's Newspaper
The Children's Newspaper
The Children's Newspaper was a long-running newspaper published by the Amalgamated Press aimed at pre-teenage children founded by Arthur Mee in 1919...

, which was published until 1965.

Mee also wrote London – Heart of the Empire and Wonder of the Word which became a very popular book.

Although he made money from these works, he did not receive a fair share. He had a large house built overlooking the hills near Eynsford
Eynsford
Eynsford is a village and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, England. It is located on the River Darent, south of Dartford in Kent.-The village:...

 in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

. Its development from design to the final building was depicted in later editions of The Children's Encyclopaedia
The Children's Encyclopedia
The Children's Encyclopædia was an encyclopædia originated by Arthur Mee, and published by the Educational Book Company, a subsidiary of Amalgamated Press of London. It was published from 1908 to 1964. Walter M. Jackson's company Grolier acquired the rights to publish it in the U.S...

.

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 came from a Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 upbringing, and supported the temperance movement
Temperance movement
A temperance movement is a social movement urging reduced use of alcoholic beverages. Temperance movements may criticize excessive alcohol use, promote complete abstinence , or pressure the government to enact anti-alcohol legislation or complete prohibition of alcohol.-Temperance movement by...

.

He died in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and his books continued to be published after his death, most noticeably The King's England, a guide to the counties of England
Counties of England
Counties of England are areas used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. For administrative purposes, England outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly is divided into 83 counties. The counties may consist of a single district or be divided into several...

, which is being progressively republished. Mee's works were successful abroad. The Children's Encyclopaedia
The Children's Encyclopedia
The Children's Encyclopædia was an encyclopædia originated by Arthur Mee, and published by the Educational Book Company, a subsidiary of Amalgamated Press of London. It was published from 1908 to 1964. Walter M. Jackson's company Grolier acquired the rights to publish it in the U.S...

was translated into Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 and sold well in the United States under the title The Book of Knowledge
The Children's Encyclopedia
The Children's Encyclopædia was an encyclopædia originated by Arthur Mee, and published by the Educational Book Company, a subsidiary of Amalgamated Press of London. It was published from 1908 to 1964. Walter M. Jackson's company Grolier acquired the rights to publish it in the U.S...

.

Further reading

  • The World of the Edwardian Child, as seen in Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopædia, 1908-1910 by Michael Tracy (2008)http://www.HermitageBook.net This includes more information and a new assessment of Arthur Mee and his work, also that of other contributors to the Encyclopædia, and a summary of Hammerton's biography.

External links



Footnotes