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.
James Baldwin was one of the most prolific authors of school books for children at the end of the last century and the beginning of this. 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. His publications numbered 54 volumes. It is estimated that 26 million copies of his works sold worldwide, including China and Indonesia. A self‐educated man, he became a school superintendent before working as an editor for Harper's and later for the American Book Company.
He wrote more than fifty books, the most famous of which include Fifty Famous Stories Retold (1896) and Abraham Lincoln, a True Life (1904).