Mary Eleanor Allan
23 June 1909
|Died||29 August 1982|
|Occupation||Writer, journalist, biographer|
Mea Allan (23 June 1909 – 29 August 1982), born Mary Eleanor Allan, was a journalist who worked for the Glasgow Herald. She also wrote a novel, Change of Heart (1943), set in the future. In 1967 she was awarded the Leverhulme Research Scholarship to write about the botanists William Hooker and Joseph Dalton Hooker.
Early life and education
Allan was born in Bearsden, Dumbartonshire, Scotland, the daughter of Robert Greenoak Allan and Helen (née Maitland). She was educated at Park School, Glasgow, and the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art.
Allan was a journalist who worked for the Glasgow Herald during and after World War II. She was living in London in 1940, where she described the wartime tension as "You felt you really were walking with death—death in front of you and death hovering in the skies." She reported from Germany in 1945, about death camp survivors and displaced persons temporarily sheltered at Belsen after the war, awaiting rehabilitation, family reunification, and transportation.
Allan's first book was a novel, Lonely (1942). Her second novel, Change of Heart, written in 1943, is about an alternate history (then future) in which the Allies win World War II, but are threatened by a resurgent Nazism.
Much of Allan's writing was about botany, including histories of gardens, biographies of famous gardeners and plant collectors, and guides for gardeners. In 1967 she was awarded the Leverhulme Research Scholarship to write on the botanists William Hooker and Joseph Dalton Hooker. In 1977 she wrote a book about Darwin's use of flowers to develop his theory of natural selection.
Allan died in 1982, in Walberswick, Suffolk, England. A collection of her papers was donated to the Centre for the Conservation of Historic Parks and Gardens at York University. There are other papers of hers in the Imperial War Museum's Department of Documents. In 1999, Felicity Goodall wrote a BBC Radio program titled "Change of Heart," about Allan's life and career.
- Lonely (1942, novel)
- Change of Heart (1943, novel)
- Rose Cottage (1961)
- The Tradescants: Their Plants, Gardens and Museum 1570-1662 (1964)
- The Hookers of Kew 1785-1911 (1967)
- Tom's Weeds: The Story of Rochford's and their House Plants (1970)
- Fison's Guide to Gardens in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (1970)
- Palgrave of Arabia: The Life of William Gifford Palgrave, 1826-88 (1972)
- E. A. Bowles & his garden at Myddelton House (1865-1954) (1973)
- Plants that Changed Our Gardens (1974)
- Gardens of East Anglia (1975)
- Darwin and His Flowers: The Key to Natural Selection (1977)
- The Gardener's Book of Weeds (1978)
- Weeds: The Unbidden Guests in our Gardens (1978)
- The Family of Flowers (1979)
- William Robinson, 1838-1935: Father of the English Flower Garden (1982)
- Reginald, R.; Burgess, Mary A.; Menville, Douglas (1 September 2010). Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Vol 2. Wildside Press LLC. ISBN 978-0-941028-78-3.
- Stansky, Peter; Stansky, Professor Peter (2007). The First Day of the Blitz: September 7, 1940. Yale University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-300-12556-6.
- Allan, Mea (20 September 1945). "Story of the New Belsen that was Crude Cruelty". The Daily Telegraph. p. 10. Retrieved 7 March 2020 – via Trove.
- "Mea Allan". SFE: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. 10 August 2018.
- Senior, Derek (24 May 1980). "George Seddon Gardens". The Guardian. p. 15. Retrieved 7 March 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Jr, Parke Rouse (2 November 1980). "Gloucester Had Connections with World's First Public Museum". Daily Press. p. 41. Retrieved 7 March 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Nicolson, Nigel (1 March 1984). "Exotic Gardeners". The Guardian. p. 12. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
- Perry, Frances (14 November 1982). "Cultivating the Mind". The Observer. p. 27. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
- "Books". The Post-Crescent. 6 June 1981. p. 32. Retrieved 7 March 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Thomas, G.S. (1967). "Orangeries in the National Trust". Quarterly Newsletter (Garden History Society). 4 (Spring 1967): 25–27. doi:10.2307/1586183. JSTOR 1586132.
- Beddall, Barbara G. (1 March 1979). "Darwin and His Flowers: The Key to Natural Selection. Mea Allan". Isis. 70 (1): 179. doi:10.1086/352185. ISSN 0021-1753.
- Ashby, Eric (2 June 1977). "Review of Darwin and His Flowers". New Scientist: 544.
- Desmond, Ray, ed. (1994). Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturalists : including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers ([Rev. and updated ed.]. ed.). London: Taylor & Francis. p. 10. ISBN 0850668433.
- Mary Eleanor Allan, correspondence and papers. Imperial War Museum Department of Documents. 1939–49.
- "BBC Radio 4 Extra - Sirens of Fleet Street, Change of Heart". BBC. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
- "New Novels". The Herald. 16 January 1943. p. 10. Retrieved 7 March 2020 – via Trove.
- Allan, Mea (1943). Change of Heart. George G. Harrap & Company Limited.
- Allan, Mea (1961). Rose Cottage. Ward, Lock.
- Allan, Mea (1964). The Tradescants: Their Plants, Gardens and Museum, 1570-1662. M. Joseph.
- L., K. (1970). "Review of The Hookers of Kew by Mea Allan". Quarterly Newsletter (Garden History Society). 12 (Spring 1970): 21–23. JSTOR 1586132.
- Allan, Mea (1967). The Hookers of Kew, 1785-1911. Joseph.
- Allan, Mea (1970). Tom's Weeds: The Story of Rochford's and Their House Plants. Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-08919-2.
- Allan, Mea (30 March 1972). Palgrave of Arabia: the life of William Gifford Palgrave, 1826-88. Macmillan. ISBN 9780333032039.
- Parsons, Susan (12 August 1984). "The Secret Fantasy of Everyone Who Deals with Plants". The Canberra Times. p. 6. Retrieved 7 March 2020 – via Trove.
- Allan, Mea (1974). Plants that Changed Our Gardens. North Pomfret, Vt. : David and Charles. ISBN 9780715367216.
- Allan, Mea (1975). Gardens of East Anglia. East of England Tourist Board. ISBN 978-0-9503116-7-8.
- Allan, Mea (1977). Darwin and His Flowers: The Key to Natural Selection. Taplinger Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-8008-2113-5.
- Allan, Mea (1978). The Gardener's Book of Weeds. Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 978-0-354-04189-8.
- Allan, Mea (30 June 1978). Weeds: the unbidden guests in our gardens. Viking Press. ISBN 9780670756575.
- Allan, Mea. (1982). William Robinson, 1838-1935 : father of the English flower garden. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-11865-8. OCLC 9327471.