William Maxwell Reed

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William Maxwell Reed (January 12, 1871 in Bath, Maine – September 1962), a.k.a. W. Maxwell Reed, was a pioneering U.S. author of illustrated science books for children.[1]

After schooling at Harvard, he taught astronomy at Harvard and Princeton University.

Reed later went into the steel industry.

Beginning as a series of letters to his nephew, his first book "The Earth for Sam" was first published in 1929. While science has discovered much since then, the book remains popular, having been republished in 2005.

"Earth" was followed by a series of popular children's information books, many published by Harcourt, Brace, many of which had multiple editions. The series apparently led many children to undertake science careers.


  • The Earth for Sam; the story of mountains, rivers, dinosaurs and men (1929). Illustrated by biologist/artist James Howard McGregor.
  • The Stars for Sam (1931). Illustrated by Karl Moseley.
  • And that's why (1932)
  • The Sea for Sam (w/ Wilfred S. Bronson) (1935)
  • Animals on the March (w/ Jannette May Lucas) (1937)
  • America's Treasure (1939)
  • The Sky is Blue (illustrated by James MacDonald) (1940)
  • Patterns In The Sky: The Story Of The Constellations (1951)


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