Annie Fellows Johnston
Annie Fellows Johnston was an American author of children's fiction who wrote the popular The Little Colonel series, which was the basis for the 1935 Shirley Temple film The Little Colonel; many of the books were illustrated by photographer Kate Matthews. She was born and grew up in McCutchanville, Indiana, a small unincorporated town near Evansville, Indiana.
Johnston was born Annie Julia Fellows on May 15, 1863, the daughter of Albion Fellows, a Methodist minister at Trinity, and Mary Erskine Fellows. She had a brother, Erwin, and two sisters, Lura and Albion. She attended the University of Iowa for one year, returned to Evansville, taught school for three years, then became a private secretary. She married a cousin, William Levi Johnston. He was a widower with three children, Rena, John, and Mary. Rena died in 1899 and John in 1910 or 1911.
Johnston moved to Pewee Valley in 1898, the move becoming permanent in 1911. There, she lived until her death at "The Beeches" with her stepdaughter, artist Mary Gardener Johnston. The Beeches was built in 1901 by "Mamie" Craig Lawton, widow of Gen. Henry Ware Lawton, who was the only general killed during the Spanish–American War. Members of the Craig family inspired 12 characters in the "Little Colonel" stories.
Annie Fellows Johnston died at her home in Pewee Valley on October 5, 1931.
The Little Colonel series was her 13-book collection beginning with The Little Colonel (1895). It was made into a movie starring Shirley Temple in 1935 featuring Lionel Barrymore and "Bojangles" Robinson.
An assessment of her achievements in connection with her induction into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame says, "Her work is now considered anachronistic, depicting Reconstruction Era South still transitioning from the Civil War, and must be taken in the context of the times..."
Books by Annie Fellows Johnston
A continuation of the adventures of Mary Ware, the chum of the Little Colonel and the heroine of the tenth volume in the "Little Colonel" series. Mary Ware goes to Texas where during a winter with her mother and Jack in San Antonio and the hill count...
In this latest and most delightful book Mary's desire to visit "The Locusts," the old home of the "Little Colonel," is gratified, and the environment of green fields and spreading trees and all the charm and freshness of the beautiful Kentucky countr...
In the charming Southern town of Fairmount, where magnolia trees bloom and dreams come true, the Little Colonel, Lloyd Sherman, is coming of age. But who will be her knight in shining armor? Lloyd Sherman, the spirited and beloved Little Colonel, ha...