Cornelia Meigs was born on December 6, 1884, in Rock Island, Illinois. When she was one month old, her family moved to Keokuk, Iowa, where her father was a civil engineer for several projects on the Mississippi River.
She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1907, then returned to Iowa, where she taught at St. Katherine’s School in Davenport until 1913.
Her first book, The Kingdom of the Winding Road, a collection of fairy tales, was published in 1915. She received Newbery Honors for three of her books: Windy Hill (1921), Clearing Weather (1928), and Swift Rivers (1932). In 1934, she received a Newbery Medal for what is her most well-known book, Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women.
Miss Meigs was a professor of English at Bryn Mawr College from 1932 until 1950. In all, she wrote more than two dozen books for children and adults, some of them under the pseudonym Adair Aldon.
In 1953, she was one of the authors and editors of A Critical History of Children’s Literature, which she helped to revise in 1970. Cornelia Meigs died in 1973 in Havre de Grace, Maryland.