That interest resulted in Meade's travelogue, I Live in Virginia (1935), published when he was twenty-six, which serves as a guide to the state's medley of landscapes and cultures. In the book's foreword, Meade states his intention to "tell both sides," recording observations of people from many different stations in life. Meade recounts his travels through Virginia, notes various regions' famous attractions, and details the personalities and habits of people who lived in these places. This text is still one of Meade's most famous.
Meade is also known as an author of fiction (his 1938 novel The Back Door detailed the lives of black families in turn-of-the-century Virginia) and children's fiction. In Teeny and the Tall Man (1936), Teeny enjoys playing with Mr. Jones, the tall man of the title, as she can see very far when she sits atop his shoulders. Miss Couch and the Scamps, published in 1938, features African American and interracial children as main characters. One of Meade's last books, Peter by the Sea was published in 1940 with illustrations by Grace Paull.
Meade received a warm critical reception—once favorably compared to the modernist Thomas Wolfe—and kept a busy schedule giving horticultural lectures, writing for national magazines, and corresponding with literary prominent authors such as Wolfe, Sinclair Lewis, Amélie Rives, and H. L. Mencken. These relationships were not always smooth; at least one unhappy episode, in which Meade insulted Richmond novelist Ellen Glasgow with a published comment about her deafness, is recounted in Susan Goodman's biography of Glasgow. Meade died after a brief illness on July 9, 1940.
A number of Meade's unpublished works are held at the University of Virginia. This collection includes such items as an article on Glasgow, letters to Meade from fellow authors, an article on flower legends, and a poem titled "For My Southern Kinsmen."
February 4, 1909 - Julian R. Meade is born in Danville.
1930 - Julian R. Meade covers a textile-mill strike while working as a newspaper writer. This assignment begins his publishing career and awakens an interest in chronicling the lives of his fellow Virginians.
1935 - Julian R. Meade's travelogue, I Live in Virginia, is published.
July 9, 1940 - Julian R. Meade dies.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Smith, J. L. Julian R. Meade (1909–1940). (2014, March 3). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Meade_Julian_R_1909-1940.
- MLA Citation:
Smith, Jennifer Leigh. "Julian R. Meade (1909–1940)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 3 Mar. 2014. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: January 29, 2009 | Last modified: March 3, 2014
Contributed by Jennifer Leigh Smith, a PhD student at Virginia Commonwealth University in the interdisciplinary Media, Art, and Text Program. She received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Virginia in 2005, and her master's degree in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006.