Author Information At the Circulating Library

Author: Anna Atkins (1799–1871)

Alternate Name(s): Children (maiden name)

Biography: Anna Atkins was born in 1799 in Tonbridge, Kent, the daughter of scientist John George Children, F.S.A. (1777–1852) who made contributions to the study of mineralogy, electricity, zoology, and entomology. He later worked at the British Museum and headed the Royal Society. Her mother died in 1800 of lingering complications from giving birth; subsequently, Atkins had a close relationship with her father, sharing his interest in the sciences. In particular, Atkins pioneered scientific photography by taking photos of British algae which she collected and published between 1843 and 1853. In 1825 she married John Pelly Atkins, a county sheriff, railroad promoter, and Jamaican plantation owner. In addition to her scientific pursuits, Atkins wrote four novels: The Perils of Fashion (1852), The Colonel: A Story of Fashionable Life (1853), Murder Will Out: A Story of Real Life (1859), and A Page from the Peerage (1863). She died in 1871 in London.

References: DNB (Anna Atkins, John George Children)


  1. The Perils of Fashion: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: Henry Colburn, 1852.
  2. The Colonel: A Novel of Fashionable Life.  3 vol.  London: Hurst and Blackett, 1853.
  3. Murder Will Out: A Story of Real Life.  1 vol.  London: Routledge, 1859.
  4. A Page from the Peerage.  2 vol.  London: Longman, 1863.