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Mary Q. Steele
Born May 8, 1922
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Died July 6, 1992
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Other names J. N. Darby, Wilson Gage
Occupation Author
Spouse(s) William O. Steele

Mary Quintard Govan Steele (May 8, 1922 – July 6, 1992) was a noted American author and naturalist. She wrote over twenty books: some adult-style, but mostly children's books. One of her books, Journey Outside, was a Newbery Honor Book. Steele sometimes wrote under the names Wilson Gage and J. N. Darby.


Early life

Mary Quintard Govan Steele was born on May 8, 1922 in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Gilbert and Christine N. Govan. She graduated from the University of Chattanooga.


Her first book, The Secret of the Indian Mound, was published in 1958. In The Living Year, one of her only adult novels, she wrote, "I did not become a writer, but was born one, waking up in the morning to sort the day into scenes and characters and descriptions."

Personal life

She was married to author William O. Steele.


She died on July 6, 1992 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Selected works

  • The Secret of the Indian Mound (1958)
  • The Secret of Crossbone Hill, written as Wilson Gage (1959)
  • Miss Osborne-the-Mop, written as Wilson Gage (1963)
  • Cully Cully and the Bear, written as Wilson Gage, illustrated by James Stevenson (1983)
  • Anna's Summer Songs, poetry illustrated by Lena Anderson (1988)
  • The Living Year
  • Mary Govan Steele dies; noted author, naturalist. The Chattanooga Times, July 6, 1992.


  • Gage Wilson Papers 1976. Collection contains correspondence for Squash Pie. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. 1 folder.
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