American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes

BATES, MARTHA E. CRAM (1839-1905). Scant biographical detail exists concerning M.E.C. Bates. She was born in Northville, Michigan, and attended the State Normal School, now Eastern Michigan University. It appears that she taught school for at least two years in the 1860s in Traverse City, Michigan, where she met and married Thomas T. Bates. Upon her husband’s acquiring ownership of the Grand Traverse Herald in 1876, Bates became editor of the Home and Sunshine departments of that paper. She was also instrumental in organizing both the Traverse City Ladies’ Library Association in 1896 and the Michigan Woman’s Press Association in 1890.

A writer of verse, Bates is better known for her book of ten stories, coauthored with Mary Knezik Buck, Along Traverse Shores (1891). The pieces in this collection all use the Grand Traverse Bay area and surrounding waters for evocative, romantic settings. The book evidently was a vehicle to promote the region as a destination for vacationers, as a portion is given over to advertisements for local resorts and emporia in addition to ship and rail timetables. [See also GREAT LAKES LITERATURE]

Robert Beasecker