James Maxwell Anderson (15 December 1888 – 28 February 1959) was an American playwright, author, poet, journalist and lyricist.
Anderson was born in Atlantic, Pennsylvania, the second of eight children to William Lincoln "Link" Anderson, a Baptist minister, and Charlotte Perrimela Stephenson, both of Scots and Irish descent. His family initially lived on his maternal grandmother Sheperd's farm in Atlantic, then moved to Andover, Ohio, where his father became a railroad fireman while studying to become a minister. They moved often, to follow their father's ministerial posts, and Maxwell was frequently sick, missing a great deal of school. He used his time sick in bed to read voraciously, and both his parents and Aunt Emma were storytellers, which contributed to Anderson's love of literature.
During a visit to his grandmother's house in Atlantic, at age 11, he met the first love of his life, Hallie Loomis, a slightly older girl from a wealthier family. His autobiographical tale, Morning, Winter and Night told of rape, incest and sadomasochism on the farm. It was published under a pseudonym, John Nairne Michealson, to prevent offending family. The Andersons bounced between Andover, Ohio, Richmond Center, Ohio, Townville, Pa., Edinboro, Pa., McKeesport, Pa., New Brighton, Pa., Harrisburg, Pa., to Jamestown, North Dakota in 1907, where Anderson attended Jamestown High School, graduating in 1908.