Maria Louise Kirk, usually credited as M. L. Kirk or Maria L. Kirk, was an American painter and illustrator of more than fifty books, most of them for children.
Her notable work includes illustrations for a US edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1904, for the first edition of The Secret Garden, and for several books by L. M. Montgomery and Johanna Spyri.
Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Kirk studied art in Philadelphia at the School of Design for Women and then at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, She had exhibitions around Pennsylvania and won awards in Philadelphia and Chicago. In the 1890s, she went on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1894 won the Mary Smith Prize of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, for a portrait.
During her career, Kirk illustrated more than fifty books, including an American edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1904. Her style is individual, little influenced by the Jugendstil or Art Deco movements.
Although she was a talented artist, with so much published work, little is known about Kirk's life.
In 2009, the Folio Society of London used Kirk’s illustrations for its new edition of At the Back of the North Wind.