George Francis Atkinson (1854-1918) was an American author and professor. He studied at Olivet College and graduated a Bachelor of Philosophy from Cornell University in 1885. After graduation, he was appointed an Assistant Professor of Entomology and General Zoology in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was also a contributor of newspaper articles for the intelligent farmer and layman and an active member of the Elisha Mitchell Society. In 1888 he became a Professor of Botany and Zoology and Botanist to the Experiment Station in the University of South Carolina at Columbia, and in 1889 Professor of Biology in the Alabama Polytechnic Institute and Biologist to the Experiment Station there. He returned to Cornell in 1892, where he was Assistant Professor of Cryptogamic Botany, later Professor of Botany and then Head of Department in 1896. He wrote several popular articles and surveys, and one book, Studies of American Fungi - Mushrooms: Edible, Poisonous, etc. (1900). He later travelled around Europe, and in 1907 he became First President of the Botanical Society of America.