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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Keith Robertson Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1941-1991
Creator: Robertson, Keith (1914-1991)
Extent: 4.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0684
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Subject files documenting Robertson's literary career, including typescript drafts of Henry Reed's Big Show (1958) and The Crow and the Castle (1967). There are also folders of correspondence, research, royalty statements, etc., all relating to the writing and publishing of his children's books and short stories. Iowa Author Mss.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Box 2

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: The Keith Robertson collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by his children after his death in 1991.

Preferred Citation: Keith Robertson Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Keith Carlton Robertson was born in Dows, Iowa, in 1914. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1937 and served in World War II in both Atlantic and Pacific theatres as the captain of a destroyer. He stayed in the Naval Reserve until his retirement at age 62.

He married Elizabeth Woodburn, a rare books dealer, and they had one son and three daughters. His first published book Ticktock and Jim appeared in 1948 but his most recognized book, Henry Reed Inc., was published in 1958. Keith Robertson was primarily a children's book author but he also wrote a number of adult mystery novels under the name Carlton Keith. In 1961 Keith Robertson won the William Allen White Award for Henry Reed Inc. and again in 1969 for Henry Reed's Babysitting Service. His literary agent was Curtis Brown, Ltd. He died in 1991.

The collection consists of four boxes of material including correspondence from 1941-1991, and a number of typescript drafts of his books and stories (1952-1975) including some unpublished material.
Mr. Robertson donated most of his early materials which were edited by May Massee to the May Massee collection at Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia, Kansas.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • The Battle of Monmouth
  • Biographical Material
  • Books, Readers and Individuals by Marjorie Sullivan
    Photocopy of article
  • Contracts - 1951-1985
    Including amendments
  • Correspondence - 1941-1967
  • Correspondence - 1968-1973
  • Correspondence - 1974-1991
  • Correspondence from children, including pictures
  • Conyngham, Gustavus. Notes for a book.
  • The Crow and the Castle
  • Foundation Ceremony
    Incomplete Typescript
  • Henry Reed material
  • Henry Reed's Great Rodeo
    Incomplete early draft of Henry Reed's Big Show
  • Box 2:
  • I Build Ships
    Typescript with corrections
  • Ice to India
    Incomplete typescript
  • In Search of a Sandhill Crane
    Photocopy of excerpt with corrections
  • Mascot of Melroy
    Incomplete typescript
  • The Mystery of Burnt Hill
    Typescript with corrections
  • Naval Passbook - 1933
  • New Jersey
    Book jacket and notes
  • Newspaper Clippings - 1954-1986
  • The Phantom Rider
    Typescript with corrections
  • Photographs
    Including presentation of William Allen White Award
  • Box 3:
  • The Pinto Deer
    Typescript with corrections
  • Publicity and public appearance material - 1954-1987
  • Royalty statements - 1954-1970
  • Royalty statements - 1971-1986
  • Speeches
    Including William Allen White Award acceptance speeches
  • Three Stuffed Owls
    Typescript with corrections
  • The Wilddogs of Sourland (published as The Outlaws of Sourland)
    Typescript carbon
  • Windmills
    Typescript of unpublished book with corrections and notes
  • The Wreck of the Saginaw
  • Box 4:
  • Art and illustrations. Including pictures from In Search of a Sandhill Crane and Myrtle the Turtle.
  • New Jersey Arts Council Award.
  • Publicity Poster. Dow Corn Days.
  • Thank You Scroll. Made and signed by children.