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Keith Robertson Papers

Identifier: MsC0684

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Scope and Contents

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correspondence from 1941-1991, and a number of typescript drafts of his books and stories (1952-1975) including some unpublished material.


  • Creation: 1941-1991


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

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.


4.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



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.

Method of Acquisition

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

Related Materials

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. Please refer to External Documents to visit the collection.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)