Harold Keith

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Harold Verne Keith (April 8, 1903 – February 24, 1998) was a Newbery Medal-winning American author. Keith was born and raised in Oklahoma, where he also lived and died.[1] The state was his abiding passion and he used Oklahoma as the setting for most of his books.


Harold Keith was born on April 8, 1903 in Lambert, Oklahoma Territory to Malcom A. and Arlyn Kee Keith.[1] He attended Northwestern State Teachers College (later renamed as Northwestern Oklahoma State University) and the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a master's degree in history, and was also sports editor for the student newspaper. During the work for his master's thesis he interviewed 22 veterans of the Civil War who lived in the area. From 1922 to 1923, he was a teacher in the Aorita Consolidated School System.[citation needed] Keith served as the University of Oklahoma first sports publicist from 1930 to 1969.[2] During his tenure at the University of Oklahoma, Keith collected a variety of sports information honors.[2] In 1987 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.[3] A champion long distance runner for Sooner coach John Jacobs in 1928, he had a continuing interest in running which continued long into retirement.[2] He died in Norman, Oklahoma of congestive heart failure on the 24 February 1998.[citation needed]


Keith was awarded the 1958 Newbery Medal for his historical novel Rifles for Watie, which is based on the interviews he did for his Master's thesis. Rifles for Watie also won the 1964 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.[4]

On May 3, 2015 Norman (Oklahoma) Public Library was added to the United For Libraries Literary Landmarks Register for displaying Keith's 1958 Newbery Award medal in their children's section of the library since 1993.[1][5]


Published works[edit]

Cassette recordings[edit]

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  1. ^ a b c "Norman Library literary landmark ceremony honors Harold Keith". The Norman Transcript. May 1, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Hall of Fame Members-Harlold Keith". Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on July 31, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015. 
  3. ^ "3 Oklahomans To Be Inducted Into Sports Hall". NewsOK.com. October 14, 1987. 
  4. ^ "Book awards: Lewis Carroll Shelf Award". Library Thing. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2015. 
  5. ^ Cannon, Jane (May 14, 2015). "Norman notes for May 14". Retrieved July 31, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Baptism of Fire". Sooner Magazine. University of Oklahoma. 27 (4): 25–27. Summer 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-14.