Keith Robertson (writer)

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Keith Robertson
Born(1914-05-09)May 9, 1914[1]
Dows, Iowa[2]
DiedSeptember 23, 1991(1991-09-23) (aged 77)[3]
Hopewell, New Jersey
Pen nameCarlton Keith
CitizenshipUnited States
Notable worksHenry Reed
Notable awardsWilliam Allen White Children's Book Award
SpouseElizabeth Woodburn Robertson[3]

Keith Carlton Robertson (1914–1991) was an American writer of children's books and murder mysteries. He was a former captain in the United States Navy.


Keith Robertson was born on May 9, 1914 in Dows, Iowa. He joined the Navy in 1931, and served as a radioman on a destroyer.[1] Later, he attended the United States Naval Academy, graduating with a B.S. degree. He attributed his initial decision to study at the Academy to a "fanatical aversion to washing dishes." He said, "When I discovered that midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy did not wash dishes but were gentlemen by act of Congress, I promptly applied for entrance." [4] Robertson served in World War II as captain of a destroyer.[5] He was awarded five battle stars. He retired from the service as a captain in the United States Naval Reserve.

Robertson published his first book, Ticktock and Jim, in 1948.[2] His writing career spanned 40 years. As a member of the Rutgers University Council on Children's Literature, he was active in encouraging aspiring authors.[6]

He was married to Elizabeth Woodburn Robertson, a rare-book dealer, and had four children. He died of cancer at his home in Hopewell, New Jersey on September 23, 1991, aged 77.[7][8]

Writing career[edit]

Keith Robertson is best known for the five books of the Henry Reed series, beginning in 1958 with Henry Reed, Inc., which won the William Allen White Children's Book Award in 1961.[9] Another Henry Reed book, Henry Reed's Baby-Sitting Service, also won this award,[9] along with the Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Readers' Choice Award, in 1969.[10] The Henry Reed series was illustrated by Robert McCloskey.[11]

Keith Robertson used the pseudonym Carlton Keith for his six murder mysteries.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Ticktock and Jim (1948)
  • Ticktock and Jim, Deputy Sheriffs (1949)
  • The Dog Next Door (1950)
  • The Year of the Jeep (1968)
  • In Search of a Sandhill Crane (1972)
  • Tales of Myrtle (1974)

The Neil and Swede books AKA the Carson Street Detective Agency series

  • The Mystery of Burnt Hill (1952)
  • Three Stuffed Owls (1954)
  • The Crow and the Castle (1957)
  • The Money Machine (1969)

The Henry Reed books

  • Henry Reed, Inc. (1958)
  • Henry Reed's Journey (1963)
  • Henry Reed's Baby-Sitting Service (1966)
  • Henry Reed's Big Show (1970)
  • Henry Reed's Think Tank (1986)
  • The Adventures of Henry Reed omnibus (1982)

Carlton Keith books

  • The Diamond-Studded Typewriter aka A Gem of a Murder (1958)
  • Missing, Presumed Dead aka The Missing Book-keeper (1961)
  • Rich Uncle (1963)
  • The Hiding Place (1965)
  • The Crayfish Dinner aka The Elusive Epicure (1966)
  • A Taste of Sangria (1968)


  1. ^ a b Henry Reed, Inc. Study Guide
  2. ^ a b Papers of Keith Robertson
  3. ^ a b Keith Robertson, 77; Wrote 5-Book Series For Schoolchildren
  4. ^ Keith Robertson, Henry Reed's Baby-Sitting Service, Puffin Books, 1989, End matter.
  5. ^ "Children's Literature Network". Archived from the original on 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  6. ^ Rutgers University Council on Children's Literature Archived 2010-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Keith Carlton Robertson's obituary, from the September 30, 1991 New York Times
  8. ^ via Associated Press. "Keith Robertson, author", Bangor Daily News, October 1, 1991. Accessed February 15, 2011. "Keith Carlton Robertson, who wrote the Henry Reed series of children's books, has died of cancer. He was 77. He died Sept. 23 at his home in Hopewell."
  9. ^ a b William Allen White Children's Book award, Past Winners 1960-1969 Archived 2010-05-28 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "YRCA Past Winners". Archived from the original on 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
  11. ^ The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature by Bernice E. Cullinan, Diane Goetz Person. Continuum International Publishing Group 2003, page 531

External links[edit]