Ruark, Robert Chester, 1915-1965

Alternative names
Birth 1915-12-29
Death 1965-07-01

Biographical notes:

Journalist and novelist.

From the description of Papers 1962. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 36437709

Born in Wilmington, N.C.; received his A.B. from the University of North Carolina, 1935, and became a journalist, author, world traveler, sportsman, and syndicated columnist, eventually residing in London, England, and Palamos, Spain.

From the description of Robert Chester Ruark papers, 1942-1965 (bulk 1942-1945). (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 26320033

Robert Chester Ruark, Jr., was born in Wilmington, N.C., on 29 December 1915. He started college at age 15 at the University of North Carolina and was graduated with an A.B. in journalism in June 1935. After graduation, he worked as a cub reporter for the Hamlet News Messenger and later transferred to the Sanford Herald. During the next few years, Ruark worked as an accountant with the Works Progress Administration in Washington, D.C., enlisted as an ordinary seaman, and worked at the Washington Post and the Star before settling down at the Washington Daily News. In 1938, he married Virginia Webb, an interior decorator from Washington, D.C.

During World War II, Ruark joined the Navy as a gunnery officer and later became a press censor the Pacific. He returned to the Washington Daily News in 1945 to become a syndicated columnist. During this time, he began writing. His first novel, Grenadine Etching, was published in 1947. It was followed by I Didn't Know it Was Loaded (1948), One for the Road (1949), and Grenadine's Spawn (1952). Ruark also published articles regularly in the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Pic, Esquire, and Field and Stream.

After 1950, Ruark began spending time in Africa. In 1953, he published Horn of the Hunter, about an African safari, and Something of Value in 1955. Something of Value, based on the Mau Mau uprisings, was a major success. He made over a million dollars on the royalties and the film rights which he sold to Metro Goldwyn Mayer. After visiting North Carolina in 1957, Ruark permanently settled in Spain. He wrote three autobiographical novels, The Old Man and the Boy (1957), Poor No More (1959), and The Old Man's Boy Grows Older (1961). In 1962, he published another work on race relations in Africa, Uhuru and his last book was The Honey Badger published in 1964. Ruark died while receiving medical attention for an attack in June 1965.

From: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Ed. William S. Powell. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

From the guide to the Robert Chester Ruark Papers, 1942-1965, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)


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Ark ID:


  • Journalists--Correspondence
  • Authors--Political and social views
  • Hunting--Fiction
  • Authors and publishers


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  • Kenya (as recorded)
  • Africa (as recorded)
  • Kenya (as recorded)