Roberts, Kenneth Lewis, 1885-1957

Alternative names
Birth 1885-12-08
Death 1957-07-21

Biographical notes:


From the description of Papers of Kenneth Lewis Roberts, 1919-1956. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71063732

American author specializing in the writing of richly detailed historical fiction.

From the description of Papers of Kenneth Roberts, 1911-1947. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 32136005

American novelist, born Kennebunk, Maine, 1887. Staff correspondent for the Saturday evening post, 1919-; author of many historical novels including Arundel (1930), Northwest passage (1937), and Oliver Wiswell (1940); received special Pulitzer Prize for his historical fiction (1957). Died, Kennebunkport, Maine, 1957.

From the description of Papers, 1912-1957. (Dartmouth College Library). WorldCat record id: 238647838

Kenneth Lewis Roberts was born in Kennebunkport, Maine in 1885. In 1908 he earned an A.B. degree at Cornell University where he had been editor-in-chief of the Cornell Widow. The following year he joined the staff of the Boston Post. He served in World War I as a Military Intelligence Officer. Well known as staff correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post and as an author of travel books, Roberts retired in 1928 to write the Chronicles of Arundel, a series of Maine historical novels; the series eventually included Arundel (1930), The Lively Lady (1931), Rabble in Arms (1933), and Captain Caution (1934). His later novels included Northwest Passage (1937), Oliver Wiswell (1940), Lydia Bailey (1946), and Boon Island (1955 : about an actual shipwreck in early Maine history). He died in 1957.

From the description of Papers, 1935-1955. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 55895405

Author; b. Kennebunk, Me.

From the description of Kenneth Lewis Roberts correspondence, 1942-1950. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 227800590

Roberts specialized in the writing of richly detailed historical fiction.

From the description of Papers: 1911-1947. (Waverly Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122493294

Kenneth Lewis Roberts was born on December 8, 1885 in Kennebunk, Maine. He was a reporter, humor columnist, editor, and historical novelist. His major works include Arundel (1930), Northwest Passage (1937), and Oliver Wiswell (1940). Roberts died in Kennebunkport, Maine, on July 21, 1957.

From the description of Kenneth Roberts papers, 1906-1957 (inclusive) 1937-1940 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702131706

Professor of Civil Engineering, Cornell University.

From the description of Kenneth Lewis Roberts Footsteps in the Forest, 1991. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 64041488

American journalist, author, editor.

From the description of Correspondence, 1918-1956. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122640537

Kenneth Roberts was born in Kennebunk, Maine, and educated at Cornell. He worked as a journalist and wrote articles for various periodicals, making his name as a humorist, and served in military intelligence in World War I, while continuing to publish articles under a pseudonym. Booth Tarkington helped him plan his first novel, Arundel, and he became a master of painstakingly researched historical fiction, perhaps most notably Northwest Passage; he was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for historical fiction. Roberts was a talented, diverse writer, writing several popular, criticially-acclaimed novels, and producing non-fiction throughout his life, including works on dowsing, literary criticism, his beloved Maine, and Florida.

From the description of Kenneth Roberts letters to Franklin P. Adams, 1918. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 70901327

Kenneth Lewis Roberts was born in Kennebunk, Maine, on December 8, 1885. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1908, and over the next two decades served as a reporter, special writer, humor columnist, editor, correspondent, and foreign correspondent for various nationally known newspapers and magazines. During the 1920s he wrote several works of non-fiction, and in 1928 left journalism to become a full-time author.

Roberts felt strongly about historical accuracy and conducted extensive research to provide background for his novels. The backdrop for most of his fiction was northeastern America during the periods of the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. His major works include Arundel, The Lively Lady, Rabble in Arms, Northwest Passage, Oliver Wiswell,and Lydia Bailey.Shortly before his death in 1957, Roberts received a special Pulitzer citation for his historical novels.

During World War I he served as a captain in the U.S. Army with the intelligence section of the Siberian Expeditionary Force. He was married to Anna Sieberling Mosser in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 14, 1911. Kenneth Roberts died childless in Kennebunkport, Maine, on July 21, 1957.

For further biographical information, see the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography,Vol. 48, pp. 82-83, as well as folders 87-96 of this collection.

From the guide to the Kenneth Roberts papers, 1906-1957 (inclusive), 1937-1940, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


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Ark ID:


  • Male authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Dowsers
  • Shipwrecks--History--18th century--Fiction
  • World War, 1914-1918 Secret service
  • Furniture repairing
  • Civil engineering--Study and teaching
  • Picture frames and framing
  • Publishers and Publishing
  • Novelists, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Engineering--Study and teaching
  • Canadian Invasion, 1775-1776--Fiction
  • Figureheads of ships
  • Bibliographers, American
  • Authors, American
  • Book collecting
  • Realism in literature
  • dowsing
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1776-1783
  • Literature
  • Editors, American
  • Best sellers
  • Landscape architecture
  • Towne, Langdon (Ficticious character)


  • Novelists
  • Authors


  • Maine (as recorded)
  • Maine (as recorded)
  • Maine--Kennebunkport (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Maine--Boon Island (as recorded)
  • Siberia (Russia) (as recorded)
  • Maine (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New England (as recorded)
  • Maine (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Maine (as recorded)
  • New England (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Maine (as recorded)
  • Kennebunkport (Me.) (as recorded)
  • Boon Island (Me.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)