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. 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 Lee Keith. 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. Keith served as the University of Oklahoma first sports publicist from 1930 to 1969. During his tenure at the University of Oklahoma, Keith collected a variety of sports information honors. In 1987 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
A champion long distance runner for Sooner coach John Jacobs in 1928, Keith had a continuing interest in running which continued long into retirement. He died in Norman, Oklahoma of congestive heart failure on February 24, 1998.
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.
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.
- 1937: Will Rogers, a Boy’s Life, Pub by Thomas Y. Crowell
- 1941: Sports and Games, Pub by Thomas Y. Crowell
- 1951: A Pair of Captains, Pub by Thomas Y. Crowell
- 1957: Rifles for Watie, Pub by Thomas Y. Crowell (1958 Newbery Award)
- 1964: Komantcia, Jacket by Thomas Y. Crowell (ISBN B002WWDP10)
- 1964: Baptism of Fire, Pub by Science Research Associate
- 1971: Brief Garland, Pub by Thomas Y. Crowell (ISBN 0-690-159692)
- 1971: The Runt of Rogers School, Pub by Lippincott (ISBN 0-397-31366-7)
- 1972: Go, Red, go!, Pub by (ISBN 0-8407-6217-8)
- 1976: Sports and Games, Pub by HarperCollins Children’s Books; Sixth/Rev edition (ISBN 0-06-192471-7)
- 1976: Susy’s Scoundrel, Pub by New American Library (1974 Spur Award)
- 1977: The Obstinate Land: Cherokee Strip Run of 1893, Pub by Thomas Y. Crowell (ISBN 0-690-01319-1)
- 1978: Oklahoma Kickoff: An Informal History of the First 25 Years of Football at the University of Oklahoma, and of the Amusing Hardships That Attended It, Pub by Univ of Oklahoma Pr (ISBN 0-8061-1485-1)
- 1984: Forty-Seven Straight: The Wilkinson Era at Oklahoma, Pub by Univ of Oklahoma Pr (ISBN 0-8061-1898-9)
- 1992: The Sound of Strings: Sequel to Komantcia, Pub by (ISBN 0-927562-10-3)
- 1998: Chico and Dan, Pub by (ISBN 1-57168-216-3)
- 1999: Rifles for Watie, narrator: Tom Stechschulte, Pub by Recorded Books LLC (ISBN 0-7887-3732-5)
- 1999: Rifles for Watie unabridged, narrator: Tom Stechschulte, Pub by Recorded Books LLC (ISBN 0-7887-3209-9)
- “Norman Library literary landmark ceremony honors Harold Keith”. The Norman Transcript. May 1, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- “Hall of Fame Members-Harlold Keith”. Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on July 31, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- “3 Oklahomans To Be Inducted Into Sports Hall”. NewsOK.com. October 14, 1987.
- “Book awards: Lewis Carroll Shelf Award”. Library Thing. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
- Cannon, Jane (May 14, 2015). “Norman notes for May 14”. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- “Baptism of Fire”. Sooner Magazine. University of Oklahoma. 27 (4): 25–27. Summer 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- Harold Keith 1987 inductee Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame official website