Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Keith, Harold Verne

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Harold Keith
(2012.201.B0324.0296, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).

KEITH, HAROLD VERNE (1903–1998).

Novelist, historian, and sports information director Harold Verne Keith was born in Lambert, Oklahoma Territory, on April 8, 1903, to Malcolm A. and Arlyn Kee Keith. Keith attended schools in Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri and received bachelor's and master's degrees in history from the University of Oklahoma, studying under Walter Campbell. Keith had a lifelong interest in marathon running, winning the Valley Conference Championship, the OK AAU cross-country race, and the Penns Relay steeplechase. Keith married Virginia Livingston in 1931; they had two children.

Keith held the position of sports publicity director at the University of Oklahoma from 1930 to 1969. He founded the College Sports Information Directors organization, receiving its Arch Award in 1961. In 1969 he was inducted into the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame and in 1987 to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. He wrote two books about Sooner football: Oklahoma Kick-Off: An Informal History of the First 25 Years of Football at OU (1949), and Forty-Seven Straight: The Wilkinson Era at Oklahoma (1984).

As an author, Keith wrote many novels that were set in Oklahoma. He won the Newberry Medal and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for Rifles for Watie (1957). The novel Komantcia (1965), won the New York Times Best Book Award in 1965. His Oklahoma-themed books also included Boys' Life of Will Rogers (1937), Susy's Scoundrel (1974), and The Obstinate Land (1977). Other books included The Bluejay Boarders, Brief Garland, The Runt of Rogers School, and Sports and Games. In 1993 he received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. Harold Keith died on February 24, 1998, in Norman, Oklahoma.

Ruby W. Wile


"Harold Keith," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

"Literature," Vertical File, Special Collections, Max Chambers Library, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond.

"OU's Keith Dies at 94—Award-Winning Author Pioneers Sports Publicity Field," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 25 February 1998.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Ruby W. Wile, “Keith, Harold Verne,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=KE003.

Published January 15, 2010

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.