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Roberts, Kenneth (1885-1957) author
Pair of Typed Letters Signed July 30, 1934, and December 10, 1937, written on Roberts’s Kennebunk Beach letterhead to a Dr. Pleasants

Two letters, 12mo and octavo, respectively, two pages, some tape residue to edges of each letter, where formerly affixed to an album, else in good, legible condition.

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Roberts thanks Pleasants for the gift of a book, and comments on his travels in England in the 1934 letter. In the 1937 letter he writes Pleasants commenting on points in his finest novel Northwest Passage, published in 1937:


“Dear Dr. Pleasants:

       It was a pleasure to hear from you again, and I greatly appreciate the kind things you say.

       I get your point about Carleton, but he just didn’t fit into my narrative. My story was practically ended as soon as Rogers was disappointed in his attempt to find the Northwest Passage. Everything beyond that was extraneous and had to be told with the greatest possible speed. Thus I found it impossible to use some of the things that I would have liked to use – such as Rogers’ courtmartial, for example.

     It will be a great pleasure to see a copy of your book when it’s published. Have you tried your manuscript with Little Brown? They and Knopf seem to me to be unusually able publishers. The trouble with books in general is that no publisher, as a rule, is able to sell more than two or three thousand copies, and such a sale is dreadfully disappointing to any author … Kenneth Roberts”

Kenneth Lewis Roberts (December 8, 1885 – July 21, 1957) was an American writer of historical novels. He worked first as a journalist, becoming nationally known for his work with the Saturday Evening Post from 1919 to 1928, and then as a popular novelist. Born in Kennebunk, Maine, Roberts specialized in regionalist historical fiction, often writing about his native state and its terrain and also about other upper New England states and scenes. For example, the main characters in Arundel and Rabble in Arms are from Kennebunkport (then called Arundel), the main character in Northwest Passage is from Kittery, Maine and has friends in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the main character in Oliver Wiswell is from Milton, Massachusetts.

American National Biography, vol. 18, pp., 606-607