Roberts, Kenneth: Signed illustrated book plate

Roberts, Kenneth: Signed illustrated book plate
Signed illustrated book plate dated 18 January 1950
Signed illustrated book plate dated 18 January 1950
Roberts, Kenneth: Signed illustrated book plate
Signed illustrated book plate dated 18 January 1950
Signed illustrated book plate dated 18 January 1950

Roberts, Kenneth: Signed illustrated book plate

260.00

Roberts, Kenneth (1885–1957)

Signed illustrated book plate dated 18 January 1950

American author known for his depictions of New England. Postcard Signed. (‘Kenneth Roberts’). 1 page. Postcard (3.5 x 5.5 inches). [Hamilton, 1950]. [To H.S. Tvedt.] A postcard printed with Kenneth Roberts’ bookplate depicting a harbor and sailing ship in the background and in the foreground a globe, books, tennis rackets, pitcher and cups, musket and powder horn, bow and arrows. Underneath the image, Roberts has typed, ‘Many thanks and all good wishes’, underneath which he has signed his name. 

Roberts was a contributor to the popular Saturday Evening Post as well as the author of such works as Why Europe Leaves Home, The Collector’s WhatnotAntiquamaniaThe Shell GameArundelRabble in Arms, and the wildly popular Northwest Passage, later made into a movie starring Spencer Tracy.

However, Roberts is notable for more than just his many historical novels. ‘Roberts first became interested in dowsing – the controversial practice of finding underground water by means of a forked stick – sometime in the late 1930s when he was building his stone house on his Kennebunkport estate. He soon became a passionate advocate of dowsing, and with Henry Gross, a retired Maine game warden and expert dowser, traveled around the world proselytizing for the art of water divining and helping people locate water. By 1950 the two men were besieged with requests for Henry Gross’s dowsing services… Thus, in 1950 they formed “Water Unlimited.” …To ensure that his dowsing experiences were accurately recorded and preserved and “to prove to scientists that [dowsing] IS possible”, Roberts wrote three books: Henry Gross and His Dowsing Rod (1951), The Seventh Sense(1953), and the posthumously published Water Unlimited (1957),’ (“ ‘At the nadir of discouragement’ The Story of Dartmouth’s Kenneth Roberts Collection”, Dartmouth College Library Bulletin, Bales).

Perhaps their biggest dowsing success occurred when Gross, in response to the 1949 drought in Bermuda, used his dowsing rod to locate four sources of water on a map of the island. Potable ground water had not previously been found in Bermuda, leaving residents at the mercy of the rains. In 1950, the year our postcard was written, Gross’ dowsing resulted in the drilling of four productive fresh-water wells. Despite criticism in the press and by the public at large in dowsing as a science, Roberts never lost faith in its potential.

A postal cancellation is partially visible on a portion of the bookplate image. On the verso, the postcard bears a 2-cent Bermuda sailing definitive postage stamp tied by a Hamilton, Bermuda, 18 January 1950 machine slogan cancel and addressed to Claremont, New Hampshire. With edge wear and one creased corner. In very good condition.

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