Kenneth Dodson papers, 1948-1966

Overview of the Collection

Dodson, Kenneth, 1907-1999
Kenneth Dodson papers
1948-1966 (inclusive)
approximately 11.5 cubic feet
Collection Number
Literary manuscripts, correspondence and writings of Anacortes, Washington author and naval officer
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Consult the restrictions governing access for each of the accessions listed below.

Records stored offsite; advance notice required for use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Born in Angola to missionary parents, Dodson grew up in Southern California and worked for the U.S. Merchant Marine, mainly the American Mail Line, from 1925 to 1942. From November 1942 he served in the U.S. Navy, chiefly on the attack transport USS Pierce, in invasions in the Central and South Pacific. Wounded in these battles, he retired from the active Navy in 1947. From 1948 to 1952 he studied creative writing under George Savage at the University of Washington. He wrote a thinly disguised novel of his wartime naval experiences and received editing suggestions from Carl Sandburg, who had used some of Dodson's combat letters in his 1947 novel. Dodson's Away All Boats finally was published by Little Brown in 1954, quickly made the best seller lists, was published in foreign editions, and sold well for at least ten years. His next novel, Stranger to the Shore, set in a small Chilean port, was published in 1956 but proved less successful. In 1956 he also wrote a story, Hector the Stowaway Dog, for Reader's Digest and subsequently expanded it to a full length children's book, published in 1958. In 1960 Little Brown published his novel, China Pirates. Some of his shorter pieces were published in anthologies and magazines. A movie of Away All Boats was made by Universal-International with cooperation of the U.S. Navy. Walt Disney also made a children's movie of Hector the Stowaway Dog.

Dodson and his family lived north of Seattle near Anacortes but spent a year in Hawaii in 1955. There Dodson worked on a nonfiction account of the life of a pure blooded Hawaiian mother. Titled Hawaii's Wreath of Love, it was not published. In the early 1970s Dodson assisted his minister friend Bill Roberts with an autobiography, From Make-Believe to Reality, published in 1973 with Dodson as author.

Dodson maintained a long correspondence with his parents, William and Catherine Dodson, with his wife Oletha while he was at sea, and with many family members and friends. He died in 1999.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Consult the scope and content information for each of the accessions listed below.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Consult the restrictions governing reproduction and use for each of the accessions listed below.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Organized into 2 accessions.

  • Accession No. 0713-001, Kenneth Dodson papers, 1948-1966
  • Accession No. 0713-002, Kenneth Dodson papers, 1915-1986

Related Materials

Susan Stone essay on Kenneth Dodson (Mss Coll 6303)

Preservation Note

Records stored offsite; advance notice required for use.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Accession No. 0713-001: Kenneth Dodson papers, 1948-1966Return to Top

2.73 cubic feet (7 boxes)

Scope and Content: Literary manuscripts, correspondence, 1948-1966.

Concerns Dodson's novels and short stories, together with material relating to Harcourt, Brace, and Company and Little, Brown and Company.

Restrictions on Access: Presume open to all users

Records stored offsite; advance notice required for use.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Kenneth Dodson, 1st installment, 1967-05-11

Kenneth Dodson papers

Accession No. 0713-002: Kenneth Dodson papers, 1915-1986Return to Top

5.42 cu. ft. (6 boxes)

Scope and Content: Family and professional correspondence; writings, including typescripts of novels and stories, reviews, notes; clippings and other publicity materials, ca 1915-ca 1986

Restrictions on Access: Presume open to all users

Records stored offsite; advanced notice required for use.

Restrictions on Use: Dodson's rights retained until 2052, when they transfer to the Libraries. Contact repository for details.

Acquisition Info: Arnt Koser, 2001-11-01

Kenneth Dodson papers

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • American fiction--20th century
  • Authors and publishers--United States
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)
  • Publishers and publishing--United States
  • Short stories, American

Personal Names

  • Dodson, Kenneth, 1907-1999--Archives
  • Savage, George, 1904-1977

Corporate Names

  • Harcourt Brace & Company
  • Little, Brown and Company


  • Authors, American--Washington (State)