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Robert Egerton Swartwout (July 2, 1905 – June 2, 1951) was an American-born author, poet, cartoonist, and coxswain. He was the only son of American architect Egerton Swartwout and British-born Geraldine Davenport Swartwout. He drew from his rowing experience to produce a locked room mystery about The Boat Race and many poems.

Robert Egerton Swartwout
Robert Egerton Swartwout.jpg
BornJuly 2, 1905
New York, NY
DiedJune 2, 1951
Hartismere, Eye, UK



Swartwout rowed and coxed for Middlesex School in Concord, MA, from which he graduated on June 13, 1924.[1] While attending Trinity College at the University of Cambridge he became the first American to cox Cambridge University Boat Club to victory over Oxford in 1930.[2] Swartwout was 5' 6", weighed 105 lb (48 kg), and possessed a powerful bass voice.[3]


At Trinity College he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1928, followed by a master's degree in Literature in 1931; that same year he was president of the Cambridge University Liberal Club. Swartwout was a member and debater with the Cambridge Union Society. Under the pen name R.E. Swartwout he contributed to Granta and Punch, as well as crosswords for The Spectator. He wrote a short Holmesian piece entitled "The Omnibus Murder" and wrote four books:[4]

  • Rhymes of the River and other verses, by R.E. Swartwout, W. Heffer and Sons Limited, Cambridge, 1927
  • The Monastic Craftsman: An Inquiry into the Services of Monks to Art in Britain and in Europe North of the Alps in the Middle Ages, by R.E. Swartwout, M.Litt. of Trinity College, Cambridge, Cambridge, W. Heffer and Sons Ltd, 1932
  • The Boat Race Murder, by R.E. Swartwout, Grayson and Grayson Ltd., Curzon Street, Mayfair, London, 1933. This book from the Cambridge Crime series has been reissued by Ostara Publishing.[5]
  • It Might Have Happened. A sketch of the later career of Rupert Lister Audenard, First Earl of Slype, etc. [A political fantasy based on the imaginary extension of the life of Lord Randolph Churchill], by R. Egerton Swartwout, W. Heffer and Sons Cambridge, 1934

In 1931 Swartwout wrote the introduction to Sir William Schwenck Gilbert A Topsy Turvy Adventure, by Townley Searle, London: Alexander-Ouseley, Ltd., 1931.


Robert Swartwout became a British subject on June 9, 1933.[6]


Swartwout died unmarried in Hartismere Hospital, Eye, Suffolk, England on June 6, 1951, of esophageal cancer complicated by pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 45.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Date: April 12, 1930, Paper: Boston Herald (Boston, MA), Page: 11
  2. ^ Date: Sunday, April 13, 1930, Paper: Evansville Courier and Press (Evansville, IN), Page: 12
  3. ^ Date: April 13, 1930, Paper: Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ), Page: 30
  4. ^
  5. ^ The Boat Race Murder, R.E. Swartwout, Paperback: 160 pages, Publisher: Ostara Publishing (August 16, 2007), ISBN 978-1906288006
  6. ^ Certificate of Naturalization, Home Office No. 655,665, certificate number AZ 2941
  7. ^ Certified copy of entry of death, Hartismere in the county of Suffolk, subdistrict of Eye and Stradbroke, 1951, DYD 205600, application number 3828567-1

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