Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951

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American author and humorist Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) was educated as an engineer and worked briefly for a railroad. He taught topographical drawing between 1891 and 1894 at the University of California, Berkeley until he lost his position after deliberately toppling a campus statue he found to be an eyesore. Burgess founded the Lark, a humour magazine based in San Francisco, published from 1895 to 1897. Burgess created nonsense rhymes and cartoons such as "The Purple Cow: Reflections on a Mythic Beast Who's Quite Remarkable, at Least" (1895) and "Goops" books, humorous instructional books featuring misbehaving creatures with poor manners, whose antics were published in book form between 1900 and 1950 and syndicated in cartoon form in 1925.

From the guide to the Gelett Burgess Letter (MS 179), 1943, (University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Special Collections Dept.)

American author and illustrator.

From the description of Gelett Burgess papers, circa 1873-1951. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 26717831

Writer, journalist, illustrator, humorist.

From the description of Gelett Burgess diaries, 1885-1887, 1889, 1891-1895, 1917-1951. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 122593048

Burgess's addressee probably is Benjamin Batchelder Valentine (1843-1926), author and dramatist, and editorial writer and drama critic for the New York Herald (1891-98). The reference to "Miss Jordan" is to Elizabeth Garver Jordan, editor of Harper's Bazaar, 1900-13. Mrs. Lloyd Osbourne appears to be Katherine Osbourne, né Durham, wife of the American author.

From the description of Gelett Burgess letter : TLS : Boston, to Mr. Vallentine, 1900 April 5. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 214949281

Burgess was an American author and editor.

From the description of Letters, 1896-1897. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80764329

American author.

From the description of Gelett Burgess correspondence, 1931-1933. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 122647685

Author.

From the description of Gelett Burgess poems, 1903. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70983736

Biography

Gelett Burgess was born on Jan. 30, 1866, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1887 as a civil engineer. After serving a number of years as a draughtsman on survey work for the Southern Pacific Railway and as an instructor of topographical engineering at the University of California, he turned to writing.

His literary career began in 1894 in San Francisco as associate editor of The Wave. During the period 1895-97 he not only served as editor of The Lark but, with Porter Garnett, published Le Petit Journal des Refusées and Phyllida. All three were radical departures from conventional magazines and The Lark, with its originality and the famous Purple Cow verse which appeared in its first issue, gained him considerable fame.

With the demise of The Lark in 1897, Burgess left California for New York to pursue a literary career. By the time of his death in 1951, he had written some 30 books, illustrating many of them also, and had been a frequent contributor to magazines with his short stories, poems and essays. Despite the variety and quantity of his literary output, his name was generally associated with humorous, satirical writing. Included among his most famous works are the Burgess Nonsense Book (1901), Are You A Bromide? (1907), The Heart Line (1907), the satirical Maxims of Methuselah (1907), and Maxims of Noah (1913), Two O' Clock Courage (1934), and Look Eleven Years Younger (1937). His manuals of manners in rhyme for children, the Goop books, have become nursery classics.

Although Burgess traveled widely and lived in New York, Boston, San Francisco, London and Paris, in the public mind he has been identified with San Francisco. In 1950 he returned to California and settled in Carmel, and it was there he died in 1951.

From the guide to the Gelett Burgess Papers, [ca. 1873-1951], (The Bancroft Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn A. P. Watt & Son, 1883-1917. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Papers of Gelett Burgess [manuscript], 1937-1950. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Johnson, Burges, 1877-1963. Johnson papers, 1894-1948. Amherst College Library
creatorOf Schauffler, Robert Haven, 1879-1964. Correspondence, 1872-1964. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Hart, James D. (James David), 1911-1990. Papers on western authors written for Prof. James D. Hart's seminars, 1957-1963. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. The mind of a movie fan : manuscript, [1919?] / by Gelett Burgess. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Gale, Zona, 1874-1938. Papers of Zona Gale, 1914-1937. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Johnson family. Burges and Constance Johnson family papers, ca. 1895-1963. Amherst College Library
referencedIn A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors A-B). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Rosenstock autograph collection, 1800-1950 L. Tom Perry Special Collections20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Gelett Burgess poems, 1903. Library of Congress
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. "Laughing, must I love thee!" : a romance of San Francisco / by Gelett Burgess. University of San Francisco, Gleeson Library/Charles and Nancy Geschke Learning Resource Center
referencedIn Backus, Joseph M. Joseph M. Backus papers relating to Gelett Burgess, 1953-1982. The California Digital Library
referencedIn James O. Brown Associates. James O. Brown Associates records, 1927-1992. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn James O. Brown Associates Records, 1927-1992. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Shirley, Betsy Beinecke. Betsy Beinecke Shirley collection of American children's literature, 1692-1988. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Gillmore, Inez Haynes, 1873-1970. Papers, 1872-1945 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Gelett Burgess papers, circa 1873-1951. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company contracts, 1831-1979 (inclusive) 1880-1940 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Dannay, Frederic, 1905-1982. Papers, ca.1920-1982. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Wilkinson, Marguerite Ogden Bigelow, 1883-1928. Letter 1917, May 17, New YorkCity [to] Mrs. Edwin Markham, [Staten Island] / Marguerite Ogden Bigelow Wilkinson. Wagner College, Horrmann Library
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Letters to [Henry James] Forman. 1921. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Gelett Burgess diaries, 1885-1887, 1889, 1891-1895, 1917-1951. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Garnett, Porter, 1871-1951. Porter Garnett papers, 1916-1951. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Letter to "Bruce" [manuscript], 1948 September 21. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Witter Bynner papers, 1829-1965. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Papers of Gelett Burgess [manuscript], n.d. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Gelett Burgess letter : TLS : Boston, to Mr. Vallentine, 1900 April 5. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Papers, 1872-1945 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Gelett Burgess correspondence, 1931-1933. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Gale, Zona, 1874-1938. Papers of Zona Gale [manuscript], 1914-1937. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Chase, J. Eastman. J. Eastman Chase papers, 1877-1917. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Butler, Ellis Parker, 1869-1937. Ellis Parker Butler papers, 1897-1937. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. A goop on horseback : drawing, [ca. 1900-1950]. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Bender, Albert M. (Albert Maurice), 1866-1941. Albert M. Bender papers, 1909-1941. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Illustrations from the Gelett Burgess Papers [graphic], ca. 1894-ca. 1920 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Shirley, Betsy Beinecke. Betsy Beinecke Shirley collection of American children's literature, 1692-1988. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Peixotto, Ernest C., 1869-1940. Ernest Peixotto papers, ca.1888-1947. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Typed letter signed Gelett Burgess to: Miss Alexander August 19, 1927. Wellesley College
referencedIn Frederic Dannay Papers, ca.1920-1982. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Betsy Beinecke Shirley collection of American children's literature, 1640-2001 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Correspondence to Franklin Baldwin Wiley, 1905-1910. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Hooven, Edna M. The purple cow : or an unpublished chapter of Alice in Wonderland : typescript, 1900s. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Burgess, Gelett : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Ogden Nash Collection TXRC98-A1., 1882-1969, (bulk 1928-1969) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Power, Tyrone, 1869-1931,. Autograph letter signed from Tyrone Power, Baltimore, to William Jefferson Winter, New Brighton [manuscript], 1910 January 30. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945. Papers of Theodore Dreiser, 1898-1945. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Robert Haven Schauffler Correspondence, TXRC96-A17., 1872-1964 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Keeler, Charles Augustus, 1871-1937. Papers of Charles Augustus Keeler, 1895-1944. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Ohio State University. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Gelett Burgess 1866-1951 biographical file. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Armstrong, Charlotte, 1905-1969. Charlotte Armstrong collection, 1920-1980. Boston University, School of Medical
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett. Hooked by crook [microform] : a vaudeville playlet / by Gelett Burgess. University of Missouri -- Columbia, MU Libraries; University of Missouri; MU; Ellis Library; University of Missouri Columbia
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1907-1923. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence and records, 1832-1944. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Letters, 1896-1897. American Primers
creatorOf Stevenson, Fanny Van de Grift, 1840-1914. Four letters from Fanny Stevenson : to Gelett Burgess : ALS, 1898. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Gelett Burgess letters, 1906-1939 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Gelett Burgess Letter (MS 179), 1943 University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Special Collections Dept.
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Authors clippings : "B" [surname] folder 1942-1991. Monterey Public Library
referencedIn Peixotto, Eustace M. Eustace M. Peixotto letter to James D. Hart : LS, 1958 Jan. 20. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. The cop would rather gang aglee : poem, [ca.1937]. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. The cave man [collection] : a play in four acts / [by Gelett Burgess] University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
referencedIn General Literary Manuscripts collection, 1677-1969. University of Southern California, USC Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Papers of Gelett Burgess, 1897-1915 and n.d. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn American authors collection, 1832-1956. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Lost magic : a sonnet cycle by Gelette Burgess, [1900-1951?]. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Look eleven years younger : typescript, 1937. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Gelett Burgess letter : New York, NY, to Mrs. Davenport, 1898 February 2. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf General Literary Manuscripts collection, 1677-1969 USC Libraries Special Collections
creatorOf Gelett Burgess Papers, [ca. 1873-1951] Bancroft Library
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. The peculiar history of the chewin'-gum man [manuscript], 1895? University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Nash, Ogden, 1902-1971. Ogden Nash Collection, 1882-1969 (bulk 1928-1969). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920. William Dean Howells letters microfilmed from various Bancroft Library collections, 1897-1919 [microform]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Webster, Henry Kitchell, 1875-1932. Henry Kitchell Webster papers, 1880-1932, bulk 1900-1932. Newberry Library
referencedIn Engel, Solton and Julia,. Collection of Literary Letters, Manuscripts and Drawings, 1832-1935. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Porter, Susan. Susan Porter account of mythical "lost continent of Gondolon", 1900s. The California Digital Library
referencedIn Wyneken, Leopold Ernest, 1838-. Chronicles of Manuel Alanus: a true story of San Francisco : n.p. : ms., [undated]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Letters of Gelett Burgess [manuscript], 1897-1901. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Biography clippings : "B" [surname] folder 1881-2008. Monterey Public Library
referencedIn Amy Lowell correspondence, 1883-1927 (inclusive), 1910-1925 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Frank G. Burgess letters to Harriet Hyatt, 1900, undated. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Players (Club). Players Club letters, 1848-1941. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Autograph File, B, ca.1500-1976. Houghton Library.
referencedIn White mss., 1932-1969 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Branch, Anna Hempstead, 1875-1937. Anna Hempstead Branch papers, 1780-1937 (bulk 1890-1937). Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Are you a Bromide or a Sulphite? [graphic] : [with a portrait bearing name Paul Swan] / drawn by Gellett Burgess. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Henry James collection of papers, 1867]-1917, 1882-1917 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Doubleday, Page & Company. Correspondence and publishing agreements with Gertrude Atherton, Mary Austin, Gelett Burgess, Frank Norris and Upton Sinclair, 1898-1940. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt & Son correspondence, 1883-1917. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. [Gelett Burgess riding to fame on a purple cow [graphic] / drawn by Gelett Burgess]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951. Papers of Gelett Burgess [manuscript], 1922-1949, n.d. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Unna, Warren W. Warren W. Unna correspondence relating to his book, the Coppa Murals (S.F. 1952), 1951-1952. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Gillmore, Inez Haynes, 1873-1970. Notes on Gelett Burgess : ms.S. UC Berkeley Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Alexander, Francesca, 1837-1917. person
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correspondedWith Armstrong, Charlotte, 1905-1969. person
associatedWith Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973 person
associatedWith Aylesworth, Barton O. (Barton Orville), 1860-1933 person
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associatedWith Bender, Albert M. (Albert Maurice), 1866-1941. person
associatedWith Boucher, Anthony, 1911-1968 person
associatedWith Branch, Anna Hempstead, 1875-1937. person
associatedWith Brown, Abbie Farwell, d. 1927, person
associatedWith Burgess, Clinton Brooks person
associatedWith Burgess, Estelle Loomis. person
associatedWith Butler, Ellis Parker, 1869-1937. person
correspondedWith Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968 person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
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correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
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associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
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correspondedWith White, Pearl, 1889-1938 person
associatedWith Wilkinson, Marguerite Ogden Bigelow, 1883-1928. person
associatedWith Wyneken, Leopold Ernest, 1838- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
San Francisco (Calif.)
Boston (Mass.)
Paris (France)
Subject
Authors, American--19th century--Archival resources
Authors, American--19th century
Editors--Correspondence
Prompt-book
Suicide in literature
Drama--Collections
Authors, American
Autographs--Collectors and collecting
Authors, American--20th century--Archival resources
Actresses--20th century--Correspondence
Humorous poetry, American
Authors, American--Correspondence
Occupation
Authors
Function

Person

Birth 1866-01-30

Death 1951-09-18

Americans

English

Information

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