Robert Jones Burdette

Robert Jones Burdette

Robert Jones Burdette (30 July, 1844-19 November, 1914) was an American humorist and clergyman, who became famous through his paragraphs in the "Burlington" (Iowa) "Hawkeye".

Early life

He was born in Greensboro, Pa., and received a secondary education in Peoria, Ill. During the Civil War he served as a private in the 47th Illinois infantry. In 1869 he became night editor of the "Peoria Daily Transcript" and afterward was associated with other papers. He joined the staff of the "Burlington Hawkeye" in 1872, and his humorous paragraphs soon began to be quoted in newspapers throughout the country, with the result that, beginning in 1876, with the encouragement of his wife, the former Carrie Garret of Peoria, he made a number of very successful lecture tours. His lecture, The Rise and Fall of the Mustache, was delivered well over three thousand times during a thirty year period. He also wrote the poem Orphan Born, as well as My First Cigar. He was sometimes referred to as the Hawkeye Man. In 1884, he left the Burlington Hawkeye to replace Stanley Huntley as the staff humorist for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Ministerial career

He became a licensed minister of the Baptist church in 1897, and took charge of the Temple Baptist Church at Los Angeles, Cal., in 1903, and was made its pastor emeritus in 1909. His first wife had died after 16 years of marriage, and he was remarried in 1899, to Clara (Bradley) Baker, a Pasadena widow active in the Temple Baptist Church and various civic organizations. During his final years he lived in Pasadena, where he died in his Orange Grove Boulevard home in 1914. A collection of his writings, edited by Clara, was published in 1922 under the title "Robert J. Burdette: His Message".

Partial list of books

* "The Rise and Fall of the Mustache and other Hawkeyetems" (1877)
* "Hawkeyes" (1880)
* "Life of William Penn" (1882)
* "Innach Gerden and Other Comic Sketches" (1886)
* "Chimes from a Jester's Bells" (1897)
* "Old Time and Young Tom" (1912)


Additional references

* [,457727,457791 Obituary at PA-Roots]
* [ Thumbnail biographies of Robert J. and Clara (Bradley) Burdette]

External links

* [ My First Cigar] – humorous poem by Burdette.
* [ Many Robert J. Burdette stories read in Mister Ron's Basement] Podcast, including the entire ninety-two minute long [ Rise and Fall of the Mustache lecture from 1877]

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