Burdette, Robert Jones
Robert Jones Burdette (July 30, 1844 – November 19, 1914) was an American humorist and clergyman who became noted through his paragraphs in the Burlington (Iowa) Hawkeye. Autograph Letter Signed, ca. 1865 ater the American Civil War, 4 1/4 x 6 3/4 written in black ink regarding General Gordon's health concerns. A two-fold letter, retro on ivory tone stationery overall, very fine condition.
He was born in Greensboro, Pennsylvania, and received a secondary education in Peoria, Illinois.
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 newspapers.
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 encouragement of his first wife, the former Caroline S. Garret of Peoria, he began speaking in public. Consequently, he made a number of successful lecture tours.
His lecture, "The Rise and Fall of the Mustache," was delivered well over three thousand times during a 30-year period. He also wrote the poem "Orphan Born," as well as "My First Cigar". He was sometimes referred to as the Burlington Hawkeye Man. In 1884, he left the Hawkeye to replace Stanley Huntley as the staff humorist for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
He became a licensed minister of the Baptist church in 1897, and took charge of the Temple Baptist Church at Los Angeles, California, in 1903, and was made its pastor emeritus in 1909. His first wife had died after 16 years of marriage, and he was married in 1899 to Clara (Bradley) Baker (1855-1955), a Pasadena widow active in the Temple Baptist Church and various civic organizations. She was a founder of Alpha Phi Fraternity, author of several books, and a philanthropist.
During his final years, the couple lived in Pasadena, in a home on Orange Grove Boulevard, where he died in 1914. A collection of his writings, edited by Clara, was published in 1922 under the title Robert J. Burdette: His Message.