Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Robert J. Burdette  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Poetry

Born: 1844 in Greensboro, Pennsylvania,


Illinois Connection

Burdette received a secondary education in Peoria. 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.

Biographical and Professional Information

Robert J. Burdette wrote for newspapers 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 until he retired in 1909.

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